[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting to correct errors.]
Simon Shavers-Hall screamed at himself in frustration. The Douglass basketball team’s leading scorer was having an off night.
His three first-quarter field goal attempts had rattled in and out of the basket. The opposition was intercepting his usually crisp passes.
Add Shavers-Hall’s early foul trouble in Thursday night’s game, and it was easy to see why he was plodding to the bench after Bulldogs coach Lynn Allen summoned him.
Shavers-Hall’s shoulders sunk and his hands covered his face, epitomizing Douglass’ performance in its 69-39 loss to Russellville at Smithton Middle School.
From the early going, the Indians (6-9) outhustled and outrebounded the Bulldogs (3-7). Russellville’s Scott Smith scored six points on uncontested layups before the game was two minutes old.
“We just don’t have that strong inside play right now, that dominant post player,” Allen said. “So we’re kind of scrambling with some junk defenses.”
Smith, whose 19 points led all scorers, beat the Douglass defense all night from the inside and behind the 3-point arc.
“He’s had some really good games for us,” Russellville coach Steve Lasman said. “He’s a kid with a lot of potential.”
But Smith did not operate alone. Brian Bishop scored 15 and Tyler Watkins had 14 for the Indians.
“Tyler is a really good shooter,” Lasman said. “He needed a breakout.”
Douglass controlled little else besides the opening tip. Any momentum the Bulldogs gained from forcing a turnover was quickly stifled by an ill-advised offensive play.
Russellville played man-to-man defense throughout the game, ultimately wearing out its opponent.
“We put more ball pressure and we also played better help-side defense,” Lasman said. “That’s something we’ve been really working on.”
Allen said his team probably ran out of gas after the half.
Douglass has had 10 players eligible for practice for only the past two weeks.
Freshman Landon Boone led Douglass with eight points and added four rebounds.
“We’re just real young,” Allen said. “We’re really trying to keep their heads up because we know that there’s going to be some pretty good basketball left this year.”