Second-quarter woes hurt Apollo, Aces grab first win on the road

December 11, 2021 | 12:04 am

Updated December 11, 2021 | 1:00 am

Offensive struggles came back to bite the Eagles on Friday night, as the Aces grabbed their first win of the season by a score of 69-46.

Apollo came out strong in the first quarter, as Owensboro Catholic settled for jumpers after they’d hit some threes to open up play. 

Playing without their starting point guard Jaden Kelly, the Eagles offense was able to get to the rim and knock down a number of mid-range jumpers en route to a 13-11 lead going into the second quarter.

However, the Aces defense was able to force a plethora of turnovers that turned into offense in the second quarter. Adding this on top of some open looks not falling, Owensboro Catholic held the Eagles to three points and went into halftime owning a 25-16 lead.

Head Coach Tim Riley said the goal on the night was to bring a lot of intensity on the defensive end without overdoing it to try and halt any offensive momentum for Apollo.

“We wanted to pressure them a little bit, but we also wanted to stay in front of them,” Riley said. “We wanted to pressure a little bit, but we didn’t want to create opportunities for them.”

And it worked, as the Aces picked up right where they left off in the third quarter. Getting a boost from sophomore Deuce Sims and junior Wyatt Jenkins off the bench, Owensboro Catholic outscored the Eagles 18-13.

Sims had six of his eight points on the night in the third quarter, while Jenkins had four of his nine points in the quarter. Riley said its the motor that Sims and Jenkins have on both ends of the floor that really made a difference when they came in off of the bench.

“Both of those kids are just active,” Riley said. “They’re active, they kind of fly around. Deuce especially. He just goes and rebounds the ball and has a bounce about himself. He’s a young kid that struggles sometimes with the stuff we’re doing, but he doesn’t struggle going to get the ball.”

This play from Owensboro Catholic’s bench led to a 43-29 lead over Apollo going into the fourth quarter.

The Aces put the icing on top of the cake in the fourth, as the offense continued to thrive as they tallied 26 points in the quarter.

The Eagles had their best offensive quarter of the game with 18 points, but it was too little too late as they fell to Owensboro Catholic 69-46.

The Aces had a solid game offensively, but Riley feels as though they could execute better if the ball moves more and they aren’t settling for a decent jumpshot.

“The first half we took 15 three-point shots,” Riley said. “These young kids man, they think every three is a good shot. We’ve gotta be a little more patient, get the ball in the middle and then kick it out and shoot more threes. We were just three happy.”

Regardless, Owensboro Catholic had two players finish in double figures, as junior Parker Gray and freshman Tutt Carrico both led the team with 14 points each.

“Parker is really trying to carry us right now,” Riley said. “If he’ll just relax and let the game come to him he’s gonna get his points because he can score. He’s a heck of a scorer and Tutt can score as well.”

While a number of Aces got in on the action offensively, Apollo had just five players score with sophomore Eli Masterson being the only player in double figures with 15 points.

Head Coach Mark Starns was not pleased with his team’s efforts on the night, saying that they didn’t fight hard enough on the defensive end due to offensive struggles.

“I’m wondering where my guys were, what was the difference in the first quarter and what happened and where did they go for the second, third and fourth quarters,” Starns said. “It’s plain and simple. If we don’t score the ball—that’s what we think about—if we don’t score, we don’t want to play defense and that’s gotta be a common denominator.”

As far as the offensive end goes, Starns felt that they beat themselves as opposed to Owensboro Catholic being the reason for their scoring droughts at times.

“Owensboro Catholic didn’t put any pressure on us,” Starns said. “We were struggling to score the basketball. It wasn’t anything that they were doing. We’ve got to get better offensively and we’ve gotta get better defensively. We’ve gotta find an identity.”

With that in mind and Apollo moving to 0-5 on the young season, Starns said his group has to lock in during practice and find ways to get better for the upcoming week.

“Back to the lab tomorrow…” Starns said. “[We’ll] try to figure out what we can do. We just can’t throw in the towel because we’ve got a lot of season ahead of us.”

The Eagles are set for a road matchup in their next game, as they will take on Trinity (Whitesville) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

On the other hand, the Aces have their first win of the season under their belt. With some more experience under their belt, Riley hopes that Owensboro Catholic will take advantage of opportunities to grow in practice this week before they host Daviess County at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17.

“We’ve played a bear of a schedule already,” Riley said. “A lot of kids we’re counting on have not been with us very long, so we got some chances to get better this coming week. We don’t play a game until Friday, so we have a chance to really improve hopefully.”

December 11, 2021 | 12:04 am

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