Before his team’s game against the Freedom Irish in the Sun Drop Classic basketball tournament, Wrightstown High School head Coach Cory Haese was ask a question:
Will Freedom give you trouble?
“They are a bunch of athletes,” he said before the game. “They have several players that can put the ball on the deck and drive to the basket. We are going to have to really be aggressive and quick on defense.”
The Tigers were simply out-quicked by the Irish, dropping a 57-41 decision in their second game of the Sun Drop Classic.
“They are not long or big, but they are strong. They threw us around a lot out there,” Haese said “They had a lot more energy; they flew up and down the court. We would score, and they would get a breakaway and score on the other end.”
Wrightstown (6-4 overall) struggled with the quickness of the Irish from the outset, getting beat to loose balls and unable to get clean looks at the basket on most possessions. The size difference for the Tigers was evident when they DID get their passes inside, as the length of Doug Fabry (6’6) and Nathan Larson (6’7) proved tough for the shorter Irish to stop.
“A problem for us is consistency. From game to game, we are not consistent from half to half, quarter to quarter, even possession to possession,” Haese said. “Our focus level and our consistency on both ends of the court with our energy and our effort and even our basketball instincts is an issue right now.”
The Tigers made runs in spurts, but they simply could not get over the hump against the Irish. And the consistency bug bit Wrightstown especially on the defensive end.
“We only gave up 17 points in the first half, so I was pretty happy with that, and a few of their buckets came on some real mental lapses on our end as far as blocking out and recovering,” Haese said with a sigh. “We had a great first half defensively. In the second half, they started to shoot really well and we didn’t defend very well.”
Fabry led the Tigers in scoring with 10 points, and was the only Wrightstown scorer in double figures. Zac Haese added nine points (all on three pointers) and Larson chipped in seven. Sophomore Stephen De Cramer had six points of the bench.
“They had a nice shooting percentage, but a lot of that was our lack of intensity on the defensive end,” Haese said. “Our ball pressure wasn’t very good, our closeouts were weak. Our energy level was low and that is something we have to find. It was pretty high last night (A 45-38 victory over Shawano), so it is a consistency thing.”
The Tigers return to Olympian Conference action against St. Mary Central on January 3rd. Game time is 7:15 at Wrightstown High School.