Tough stretch: North basketball loses to West Mesquite at home
There is no rest for the weary.
In their fifth game in six days, the McKinney North basketball team saw a halftime lead slip away in their 77-65 loss to West Mesquite at home Tuesday night.
"We got off to a good start and I loved our effort," said Darryll Craft, North head coach. "But there were some things we needed to do at the end of the game there in the fourth quarter which we didn't do and that cost us."
The Bulldogs (6-4) began the season winning five of their first six games before dropping three of their last four.
Junior guard Jola Otubu led North with 18 points, while teammate Julion Pearre had 13.
"Jola shot the ball real well tonight," Craft said. "He had four threes in just the first half."
The Bulldogs were leading 22-15 after the first quarter, but saw their lead shrink to 40-38 at the half. Craft said a lack of defensive execution hurt his team the most, particularly in the second half.
"I really believe our defense was poor tonight," he said. "We didn't defend very well, not like I know we're capable of."
West Mesquite led heading into the final frame.
"We cut it to two in the middle of the fourth, but then they went on a 15-0 run," Craft said. "In that run we took poor shots and missed layups. We didn't do the things we needed to do to finish and compete with the elite teams in this area."
The Bulldogs' endurance and stamina will be put to the test as their near nonstop play continues with another tournament fast approaching.
North returns to action 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Bryan Adams in their opening game of the Wylie Tournament.
"The type of style that we play, which is up and down, is a lot of pressing and running and shooting threes," Craft said. "We got three more games through Saturday, so it's not going to get any easier on our bodies, so we have to take better care of that."
Other schools that are participating in the eight-team tournament are Wylie East, Frisco Centennial, Conrad, Garland, R. L. Turner, and host school Wylie.
As for what he hopes to see from his team in this upcoming tournament, Craft said it's simple.
"I hope to see a big trophy in my office that says first place," he said. "That's what our goal is and that's what I think we're good enough to do. We're going to play three very good teams, no matter who they are. It's a good field."
After this week's action, North will have only one game left before its Dec. 18 district opener against Lovejoy. Craft knows how important these final four games are as tune-ups before district.
"I'd like to shore up some things, get some kids some more playing time, and position ourselves to be healthy moving forward," he said. "Our kids will figure it out. We still got two weeks until district, and then it's game on."