by Brian Buesch
Big Sandy won a battle of turnovers 41-30 on the road Friday night over Onalaska to notch their second win of the young season.
Both offenses struggled to put the ball in the hole in the first half, but each team was aggressive on defense to create new possessions. It led to a halftime score of 16-15, with the road team taking the slim advantage into the locker room.
“Two things stick out to me,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “We turned the ball over way too much. The first two games, I think we had 11 in each of those games. We had 20-something tonight. Our decision making was very poor tonight. One of the things that we've done well this year so far is rebound the ball. We also rebounded poorly tonight.
“We didn't shoot it well, but I don't worry about that as much, because I thought we were getting good looks. I would be more concerned if we weren't executing our offense. I thought when we weren't turning it over, we actually executed. Basketball comes down to making shots and we have to make more of them. We tried to change the pace a little bit and extend and get a little pressure, and those types of things opened up the game for us a little bit.”
After getting just two buckets in the first quarter, Big Sandy scored in double digits in the following three frames. Onalaska was held to a high of eight in the first and fourth.
Elias Bullock led all scores with 11 points for Big Sandy. Dante Williams had 10 points and Kaden Foster added nine. Bryan Wyatt was the top Onalaska scorer with seven points, while Ryan Kratz and Chase Fletcher each put in six.
Big Sandy is now 2-1 with a loss to Orangefield and a win over Warren. They will next face Splendora Monday at 1 p.m.
Foster said there are players filling different roles from last year. If Friday was any indication, the Wildcats in purple will be able to generate offense in transition when shots aren’t falling. It is also something the opposing coach pointed out.
“Most of their points — after I stat it — I'd be shocked if more than half of them weren’t off of our turnovers,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “That is beating ourselves. Some of that is inexperience and youth and some of it is we have to be more patient and execute.”
Early in the season and especially after everyone has missed some time with the pandemic, the offenses may need a few weeks to catch up in the 2020-21 season.
Both coaches saw plenty from their defense to like.
“I saw a lot of growth out of them after the first couple of games,” Tyerman said. “Our defense is really good. As long as we keep getting better, we'll be fine. I'm proud of our defense and I think this is probably our best defense since I have been here. We have to get the offense to start going with it.”Onalaska opened the season with large and talented teams in Lumberton and College Station, dropping both.“I always schedule tough,” Tyerman said. “I'm trying to get us ready for district, because in district, I can't replicate the speed in practice that we see. It is a learning experience for them. Coldspring is just as athletic as those big schools, so it is us getting used to that sort of thing.”
Tyerman said his group is a good mix of both veterans and youth. he likes his team's aggressiveness and wants them to stay composed when things don't go their way.“Athletically, I think we are as good as we were two years ago when we missed the playoffs by one game. It is just about getting that confidence in themselves. We have a lot of kids who have been role players and now they have to accept the fact that it is on them to start doing everything. They're not the secondary option anymore.”
Kountze has had to drop Onalaska from their scheduled game Saturday. However, the school by the lake has been able to add a home tip for that day, when they will host La Poynor.