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Mendota — Mendota boys basketball coach Jan Thompson was not happy with his basketball team after it failed to show up against Big Northern Conference crossover foe Rockford Christian in a 62-42 loss at home Tuesday.
“The bottom line is ... great for them cause they absolutely worked their butts off tonight,” Thompson said. “They out hustled us all over the floor, they were sharp and with it. The bottom line is we were just flat and couldn’t get ourselves going for whatever reason that was.”
After a 12-12 tie to end the first quarter, the Royal Lions exploded for 22 points in the second while Mendota was held to eight for a 34-20 RC halftime lead.
The Trojans had trouble putting the ball in the basket and converting interior passes because of the RC defensive unit. Mendota had 10 of its 14 turnovers in the second half and the Royal Lines finished with 10 steals.
“We sometimes struggle on offense, so we need our defense to help us offensively to get those leak outs and easy layouts,” Royal Lions coach Trent Emenecker said. “We’ve been pretty good on defense all year, holding teams under 40 points consistently.
“I didn’t think we could do it to Mendota cause they have so many good shooters and post players. They’re a pretty balanced team so we kind of concentrated a little more on being physical because of their size. I think that was the difference.” The offensive talent Emenecker was concerned with was nowhere to be found Tuesday as Mendota shot 7-of-22 from 3-point range, missed easy layups and shot 3-of-9 from the free throw line.
Thompson was especially disappointed in his usually high productive front court combo of seniors center Austin O’Sadnick and forward Trae Blumhorst.
“Our inside guys — I don’t know what their deal was were not dominant at all,” — Thompson said. “It’s the first game in a long, long, long time where neither one of them could get themselves going and that’s too bad, we were at home. They were very weak tonight.”
Blumhorst led the team with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field, 1-of-5 from the 3-point line and 2-of-7 from the charity stripe.
The big man in the middle went scoreless until an offensive putback with 6:18 left in the third quarter put his only two points of the game in the box score. He shot 1-for-6 from the field.
With the heart of a tough conference schedule underway, Thompson knows his team has to step up its game or the loss column is going to gain some unwanted tallies.
“We better play a heck of a lot better than we did (Tuesday). I mean a heck of a lot better. We have Rockford Lutheran on Friday and everyone knows they’re an absolute load,” Thompson said.
“We will have to be sharp and on our game. Then we turn around and play Rock Falls on Saturday who is also playing very good right now. Both of those games, we better be with it or we’re going to walk away with three loses this week and that’s the truth.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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