Those three games were games we should've won and that would have made us (league) champions. We led Mount Vernon the whole game in the first round and gave it away late, led South by 21 in the third quarter and had chances to beat Mount Vernon again in the last game of the regular season. The South loss was especially devastating (to league-title hopes).
It was the exact opposite of the way we finished against South. We stay poised and confident. If we had played that way in the fourth quarter against South and the last four minutes against Mount Vernon (58-54 loss Jan. 20), we'd be in first place. I think as low as we were after South, we needed a comeback win like this to prove to ourselves we could close out games.
This time, we got off to a good start, which has been our Achilles heel this season. But we struggled with their press in the second quarter and got away from our game plan. It's been different things that have hurt us at different times. It's not just one phase of the game that is consistently hurting us.
For most of three quarters, we showed what we're capable of doing when we execute and play smart. We led one of the best teams in the district by 20 points. I doubt anyone has led them by 20 this season. But then we got away from the things we were doing, had calls go against us and things started to snowball. Then, just like that, the lights went out for our kids.
We played the best 29 minutes of basketball we played all season collectively, then we did everything wrong collectively in the last three minutes. We missed free throws, had quite a few turnovers. It was bad. But we were happy to respond so well against Pickerington North. The kids bounced back and showed some poise.
We've played some teams in the past couple weeks that really like to slow the tempo. While they've dictated tempo, what I've been pleased with is our ability to be patient. Our shot selection has been good, and that's important when you have fewer possessions. I tell the guys all the time that teams may dictate tempo, but defenses can't dictate shot selection.