DAYTON — Sometimes, the shots just don’t fall.
The Tongue River High School boys basketball team usually hits plenty of 3-pointers in every game, part of the reason for the Eagles’ high-scoring matchups so far this season. Friday night against Rocky Mountain, Tongue River went cold and converted only two 3s as a team.
“When we bank on a few of those shots to go in, that kind of makes it tough when they don’t,” Tongue River head coach Tyler Hanson said.
The Eagles’ struggles from behind the arc matched with the Grizzlies’ top-notch shooting to deal the Eagles a 73-56 loss. TR dropped to 1-2 in quadrant play with the defeat, while Rocky Mountain improved to 3-0.
The Grizzlies nailed seven treys on the night, including six in the first half. Ethan Price led Rocky Mountain with 21 points and hit three 3-pointers in the first two quarters.
Hanson said the Grizzlies’ hot shooting forced Tongue River to adjust its defensive game plan in the first half. The Eagles came out in a zone but allowed Rocky Mountain to convert too many open looks from beyond the arc.
TR turned to a full court press and forced a few turnovers, but the Eagles already trailed by double digits at that point.
“They had us off our game right from the start,” Hanson said. “…They got us out of what we really wanted to do really quick, and their good shooting had to do with that and our bad shooting had to do with that.”
The Eagles played an inconsistent 32 minutes. They gave up too many good looks in the first half but improved on defense in the second half. However, TR couldn’t convert enough offensive chances to make it a competitive game over the final 16 minutes, trailing by double digits the entire second half.
After being down 39-27 at half, the Eagles were outscored by 12 points in a pivotal third quarter. Tongue River only managed to score seven points and had several poor passes that the Grizzlies turned into easy layups.
Hanson said he was pleased with the team’s consistent effort and willingness to compete. That is something the team has emphasized in practice and an area on which they will continue to focus.
“Don’t look up at the scoreboard; we’ve got to learn how to compete possession by possession first,” Hanson said. “…Now it’s just trying to put it all together.”
Hanson and the players discussed the positives and negatives after the game and what to think about going forward.
“Learning from tonight, forgetting the emotions from tonight, coming out good tomorrow against Moorcroft, and then in the back of our mind have what we need to improve on to compete with Rocky (Mountain) next time,” Hanson said.
Tongue River hosts Moorcroft Saturday at 4 p.m.
Rocky Mountain…15 24 19 15 — 73
Tongue River………11 16 7 22 — 56
Rocky Mountain — Price 21, Simmons 14, Winland 11, Wambeke 7, Moss 6, Horrocks 4, Estes 3, Robinson 3, Grant 2, Banks 2
Tongue River — Richards 5, McCafferty 7, Summers 13, Cummins 3, Clair 13, Rees 7, Reish 6, Bear Don’t Walk 2