It wasn't pretty but a win is a win. The Dodge City High School Red Demons took a narrow victory over the Cimarron Bluejays 55-51 Friday night.
The Demons were doing a lot of shooting but not a lot was going in. As a team, they shot 19 of 75 for field goals and hit just 5 of 40 shots from beyond the 3-point line. They were 48% from the free throw line.
"I don't know that there's a team that shoots more than us," said Coach Tony Starnes.
It was a struggle all night for the team with Cimarron leading the majority of the game. The Demons were down at the half 32-27. There were no big leads in the game and neither team had any big runs.
But the Demons hung in and outscored the Bluejays 11-8 in the third quarter and 17-11 in the fourth quarter to get the four point win. The Demons out rebounded Cimarron 59 to 50.
John Johnson had 20 points and 13 rebounds and most of that was in the fourth quarter. Starnes said as a senior, Johnson is a leader and he needs him to be that leader the whole game.
As a whole, the team is not as mature as Starnes wants them to be. They did have good practices the last couple of days but more needs to be done.
The games against Ulysses and Liberal are important games for the team. The team has the opportunity to win even though they have no easy games for the rest of the season, Starnes said.
If they are to have a chance this Friday against Liberal, they will have to play twice as hard as they did against Cimarron.
The team needs to have confidence and play with a bit of swagger.
During next weeks practices, they are going to watch the Liberal game closely.
One thing is certain, the Demons need to break the Liberal half court transition and they need to finish better at the basket.
Against Cimarron, the Demons were not ready to play. They didn't finish plays and shooting is a preparation thing. The team has to ask itself, are they ready to shoot and why isn't the team surprised when the ball doesn't go in. If the team is not in sync, they won't finish plays.
"We've got to be ready to shoot it," Starnes said.
The coaches are trying to get the players to develop a swagger and keep the pressure. The team pretty much has a green light to shoot the ball.
In an earlier game, the junior varsity played very hard and hit 19 three pointers.
With many of the JV, playing varsity, it seemed like the shooting should carry over but it didn't, Starnes said.
One element missing from the team is Cooper Scheck who is injured and is still two to three weeks away from coming back. He is an extremely good shooter and he always plays with confidence.
While these kids are young and started the season inexperienced, only one player had any varsity experience at the start of the season, Starnes said.
The team has the capabilities to improve. They went to camps in Dallas, Oklahoma and Colorado. The competed and won a lot of games. But its just not transferring so far.
"That's frustrating. I envision us as young and cocky and playing with swagger," Starnes said. "I've seen it individually from the kids, I've seen it from each one. It frustrates me when I see so much potential.
"If we want to be good, we have to do what good players do and what good teams do."
Still, a win is a win and one of the team goals for the season is simple, get a win, Starnes said.
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