Turnovers, missed passes and baskets, and poor defense plagued the Hickman Kewpies Tuesday night at home.
Yet they still went on to narrowly beat the Camdenton Lakers 49-48.
The Kewpies, fresh from the Neosho Holiday tournament where they were 3-1 in tournament play and placed fifth overall, had a hard time finding their legs against the aggressive Lakers. The Lakers jumped to an early lead with strong efforts from Daniel Eidson, Mickey Turner and Dennis Chairs. The Kewpies had a solid effort from Stephon Austin, who contributed 9 points in the first half.
Kewpies guard Taylor Florence drove hard through the Lakers’ offense but struggled through the first half with his shooting. He had 10 points in the game.
“We struggle with playing at home,” said Florence. “It took us a while, but once we got going, we stuck with it and pulled it out.” Florence said it’s harder to play at home because of being in front of family and friends, but easier on the road because the game is played in front of strangers.
Around the end of the second quarter, the Kewpies started to wake up and take control of the game. A 3-point basket from Kewpies forward Byron Bundy and points from Florence, Bundy, and forwards Robert Heath and C.J. Ely kept the Kewpies ahead of the Lakers. Bundy had 13 points in the game.
Chairs and Forrest Shock tried to rally the Lakers in the fourth quarter, but their efforts fell short after a missed free throw from Chairs with four seconds left in the game.
Florence and Ely indicated that being tired from the tournament had a hand in poor play.
Kewpies head coach Jim Sutherland said the game was ragged, had a lot of turnovers and that the Kewpies were lucky to win it. He credited the Lakers for being very physical and very aggressive and said it made the Kewpies play that way.
“We didn’t play smart basketball,” said Sutherland. “It was a collective effort of mental errors. I don’t think anyone in my ball club played up to their potential or came ready to play.”
The Kewpies, who are now 6-7, play at home on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 against Helias High.