Mustangs drop first game of RVSA season

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A sluggish start proved to be the downfall of the George McDougall senior boys’ basketball team as it dropped its Dec. 6 Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) season opener to the Cochrane Cobras 88-77.

As the defending RVSA champions, the Mustangs came into the 2017-18 season with a target on its back and, although it suffered its first RVSA setback since January 2016, head coach Nathan Lee said he is confident in his team.

“Obviously we are disappointed, but I can sense that there are a lot of positive takeaways from the game,” Lee said. “We definitely had what it takes to compete, we didn’t have ourselves ready out of the gate.

“The main thing to take away is, yeah, it was an eye-opener for us, but more importantly, walking away knowing we can beat Cochrane.”

The Cobras took no time putting the pressure on the Mustangs early on, nearly-doubling its opponent 27-14 in the first quarter and continuing that dominant play going up 54-27 by halftime.

Although the team found itself in a 27-point hole, Lee said it was determined to claw back and make a game out of its matchup with the Cobras in the second half.

“As the game continued, we were definitely able to rally,” Lee said. “We were struggling on making sure people were communicating on the floor and making sure we were stopping the penetration inside. Those kinds of things we were able to adjust coming into the second half.

“By that time we had quite a deficit to come out of. The adjustments were made, the boys rallied…but there just wasn’t enough time in the game to make it all happen for a win.”

The game was a tale of two halves as the Mustangs came out in the second half with something to prove.

The Mustangs outscored the Cobras 50-34 to close the gap, but couldn’t overcome the 27-point deficit, falling 88-77.

“At this level when you get into a deficit of 25 points, any team is going to struggle to try and get back from that,” Lee said. “It just rings true you can’t allow that deficit to happen in the first place especially against a team like Cochrane.”

Although his team couldn’t come away with the victory, Lee said he saw quite a few things he did like, noting the team’s impressive shooting of 41 per cent, the play of guard Caleb Lee who led the team with 33 points and Jaiden Pannu who was tasked with covering Cochrane’s leading scorer.

“We had some great showings for some of our players,” Lee said. “We really had some good leadership on the floor.”

Even though he was able to take away some positives from the game, Lee said the team needs to avoid slow starts if it hopes to remain a force in the RVSA and needs to be more sound defensively.

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