(December 4th, 2014) – ANTWERP: Beginning their season on the road, the Blackbirds battled consistency issues against the Archers of Antwerp.
After limiting the Archers to just 4 points in the first quarter, the Blackbird defense gave up 18 in the second. During that same span, the Pettisville offense generated 9 points per quarter, making the score 22-18 in Antwerp’s favor at the half. The boys from Pettisville found their defense again in the third stanza, holding the Archers to 9 points. Upping their own production to 13 points, the Blackbirds entered the fourth quarter in a 31-31 tie with the home team.
Then the fourth quarter happened.
Pettisville again allowed Antwerp to put up 18 points. Meanwhile, their offense stalled, offering just 6 points to the Blackbird effort. This put the final score at 49-37, leaving Pettisville with a loss in their first contest of the season.
Turnovers played a vital role in this game for both teams. Pettisville had 19 such errors through the course of the game, 12 of which came in the first half. After halftime, the Blackbirds took better care of the basketball, committing just 2 turnovers in the third period, when they totaled their greatest points scored by quarter. In the fourth quarter, however, they turned the ball over 5 times.
Antwerp, on the other hand, had only 10 turnovers in the game. Of those mistakes, 4 of them occurred in the first period, where they were only able to amass 4 points. The second quarter saw them cut that number in half, and their offense thrived. Another 3 turnovers in the third again limited their opportunities to put points on the board, which they converted into 9 points. With just 1 possession-costing error in the final period of play, the Archers again came up big offensively, scoring 18 points to close out the game.
From a shooting standpoint, Pettisville was fairly solid. The guests shot 39% from the floor, making 13 of their 33 attempts in the contest. A more impressive statistic, though, is the 41% of their three-point shots on which they connected, going 5 for 12 as a unit from behind the arc. Of course, after those numbers would have been higher if, after shooting between 40% and 50% on field goals in the first three quarters, their shooting percentage hadn’t dropped to a meager 25%.
Antwerp shot over 50% in both of their 18 point quarters. They were unable to shoot better than 40% in the other two periods.
The most successful shooter for the Blackbirds was Tate Kauffman. With 20 points, Kauffman produced more than half of Pettisville’s points against the Archer defense. Going 4 for 7 from the three-point line, the Blackbird senior made 63% of his overall shots. He also put 2 of his 3 free throw attempts through the bottom of the net.
Free throws were an issue for the Blackbirds, though. With a 60% success rate, one would think they simply missed too many shots from the charity stripe. However, the real problem is that they only had 10 attempts from the line. Pettisville would have been in much better shape, had they found ways to earn more trips to the free throw line. Such a lack of attempts is typically a symptom of teams settling for too many jump shots, instead of being more aggressive with the basketball.
Pettisville was good enough to beat Antwerp on the Archers’ home court. Inconsistent play on the defensive end insured they’d have an uphill battle to do so, however. It also didn’t help that Kauffman served as the only true scoring threat for the Blackbirds in the game. In the fourth quarter, when Pettisville only managed to score 6 points, the senior missed his only shot in the period. More players will need to step up for Coach Nofziger’s squad if they plan on winning a lot of games this year.
And they’ll have to do so consistently.