Denair High will be playing for third place in its Denair Holiday Classic today after dropping Friday's game against Millennium High, 52-62. The Coyotes (4-8) hit the court strong against the Falcons (6-0) in the first half, but a third quarter slump that saw Millennium nearly double Denair's offensive output dashed the Coyotes' hopes at a championship run in their home tournament.
“Letting them get too much near the basket, penetrating the middle too much, not talking enough on defense,” Denair assistant coach Garett Elliot said of his team's third quarter effort. “Really on the defensive end just making some poor choices, and we just didn't hit shots. In the first half we hit a lot of shots. The third quarter we had a hard time finding the bucket.”
Denair's shooting was indeed on point in the first half as Dominyc Silva worked the inside and Isaac Starks stalked the perimeter and sunk treys with ease. The Coyotes looked to be on their way to entering halftime with a decent lead, but a pair of treys and a basket from Millennium with less than a minute left instead gave the Falcons a halftime lead, 26-27.
The Falcons rode their last-minute surge from the second quarter into the third quarter with bookend treys by Jordan DeWitt. Millennium also benefited from foul shots as its boys took six trips to the line after taking only one set of free throws in the entire first half.
On the other side of the court, Starks' shots from the perimeter began to miss their mark and a large chunk of his teammates passes were intercepted by the Falcons and turned into transition points.
“It's not necessarily the second half. We had a game on Tuesday where the second half was our good half,” Elliot said of Denair's slump. “It's more just putting 32 minutes together. We usually get two and a half good quarters and then we have that one quarter that will usually take us down if we're playing a good team, and that was the third quarter tonight.”
Denair momentarily recovered in the fourth quarter with seven unanswered points, but being outscored 11-20 in the third quarter proved to be too much to overcome.
Starks finished the game with 20 points and Silva notched a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
“Isaac and Dominyc, we have to run the ball through them every time to be able to break presses and hold down pressure,” Elliot said.
Denair will now face Hughson High in today's third-place game at 2:30 p.m. The Coyotes and Huskies played each other on Tuesday in a game that went into overtime and ultimately went to Hughson via a score of 56-59. Denair's Starks missed half of that game, so Elliot is expecting his team to perform a little better than they did on Tuesday.
“It's really important. We want to win at least two in our tournament,” Elliot said. “It was pretty even last time and it should be pretty even again.”