Beavers find offensive balance; complete SW Classic sweep
SCHS senior Sloan Baker goes up for a shot during Saturday’s action against Pueblo East in the Southwest Classic.
By Rod Haxton, editor
Most players would feel they had a bad night on the court if they were held 11 points below their scoring average.
Not Scott Community High School senior Trey O’Neil.
“I told myself (Saturday) morning that I wanted to get more guys involved in the offense so we can have more fun out there,” said O’Neil, who finished with a game high 18 points. “If we’re all having fun then we’re going to be successful.”
The Beavers (3-0) had fun against Pueblo East in the finale of the Southwest Classic, defeating the defending Class 4A Colorado champions, 59-33, on Saturday afternoon.
After scoring 58 points in the two previous tournament games, O’Neil jump-started the Beavers with the opening basket and a three-pointer that was part of a 7-0 scoring run and SCHS never led by less than four points the rest of the night.
Senior guard Chantz Yager hit back-to-back treys just 35 seconds apart that opened up a 24-12 lead late in the first half. He finished with a season high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. In addition, senior center Sloan Baker was 7-of-12 at the line and finished with a season high 13 points.
“It was good to see the other guys knocking down some shots,” says head coach Glenn O’Neil. “It takes the pressure off and it makes everyone harder to guard when others are scoring. Dylan had the big first game, Chantz hit some shots tonight and Sloan got to the free throw line a lot more. And Trey was pretty steady in all three games.
“It’s going to take that kind of balance for us to be good instead of one or two guys doing most of the scoring,” added Coach O’Neil.
Five different players contributed to Scott City’s 15 point second quarter. Six players scored in the fourth quarter when they added another 17 points.
Baker More Aggressive
Scott City had a late 8-3 scoring burst to close out the first half for a 26-15 lead. Baker opened the third period with a three-point play and never led by less than 12 points the remainder of the game. He scored nine of his 13 points in the second half and finished with a game high 12 rebounds.
“Coach told me to get more aggressive and to post up more. As the season goes along I’ll get a lot better at that,” said the 6-foot-2 senior. “And I need to do a better job of hitting my free throws.”
“We told Sloan that in the first two games he hadn’t done enough to demand the ball. If he demands the ball he’ll get to the free throw line,” noted Coach O’Neil. “Four free throws isn’t enough for a post guy. He needs to be shooting six, eight, 10 free throws a game in the low post.”
Better Defensive Game
The Beavers were also focusing on their defense after giving up 62 points and seven treys in the tournament opener.
“We really focused on defense during our run-through this morning. Our point of emphasis was to get better on defense and I felt we did that,” says T. O’Neil.
“We did a better job of communicating so that we knew who had who on defense,” adds Baker. “I think we saw some things start coming together tonight.”
While he was in agreement this was his team’s best defensive game of the tournament, O’Neil says Pueblo East’s lack of a player capable of posting up in the paint contributed to that success.
“Defensively, we kept the ball in front of us really well. The guards played better and we were rebounding better,” Coach O’Neil says.
With the absence of senior guard Brett Meyer until after Christmas due to a turf toe injury, the Beavers saw the tournament as an opportunity to make progress in developing their depth.
“We made good progress in all three games,” says T. O’Neil. “We weren’t sure what to expect from the rookies like Bo (Hess), Drake (McRae) and Justin (Faurot). They all played hard and they got the job done.”
Hess, a sophomore, finished with five points and four rebounds while Faurot, a sophomore, added five points and three steals.
“This was a good opportunity for some guys to get their feet wet and start to gain some confidence,” the senior added. “When we get Brett back after Christmas then we’ll be back to full strength.”
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