>Sometimes it’s as simple as which team executes its game plan better.
On Friday, the Albion High School boys basketball team controlled the tempo and locked down Hillsdale’s guards like it schemed, while the Hornets did not rebound or take advantage of their transition game like coach Brad Felix had planned.
The result was a 52-39 win by the Wildcats (7-4, 4-1 Southern Michigan Activities Association), keeping them tied atop the conference with Western and Columbia Central and pushing the Hornets (8-3, 3-2) a game back.
|Albion prevailed 52-39 Friday night.|
Albion held Hillsdale to just 12 first-half points, and the Hornets had 18 turnovers against 13 field goals for the night.
Albion coach Durant Crum said he wanted to stall his offense at times to keep Hillsdale from getting into a rhythm and his players pulled it off.
“We’re an up-and-down team, and we know Hillsdale likes to play up-tempo as well, so we just felt like we’d be good if we could control the tempo and kind of pick our times to run and slow down things a little bit and throw them off balance,” he said. “And our guys were able to do that.”
Felix said he thought his team had plenty of chances to dictate tempo to Albion, but too often his players made errant decisions that played right into the Wildcats’ hands.
“We’re just searching right now for a playmaker on offense,” Felix said. “I thought we missed a lot of opportunities in the first half, we got out-run … instead of making plays we turned it over, we got balls tipped, we ran some good sets and couldn’t make shots.”
He was especially unhappy that his team was outrebounded 30-27, in part because of a 15-point, 10-rebound effort from Albion’s Terrace Welch.
Andrew Nicholson added 10 points and Darius Crum tallied seven points and four assists.
The Wildcats filled up the stat sheet at the foul line in a 24-point fourth quarter.
Dan Vear led the Hornets with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Cameron Holroyd added nine points.
Hillsdale pulled within 26-23 early in the third quarter, thanks to several effective full-court traps, but ultimately Albion picked them apart and an 8-1 run broke the contest open for the Wildcats.
“You fall behind to them and they just pull it out. They know you can’t guard them, they just know it, so what are you going to do?” Felix said. “Sit in a zone (defense) down by 10 or are you going to come out and try to make plays, when then they might layup you to death?”
Crum said he was pleased with the win, but his team still has “plenty to figure out” if it wants to compete for an SMAA title.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Jan. 29, 2011