The team that controls the backboard controls the game. Dodge City High School boys basketball coach Tony Starnes preaches that to his young team and Tuesday night against Ulysses, they did just that and came away with a 70-46 victory over the Tigers for their first win of the season.
"We were a lot more aggressive tonight. We've been working on that," Starnes said.
That aggression was also shown at the 3-point line with 10 of 32. It's been a while since the team had taken that many shots from three point land, Starnes said.
But the team was aggressive in other areas as well.
As a team, they had 20 more rebounds than the Tigers. They also had balanced production from the team.
Dylan Smith had 13 points and 7 rebounds, Aiden Sowers had 14 points and 5 rebounds, Cooper Lowell contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds while John Johnson had 6 points and 12 rebounds with Josh Harshberger adding 6 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a pretty balanced team effort. Cooper Scheck is injured now and its day by day whether he will play or not. This has created a hole that needs to be filled and the team has responded.
Dawson Taylor had 6 points and a couple of rebounds and did a great job defensively.
Enrique Chavez hit a 3-pointer late in the game to stop a Tiger run. Daniel Sanchez does a lot of things and fills up the stat sheet. Shannen Barajas was strong at the free throw line, hitting 5-6.
The bench was really strong producing 22 points and dominated the Tiger defense.
"Everyone on the team did a good job," Starnes said. "We are a pace team and we controlled the pace."
When a team controls the pace, they get better looks at the basket and 3-point shots. The Demons were better on defense and controlled the backboards.
"We controlled the backboards and we controlled the game," Starnes said. "We're extremely proud of their effort tonight. Our kids played hard."
While the team showed improvement, there is still much to do. The team was 20 of 34 from the free throw line and while there is no question that is better than past games, Starnes said they should have had 25 or 28 of those free points.
"We haven't shot free throws well at all this year," Starnes said.
The team has had trouble coming out flat at halftime. They would let the other team take control and that was a concern Tuesday night. They had a tendency to come out and playing not to lose rather than opening up the faucet and let it go.
This game, they came out of the locker with their stance mentally and physically locked in.
The Tigers did have a run late in the third quarter but the Demons held strong and built the lead up again.
The Demons are a young team with only one player that has any varsity experience before this season.
Starnes said they try not to fall back on how young they are but it is a factor.
The team has to go back to work immediately as they face Cimarron on Friday. Starnes said they have to keep up the defensive pressure on the ball handler, they have to out rebound the Bluejays and keep the tempo high.
"We have to be locked in and focused Friday night," Starnes said. "They have to be in their stance mentally and physically."
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