Camdenton boys basketball outruns School of the Osage
Camdenton coach Craig Campbell is hoping his players have seen the proverbial light.
What he has been preaching all season- defensive pressure and pushing the ball up the court in transition- was on full display in a 72-50 win over Lake area neighbor School of the Osage Tuesday night.
Holding on to a slim 12-11 lead after the first quarter, the Lakers opened the floodgates in the second with an initial 8-0 run that turned into a 28-5 run to end the half and put Camdenton in cruise control with a 40-16 advantage.
“It is the first time we’ve actually played that way. I’ve been trying to get them to do it all year long and in a couple of games we’ve had glimpses of it,” Campbell said of his group. “Tonight, they finally did it and realized, ‘Hey, it is kind of fun to play this way,’ so hopefully we can build on that and keep going.
“This is probably the best all-around game we’ve been able to do it and a lot of that is forcing turnovers. If we cannot force turnovers, it makes it harder to run.”
Camdenton forced 18 Osage turnovers overall with its full court man-to-man pressure defense and eight of them came in the second quarter alone when the Lakers made their run.
“His motto is always defensive intensity and he always wants us to trap at the right times in the full court and get after it,” Camdenton sophomore Kam Durnin said of his coach after leading the Lakers with 14 points on the night. “His mind is that defense wins ball games.”
And sometimes defense can also serve as the best offense as the Lakers consistently got up and down the court with solid execution in transition.
“We were working the ball really well tonight and since we were up we got a lot of guys in and got to rotate,” Durnin also pointed out. “That kept us fresh so we were able to continue running up and down the court.”
Durnin’s teammates did not disappoint, either. A total of 12 different Lakers scored Monday night and nine of them scored in the first half alone. Sophomore Aaron Poage knocked down 13 points to fuel Camdenton’s attack, senior Tony Glynn added 10 points, fellow senior Joel Mason finished with eight and sophomore Ethan Evans put up five points of his own.
“In the first quarter we came out a little passive and let their zone bother us instead of still looking to attack. In the second, we kept attacking and that opened things up for us to get some transition points,” Campbell said of the offense. “Once we started scoring a little bit and the ball gets put in the hole, it is a whole lot easier to play basketball. Guys started relaxing, we started to play and it was definitely good to see that many guys score.”
Osage also used full court pressure in addition to its 2-3 zone defense and it initially had some success as Camdenton coughed up the ball six times in the first quarter. However, the Lakers were just a little too consistent the rest of the way and Osage coach Craig Engelbrecht said the opponents deserve some credit.
“Our transition defense was not good tonight,” the coach stated, noting his team played more zone defense than they normally do. “We tried to slow them down a little bit with a full court press just to make them walk it up the floor and go back into the zone, but they handled the ball really well tonight and got into us on the defensive end. They played well and you have to give them a whole lot of credit.”
And the Indians initially matched the Lakers throughout the first quarter and enjoyed a brief 9-8 lead before Camdenton seized control for good. Engelbrecht said it comes down to the fundamentals and being able to handle pressure on a consistent basis.
“We have to be able to make plays when there are scramble situations and teams try to take you out of your offense. They just full court press you to see if you can make enough plays against them and we are not able to at this point in the season,” he said. “It is just going to take a lot of fundamental work on our part to be able to make plays with our left hand because they just climb all over us, try to make us go left and we are unwilling to do that. There are things we have to work on to be better ball handlers under pressure.”
Osage was led by junior Alton Drace’s 12 points on the night while junior Talon Childs knocked down eight, senior Paven Clark finished with seven and junior Grant Steen, senior Drew Elley and sophomore Will Faulconer all finished with six points to provide some balance offensively.
The Indians fall to 3-6 on the season after the team’s first game since the Linn Tournament championship on December 19. Osage will have some more time to get back to work with the next game scheduled for January 14 when Cole Camp comes to town at 6 p.m.
“We played well in the first quarter so we thought the practices paid off over the Christmas break. Then it went south,” Engelbrecht said of his team’s first outing in the new year. “Now, we just have to figure out how we can play with some intensity like we did in the first quarter for four quarters.”
Ultimately, the coach noted it will be up to his players.
“Here we are, off a couple days again so we’ve got time to work on those things, but it is going to be up to them to really want to put the time in to improve so we can start to compete in a very tough conference,” he said, looking ahead to the Tri-County Conference slate.
“Not just playing hard in practice, but actually putting in the extra time before and after practice to make yourself a better player.”
Camdenton improved to 2-8 on the season and Campbell noted that although there was a little extra motivation to beat a neighboring Lake area school, he simply wants his team to come out and play the way it did Tuesday night every time the Lakers take the floor. When the starters and players who regularly see more minutes can relax in the fourth quarter from the bench, it signals that everyone did their jobs.
“I asked them, ‘Isn’t this fun to be sitting over here and cheering on your teammates because you played a good game prior?’” Campbell remarked. “I told them to think about it and they were like, ‘Yeah, this is awesome to be able to cheer these guys on and know we played well enough that we are not trying to come back in a ballgame.’ That was good to see they recognized that and hopefully, we have more than just tonight to be able to do that.”
It was the kind of night the coach is hoping his team can build on and execute consistently moving forward. Up next for the Lakers is the Ozark Conference opener at Glendale on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
“Camdenton has only beaten them twice in the history of the school,” Campbell pointed out. “So, if we can play that way whether or not we win or lose, if we can play that way we’ll have a great chance. Hopefully, after tonight, they buy into that and we’ll continue working forward and hopefully can take it to Glendale, too.”
Durnin is one who seems to be on board.
“I think we know we have the capability to win, we just have to execute,” the sophomore said. “We know our assignments and know our jobs, it just comes down to execution.”
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com or 573-346-2132