By Noah Dalton
Even if other things are clicking, you’re not going to win a basketball game if your shots aren’t falling.
Mitchell High School welcomed Loogootee to The Hive on Friday in a game where they learned this the hard way, ultimately losing to the Lions by 35 points, 69-34.
The Bluejackets shot just 27% from the floor across 48 total attempts in the game. Contrast that with Loogootee’s 55% shooting on 54 attempts and the team’s arrived at that final score.
It was the first half where these shooting struggles were the most apparent for Mitchell. They did not connect on a shot attempt for the first four minutes of the game, after the Lions had began on a 7-0 run. By the end of the first quarter, they’d pushed the game close, down 11-10.
A three-pointer from Dawson Irwin gave the Bluejackets their first lead of the game with just over six minutes left to play in the half. From there, Mitchell went completely cold.
They could not get a single shot attempt beyond that point to fall for the rest of the quarter, allowing the Lions to go on a huge 15-2 run to close the first half, putting them firmly in control 28-15.
The Bluejackets made only four of their 23 attempts from the field in the first half, shooting 17%. On two point field goals, they made just one of 16 attempts from inside the arc. That one coming on a layup from Brendan Tolliver in the first quarter.
“You’re not going to win many games period shooting like that. Especially against a really good team,” Mitchell Head Coach Jackson Ryan said.”
“I thought we played hard in the first half. And then (Peyton) Bledsoe came out and hit some shots and really blew it open. But, frustrating because I thought we got great looks too. I think we missed nine or 10 point blank layups, and some of those were contested. We’ve got to finish and if we finish I think we’re within a possession or two, if not in the lead in the first half. So, if that’s where we are at the end of the first half, I think it’s a different ballgame coming into the second half and unfortunately, we weren’t there,” he continued.
The Bluejackets’ shooting improved in the third quarter, where they fired 38% on 16 attempts, but a new issue arose for them, which was their turnovers. The first half saw them turn the ball over five times, only one more than the four giveaways from Loogootee. In the third quarter alone, Mitchell turned the ball over six times, as they dealt with full-court pressure from the Lions.
It also did not help that Loogootee senior Isaac Eagle went off in the third, scoring 13 points, shooting a perfect 6/6 from the field.
“I mean, give credit to (Eagle). From the games that we have scouted and what he is we have seen this was his best offensive performance,” Ryan said. “A lot of live ball turnovers and when you’re that top guy on the defense, it’s a good opportunity for you to take off and get some easy looks. And that got him going and then from there, he started making some moves in the half-court. So, that’s a senior for them stepping up and making plays.”
By the end of the third, Michell faced a 24-point deficit, 51-27 and the game largely was over from there.
Lions’ senior Peyton Bledsoe caught fire in the fourth, rattling off four straight baskets, including back-to-back threes, as Loogootee went up by over 30 before subbing out their main squad. The running clock was initiated after a steal and layup from AJ Foster with 3:45 left.
The Bluejackets will need to quickly shake off this loss as they prepare for a game the following night against Brown County. Heading into the game, the Eagles are winless at 0-19 on the season, having just lost on Friday night to Northview.
On paper, this has the potential to be a good bounce-back game for Mitchell, who are looking to end a seven-game losing streak. For Brown County, the Bluejackets, who fell to 3-16 on the season with this loss, may be their best shot in these final three games to get a win this year.
“Yeah, there are some situations where you’re happy when there’s a quick turnaround and this is definitely one of those instances. I hate it for our kids because they come in every day and do what we ask of them and play hard and try to do the right things and we haven’t been able to reward them,” Ryan said.
“You can’t overlook anybody. (Brown County) are going to have Mitchell circled on their calendar as an opportunity for them to win. So, we need to treat it as such. I think that we’re going to be there their Super Bowl tomorrow and they’re gonna give us everything that they have. So we’ve gotta be ready and can’t overlook them and we can hopefully use this as an opportunity to get some momentum and string some wins here together to close it out going into sectionals,” he continued.
Ryan will be looking to see how his team responds following what he called a bad practice on Thursday and, even worse, a blowout loss the following night.
“I’m curious to see how we how we respond. I thought we took a step back tonight. And I think a big result of that was we had a bad practice yesterday. And so the consistency this week hasn’t been there. But luckily, a quick turnaround so hopefully we can kind of right the wrongs from tonight and get a little momentum and get headed in the right direction,” said Ryan.
- Dawson Irwin – 6 points, 2/6 shooting, 0/1 FT, 2 rebounds
- Austin Mosier – 0 points, 0/4 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
- Ben Seitzinger – 6 points, 2/8 shooting, 2/3 FT, 5 rebounds
- Kale England – 7 points, 3/10 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Brendan Tolliver – 8 points, 4/8 shooting, 0/0 FT, 3 rebounds
- Gavin Robinson – 2 points, 0/3 shooting, 2/2 FT, 5 rebounds
- Aiden Pridemore – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Bryson Shoults – 3 points, 1/4 shooting, 0/2 FT, 2 rebounds
- Dawson Snow – 2 points, 1/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
- Connor Teague – 0 points, 0/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Peyton Bledsoe – 19 points, 8/9 shooting, 0/0 FT, 5 rebounds
- Parker Arvin – 11 points, 5/13 shooting, 1/3 FT, 8 rebounds
- Issac Eagle – 15 points, 7/9 shooting, 1/3 FT, 4 rebounds
- Leighton Jeffers – 7 points, 3/7 shooting, 0/0 FT, 3 rebounds
- Isaac Waggner – 6 points, 2/7 shooting, 2/2 FT, 5 rebounds
- Drew Walker – 4 points, 2/3 shooting, 0/0 FT, 5 rebounds
- Brandon Bledsoe – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
- Camden Haywood – 1 point, 0/ shooting, 1/2 FT, 1 rebound
- AJ Foster – 6 points, 3/3 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds