Tigers are no match for Rice Lake’s intensityHearing about Rice Lake’s intensity was one thing. Seeing it in action was something completely different.
Hearing about Rice Lake’s intensity was one thing.
Seeing it in action was something completely different.
The New Richmond boys basketball team thought it was prepared to face the in-your-face defense of the Rice Lake Warriors last Tuesday. Clearly they weren’t.
Rice Lake pounced on the Tigers like a lion on a lamb. Early in the second quarter the Warriors held a 27-4 lead. The Tigers were able to get the margin down to 10 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, but had to settle for a 64-53 defeat.
The Tigers take a 2-3 record into the 2009 portion of the season. Tiger coach Rick Montreal said a defining difference in the first five Tiger games has been defense. In the two Tiger wins the Tigers kept their opponents in the 40s. In the three losses, each opponent scored more than 60 points.
“I would call it a big indicator,” said Montreal. “It’s disappointing how we defended as a team.”
Montreal also made it clear what he was going to be looking for in the practices over the holiday break. He said every player’s defensive skills will be tested and “if you can’t defend, your minutes will be affected,” Montreal said.
Defense wasn’t the only problem in the loss to Rice Lake. The Tigers looked completely overwhelmed by the Rice Lake press. The Tigers rarely were able to run any sort of offense in the first half, which ended with Rice Lake leading 39-18.
“They put us under such duress in the first half we never had a chance to make the passes inside,” Montreal said.
With the large lead Rice Lake wasn’t quite as intense in the second half. The Tigers were able to run their offense, with some good results. Senior forward Derek Sabby scored 22 points, with 20 of his points coming in the second half.
Lance Bauer scored 10 points and Jared Kidder came off the bench to score seven points. Other than those three players, the Tigers showed very little willingness to challenge the Rice Lake defense.
The start to this game showed the Tigers that they have to do a better job of mentally preparing for each game, Montreal said.
“We didn’t find it within ourselves to match their intensity. We knew exactly what was coming,” Montreal said.
The Tigers start 2009 by facing another team out of the Big Rivers Conference. On Friday the Tigers will play at Menomonie to kick off the 2009 portion of the schedule.