It was a crucial league game on Tuesday night for the Denair High boys varsity basketball team and their dreams of a postseason run this year. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, things went downhill quickly as the home team dropped its second straight against Le Grand, 30-53.
“Le Grand played more aggressive and it showed,” said Denair assistant head coach Garett Elliott. “We have to grind it out and try to get these wins at the end, but with the way we played tonight I would be shocked if we did make the playoffs. Maybe these guys will surprise me and everyone.”
When Denair and Le Grand met on the court back on Jan. 9, the Coyotes dominated the contest, 62-41, but things were different then — Denair had all their starters out on the court. This time around, the Coyotes were a completely different team.
“We had guys out with the flu and poor academic performances,” Elliott said. “But we can’t take any credit away from Le Grand because they shot the ball really well and even if we had everybody I don’t know if we would have come out with the win.”
Dominyc Silva’s double-double, 23 points and 10 rebounds, wasn’t enough to help the Coyotes overcome the absence of three starters.
In a night where the Coyotes shot 10-of-39 (25 percent) from the field, they also committed 18 turnovers and missed numerous open lay-ups and uncontested shots.
With only seven guys on the lineup, and despite Silva’s game-high 23, the rest of the Denair team scored only a combined seven points.
To make matters worse for the home team, the Bulldogs of Le Grand dropped 12 three-point shots for the game. Freshman Beto Marquez knocked down five alone.
“Anytime somebody hits 12 threes you will have a chance to win and things went well for them,” Elliott said about Le Grand's hot night. “Since playing there we are missing three starters. It’s hard to prepare when you’re missing half your starters.”
After being down 17-32 at the halfway mark the Coyotes just seemed depleted as they went scoreless for nearly six minutes before scoring only four points in the third quarter.
Le Grand took full advantage of the Coyotes struggles as they outscored the home team 21-11 in the second half en route to their third league win of the year.
Denair (3-6) is now second to last in the Southern Athletic League with only three games remaining for the regular season.
In order to possibly make the postseason the Coyotes must win-out.
“There will be close teams in the standings, but if we win out then we have a shot,” Elliott said.
Denair will host Delhi High at 7:30 p.m. Friday.