Standing in an empty hallway in Bishop Watterson High School, coach Mickey Cozart had to reflect on a long weekend for his team.
After a 61-43 loss Saturday night, 258 miles travelled for two games and 31 turnovers in the two weekend games by the Bulldogs, the reflection was needed.
Reflection on how to right the ship after losing two games in the first weekend of the season.
“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Cozart said. “We need to go back to work on Monday at start preparing for Warren.”
The Bulldogs, just like Friday night, couldn’t seem to find an offensive — or defensive — rhythm.
It was 35-17 at the half. In the second half, the teams were even at 26.
The Bulldogs started to press, and create turnovers — even through their own turnovers — which led to some points, and what they needed to find: a rhythm.
Leading the charge in the second half — and for most of the game — was junior Logan Maxfield.
He had 13 points. Maxfield was all over the court. He is normally the type of player that is unafraid to take a charge, or drive in and draw a foul. He drew two on the night which allowed him to get a few extra points at the free-throw line.
“He played tougher than anybody we had tonight,” Cozart said.
Maxfield got a lot of his points in transition, how Cozart wants his offense to be run.
When the Bulldogs forced a turnover, they wouldn’t get the transition points they want. A lot of missed layups led to a lot of missed opportunities for Athens.
A layup would go up, a foul would be called, the ball wouldn’t go in the basket. When there is some free-throw struggles, points get left off the board.
“Some of those in-the-paint shots, we’re shooting foul shots, and they should have been and-ones,” Cozart said. “We need to make some of those, finish through contact, finish at the rim.”
Alongside Maxfield’s performance, a positive that can be taken from Saturday’s game was the change in the execution of the offensive gameplan.
Friday, the Bulldogs tried to drive and score by themselves too much. Saturday, there was more kick-outs after a drive, and jump shots taken — what should be a strength of Athens.
The Bulldogs, however, struggled with shooting. They were only 2-of-15 from 3-point range. If those shots fall, it might be a different game.
“We did a better job of sharing the basketball,” Cozart said. “But until we stop turning the baskeball over at that rate, we’re not going to win basketball games.”