Denair High boys basketball (4-8) went into Friday's matchup against Hughson (6-2) High in the Coyotes' Holiday Classic with the goal of redeeming their loss to the Huskies earlier in the week. However, the game didn't go quite the way the Coyotes were hoping, as Denair failed to produce enough offense behind Isaac Starks' 23 points, 6 steals and 6 rebounds and they lost it at the end, 63-54.
“We need to keep our cool and not lose our heads,” said Denair Coach Garett Elliott. “We were in the game, but we spotted them 10 points at the start and came out sluggish then they held on to the lead for the majority of the game.”
Hughson’s run started early, as the Huskies took a 23-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Denair continued to push and work their way inside, contesting with Hughson’s ability to score from the paint and from mid-range.
The Huskies' inside game became evident when they continued to pressure Denair to stick with them and they did till the final quarter.
Hughson’s 11-point lead by halftime was extended to 14 by the end of the third.
Denair battled back and cut it to seven points after going on a late 7-2 run in the final four minutes.
Hughson was able to drain their high percentage shots late and made 8 of 12 free throws down the stretch in the closing quarter and secured the nine-point victory.
“There were signs of regression because we can’t lean on Starks to score 20 to 30 points a night, but others need to step up on both ends of the court to make stops and make some buckets,” said Elliott.
Dylan Mann added another double-double despite fouling out of the game after scoring 11 points and adding 10 rebounds for the night.
Trevor Lovelace finished with 11 points after a 3 of 5 performance from behind the arc and Joe Brasil also fouled out late in the fourth.
“We have to do a better job of keeping our cool when things don’t go our way. And we need to be on a consistent flow with our other guys,” said Elliott.