Lakers coach Craig Campbell saw a team that refused to give up in an 82-61 loss to the hometown Bears from Independence.
It may not have been the outcome Camdenton was looking for in the first battle of the season Thursday night at William Chrisman in the opening round of the second annual Phog Allen Invitational.
But Lakers coach Craig Campbell saw a team that refused to give up in an 82-61 loss to the hometown Bears from Independence.
“That’s a good team, one of the best teams we will probably face this year, and after the first quarter our guys just dug down deep and refused to give up,” he said.
The Bears led 44-20 at halftime and came out hot in the third period, scoring 22 points to make it a 66-45 game going into the final quarter.
Following the victory, Bears coach Jake Kates was asked about his team’s 32-point first quarter as he emerged from a surprisingly lengthy postgame session with his team.
“Yeah,” Kates deadpanned, “but what about what happened after that?’
Kates was disappointed this year’s senior-dominated Bears team missed countless layups, turned down its intensity level and used that early lead to claim the victory.
“We’re going to score points,” Kates said, “but I saw no defensive intensity out there tonight and that really disappoints me. I saw very little leadership, and with nine seniors, we should have had a lot of leadership and direction – and I let our guys know that.
“Most of these guys have been playing together since they were in third grade. This is the season they have been dreaming about for years and years, and we want to them make a total commitment because they have the chance to do something special.
“But if they play like they did after that first quarter, it might not happen. I want them to know that, and I believe they will respond in our next game.”
Senior guards Alex Calhoun and Zach Fashing responded moments after the meeting with Kates. Each of them hit their first three 3-pointers in the first quarter to fuel that 32-16 advantage going into the second period.
“We’ve been together since third grade and we need to pick it up, play an entire game,” said Fashing, who finished with 18 points off the bench. “If we don’t leave it all on the floor every game we’re just cheating ourselves.
“Tonight, Alex and I kind of fed off each other. He hit his first three 3-pointers and I then I came into the game and hit my first three 3-pointers, and it was fun.”
Calhoun, who finished with a game-high 19 points, added, “We all know our roles. And tonight, we didn’t play the way we are capable defensively and Coach was disappointed. We were disappointed, too. And we’re going to pick it up our next game.”
Calhoun scored 11 first-quarter points and Fashing added nine and it looked like it might be a blowout.
But Paxton DeLaurent, the Camdenton quarterback who led the Lakers football team on a deep postseason run, scored eight of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to keep the score respectable.
“We have two guys who played football and they’ve had four practices with us, so we’re going to be fine when they get in basketball shape,” Campbell said. “And we’re playing two freshmen, so I believe this is a team that is going to get better as the season goes on.”
Zachariah Rowe added 14 points and Marcus Wigfall had 10 as the Bears had four players in double figures.
Brandon Pasley scored 11 points and Drake Miller, one of DeLaurent's targets on the football team, added 10.