The Mansfield basketball team lost a tough one against rival Summit last week as the season got underway, but coach Jason Speakes said there were some definite positives for his team to take away from the game.
The Tigers will be taking it easy this Thanksgiving break as they will not be participating in any competitions, and Speakes said he thinks that will be a good thing for his players.
“For the first time in many years, we are not playing in a Thanksgiving tournament,” Speakes said. “We will practice instead. Offensively we are playing pretty well, it is defense and rebounding that need attention at this stage. Those will be focal points as we work towards getting better.”
Mansfield lost to Summit by a score of 87-73 last week and played Keller Central on Tuesday night after the press deadline.
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Speakes said that his team did some good things in the game, but added that there are a number of areas where his team still needs to improve.
“I feel like our guys competed and at times played some solid basketball,” Speakes said. “However, we shot ourselves in the foot too many times with turnovers, inconsistent defense, and a lack of rebounding. Against a good team like Summit, you can’t make the amount of mistakes like we did and expect to win.”
Speakes said that he did have one standout performance in the game that was expected and reassuring for him and the team.
“We were led by senior point guard Mo Handy, who scored 19 points,” Speakes said.
Handy is one of the players Speakes said he will rely on this season to provide leadership for the younger players.
Donald Whiteside scored 12 points in the game for the Tigers, and Garrett Shaw added 11 points.
Adam Hill and DeShon Scott scored 10 points apiece in the game and Andrew Thomas, Andrew Michalski and Landon Strawn combined for 11 points.
Speakes said that one of the reassuring things about his team is that players are starting to gel and develop better team chemistry, which is critical to Mansfield’s success this season.
“It is steadily improving,” Speakes said. “Guys are still learning to play with each other and settling into roles. It’s a process.”