Slow start dooms Central in loss
The Central High School boys basketball team is used to trying to rally this season.
The Warriors came back to earn their first win of the season Tuesday against Palisade after trailing in the first quarter.
The Warriors found themselves in a similar situation Friday night, falling behind to Uintah, Utah, 20-8 after the first quarter.
But the Warriors couldn’t find the same success, despite cutting the Utes’ lead to one-point three different times, and lost 54-46.
“We have to have a better start,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “I thought we spent too much energy fighting to get back into it, and had some letdowns when we were right there.”
Central’s first run came in the second quarter led by a Trent Coleman three-point play to bring the Warriors (1-10) to 20-11. The Warriors’ 6-foot-7 center cut the lead to 22-16 a few possessions later on another three-point play when he picked up a loose ball, hit a long jump shot and drew a foul.
“Coach (Cain) said we needed to have some individuals step up, and I needed to do it,” Coleman said. “I was focused on getting the ball in the hole.”
Taylor Sanchez brought the Warriors to within 22-21 with three minutes remaining, but the Utes closed the half on an 8-0 run.
Cain said the slow starts have plagued the Warriors all season.
“Maybe we have to change our warm-ups,” Cain said jokingly. “We’ve been talking about getting mentally prepared so we can get off to a better start.”
The Utes’ Matthew Cushing scored the first five points for Uintah in the second half, helping to push its lead to 35-23. Cushing, a 6-4 post player, finished with a game-high 17 points and added 16 rebounds.
“They have good size and their big guys were quick,” Coleman said. “It’s good to see teams like that.”
Uintah stretched its lead to 44-31 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Warriors made a charge at the end of the quarter that was capped with Edward Becoat hitting a jump-shot at the buzzer to close the deficit to 44-37.
“It seems like we have to be hit in the mouth first before we step up our game to that level,” Becoat said. “It’s all mental, we have to be ready to go.”
Coleman scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter on a put-back to bring Central within five at 44-39. The Warriors closed to within 47-46 with 4:22 left on a Sanchez free throw.
“I was proud that we kept fighting,” Cain said. “We kept hanging in there but we need to make sure we start solid from the beginning and not have such a deficit.”
The Warriors lost their momentum and Uintah closed the game on a 7-0 run.
“We start our region play a week from today so it was good to come and play a good, physical team,” Uintah coach Scott Mansfield said. “We are at a point in our season where we need confidence and need wins.”
Coleman and Zach Padilla led the Warriors with 10 points each. Coleman’s 10 was a season high for the junior.
“Trent’s been working hard,” Cain said. “The guys are looking for him more as they are gaining more confidence in him.”
Central begins its SWL play next Friday at Montezuma-Cortez.
“We’ve been tested a lot and gone against some tough teams,” Becoat said. “I think that has gotten us mentally ready for league play and hopefully we can do better there.”