In the third of six games at Mexico on Saturday at the Gary Filbert varsity basketball Classic, the Community R-6 boys were down 7-0 to Tuscumbia at 5:08 of the first quarter before falling 55-43.
"We didn't get stops. We got out-hustled. We got outworked. We turned the ball over," said coach Matt Thomas of his teams early performance. "You name it, it kind of happened."
Once Cameron Evans and Matt Hill went on that initial run for Tuscumbia, it then widened its lead to 10 points on scores by David Huddleston and Taylor Ash before Cordell Hollensteiner finally ended the drought for the Trojans. Now down 15-2 at 2:41, Hollensteiner and Adam Homs both split their free throws for CR-6 to send the game into the second at 20-4.
""At halftime and during a couple timeouts we talked to the kids about their intensity level and how hard we were playing," Thomas said. "Then, midway through the third, our intensity picked up and we created some turnovers and got some easy buckets. Things started to turn around, but we can't ride this rollercoaster of intensity. Its got to get high and stay high."
While the Trojans did manage to cut the lead to 29-18 at the half, the Lions began the third with a pair of baskets by Hill and a free throw from Huddleston to go up by 16 at 5:43. Matt Gastler then sandwiched two baskets for CR-6 around a combined five points for Tuscumbia's Huddleston and Hill to make it a 41-22 game at 2:38 before finally ending the quarter at 45-22.
After starting slowly in the fourth, the Trojans finally got hot and bridged the gap to 50-29 at 5:40 and 50-37 at 3:30 on the strength of a 15-2 run that ended with consecutive three-pointers by Eric Hopmbs and Evan Harstock. CR-6 then cut the Lions advantage to 12 on three points each from Hollensteiner and Eric Hombs, only to see the last few seconds tick off the clock before its comeback was fully realized.
"Hollensteiner has been consistent for us. He plays hard and we're trying to get him to be more vocal on the floor," Thomas said. Our skill level and our strength has to improve over the summer," said Thomas. "That's going to take a commitment from guys to be in the gym. To come in and want to work and want to put the time in."
Scoring 17 for the Trojans was Hollensteiner, Eric Hombs had nine points and Evan Hartstock added eight points.
This squad also was downed at home on Friday by Montgomery County 79-48 in an Eastern Missouri Conference game. Setting the example for the Trojans was Hollensteiner with 19 point, Gastler added six points and Danny Kuda posted five points.
"Montgomery County is a really good team," said Thomas. "They shoot the ball extremely well and their pressure in the first half caused us to turn it over way too much. Eric Hombs also pitched in with four points and making a two-point appearance against the Wildcats was Adam Hombs.
CR-6, 6-16 overall, hosts Mark Twain on Feb. 17.