Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Badgers Struggling at Year’s End
January 3, 2014 by Jason Baxter | No Comments

The young Badgers lack experience in their 1-9 start this season.

The Berkshire Badgers dropped two games this weekend as host of their Holiday Classic Tournament. The Badgers opened the tournament dropping a heartbreaker to Bristol, 50-42, last Friday.

The team then dropped a consolation matchup less than 24 hours later to Maple Heights, 69-48.

The two losses dropped the Badgers to 1-9 on the season. They have loss six games in a row and have lost 12 of 14 games dating back to last season.

Bristol finished off the weekend with a loss to Cuyahoga Hts. in the championship game, 81-37, on Saturday. They now have a 5-6 record on the season.

The Badgers started the Bristol game leading 13-2 at the end of the first quarter. Their dominance spilled over into the second quarter and the Badgers took a 28-13 lead into halftime. They were led by senior Peyton Neumore, the lone returning starter from last year’s team, who finished the half with eight points.

Bristol then outscored Berkshire 15-8 to cut the deficit to 36-28 heading into the fourth quarter. The Panthers finally cut the score to 38-37 with 3:55 remaining in the game.

Finally, with 2:20 left in the game Bristol hit on a field goal attempt by Kylie Stoneman, who led all scorers in the game with 17 points, she put the Panthers up 42-41. Stoneman finished the two-day tournament with 35 points.

Alexis Johnson then drew a foul and split two free throws to tie the game at 42. Bristol then hit on a layup by Kim Michael to take the lead for good. They would finish the game scoring eight consecutive points.

Bristol outscored the Badgers 37-14 in the second half using defensive pressure that pushed Berkshire into many unforced errors.

Berkshire coach Dennis Lory said his team got tentative with the ball at times and panicked.

“We played like a very young team, which we are,” Lory said. “Some of the decisions we made weren’t good. We turned the ball over and they converted them into points.”

The Badgers were led on the night by Neumore; she finished with 10 points in the game; she has led the team in scoring in all but one game this year. Johnson paced the Badgers off the bench with nine points.

“We have learned what makes or breaks us is handling the ball,” Lory said. “We scored a season high tonight. We had a strong first quarter against Perry. Tonight we had a strong first half. Everybody wants it to come fast. It’s just not going to happen fast.”

With a roster that includes only three seniors and only one returning starter (Neumore), the youth movement currently happening in Burton is a test in patience for longtime head coach Lory. Lory said the team is still focusing heavily on fundamentals in practice, even at the halfway point of the season. The starting lineup outside of Neumore is made up of two juniors and two freshman.

Lory said, “It gets frustrating for Peyton at times. She expects her teammates to do certain things, but they just don’t have the experience she has. Other teams have made it difficult for Peyton.”

The Badgers travel to Cardinal on Jan. 8. They still have eight CVC conference games remaining on the season.

Lory says the division title will go through Kirtland this year. The Badgers will get their shot on Jan. 22.

For more photos of the Bristol game visit bit.ly/leafphotos.

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