The shots stopped falling for Camdenton Tuesday night.
The Lakers hosted Kickapoo for an Ozark Conference battle and as the game wore on, the rim appeared to shrink on Camdenton’s end while expanding on Kickapoo’s side of the floor. When the clock hit zero, the Lakers were hit with a 69-37 defeat.
“When you look at the final score, and yeah they beat us by that bad, but honestly I never really felt like they were just taking it to us,” Camdenton coach Craig Campbell said after the game. “It was a lot of we missed and they scored. They were not turning us over much and they just shot well.
“Part of it was our fault for not guarding as well, but a lot of that is on them (Kickapoo). They hit shots and when you hit shots, it makes the game a whole lot easier.”
And Kickapoo did find the bottom of the net from the start whether it was getting a good look inside the paint or hitting shots from downtown beyond the arc. The Chiefs jumped out to an 8-1 lead, but Camdenton stayed within striking distance trailing 23-13 after the first quarter. The Lakers went on to cut the deficit to four points early in the second, but it was the closest they would get as Kickapoo went on a 22-2 run to close out the half with a comfortable 45-21 lead.
“Our effort kind of fell off and a lot of that boiled down to the fact that we were missing layups and wide open shots. It kind of snowballed and I don’t know if they (Kickapoo) missed a shot in the second quarter,” Campbell noted. “But that was the biggest thing. We could not make anything and our effort kind of dropped.
“It was not like they just ran away with it. It was just slowly building and we could not do anything to put the ball in the hole. It looked like somebody had put a lid over it for a little bit.”
Kickapoo continued that trend in the second half and the hole just became a little to deep to dig out of as the Chiefs remained efficient in their field goals.
“The thing with this game is that it is a game of runs. When you can never make one yourself, everything else starts lacking a little bit and our defense kind of went down,” Campbell said. “We picked it back up in the third quarter a little bit, but it was still one of those where we just could not really get anything going together. It was kind of deflating when we missed a couple of easy buckets and that builds.”
When adversity hits and things are not clicking as they should, campbell noted that his club just has to continue chipping away and claw their way back in.
“The biggest thing they have to realize is that you are not going to get it all back at once. There is no 17-point shot and sometimes I wish there was, but there is not,” the coach stated. “A little bit here, a little bit there and just keep chipping away. Tonight, we struggled with it a little bit as far as having that mentality. We’d chip a little bit and let them drag it back up.”
Camdenton sophomore Paxton DeLaurent led the Lakers with 14 points, senior Connor Graves added eight and fellow senior Garrett Golliher contributed five of his own.
The good news is that there are still quite a few games left and opportunities to make improvements. Campbell will be interested to see how his guys respond to a tough night.
“I told the guys that I’ve had a lot of people come up and talk to me and tell me how excited they were to watch them play and how hard they played,” Campbell remarked. “They have to recognize that they are not just playing for themselves or their teammates, but are playing for the name on their jersey- ‘The Lakers.’ The Lakers are more than just this school and this team. It is the people in the community and it is those guys we honored between games in the seventh and eighth graders coming up and the freshmen, sophomores and juniors on the junior varsity.
“We are not just playing for ourselves and we have to figure out what legacy we are wanting to leave. Are we wanting to leave a legacy of laying down and quitting or are we going to keep battling, keep fighting and move forward?”
Campbell said that so far he has seen the latter and will be looking for that fight when the Lakers (3-16, 0-5 Ozark Conference) visit Waynesville on Tuesday for another conference clash at 6:45 p.m.