HBS hoops

Ryne Gallacher / The Outlook Horseshoe Bend secured its first win of the 2020-21 basketball season on Friday night with a 42-33 win over Donoho.

After being down by 10 in the second quarter, the Horseshoe Bend boys basketball team completed a full team effort comeback to get its first win of the season and hopefully build confidence moving forward.

“I saw a will to win,” Horseshoe Bend coach Chad Kison said. “I saw a team that didn’t have that fight or want the last two games. (Friday) they showed up and said we’re gonna win this game. Even though we were down, they kept fighting the whole time and played good basketball.”

The Generals (1-2) were not supposed to play Donoho (0-2) on Friday, but with the craziness that has been 2020 and teams being forced to quarantine, an impromptu game between the Falcons and the Generals ensued.

Both teams were feeling each other out in the first quarter and saw Donoho take the slight edge going into the second quarter, leading 12-10. The start of the second quarter was all Donoho, which went up 22-12 over Horseshoe Bend before Kison called a timeout to calm his team down.

Following the timeout, the Generals fought their way back to cut the score to 23-20 at the half.

The third quarter saw Horseshoe Bend dominate, holding the Falcons to just three points. The fourth quarter consisted of strong rebounding off missed Falcon shots while getting good looks down low and shooting efficiently.

“Every year I saw we have to work on rebounding,” Kison said. “We need to get into people’s bodies more. The first half we were doing well but we got a little sloppy. But our press looked better (Friday night); we forced some turnovers that led to some points, so it was a nice turn.”

The Generals were more settled than their first two games with guys buying into their roles and trying to make play for one another.

“In practice we developed who we want where and at what time,” Kison said. “We want guys to know their job on the team and I think they started doing that a little more. It gave us cohesiveness and that’s why we won.”

Klark James was the leading scorer for Horseshoe Bend on Friday, finishing with 16 points and dropping dimes to teammates down low.

“All I’ve been preaching to him is, ‘You’ve got to be that guy,’” Kison said. “‘If it’s late, I need you up top handling the ball.’ He still has work to do and he knows it, but he’s young and working through it. He has gotten better each time we have played.”

Clutch free throws down the stretch from James and Cole Johnson sealed the deal for the Generals late in the ballgame. 

“We were better shooting free throws (Friday night) but still want to get better,” Kison said. “Free throws are just something we’ve got to have; we want to get more three-point plays and we can only do that by making our free throws.”

Kison was all smiles after the game, giving credit to his guys for playing complete basketball for four quarters.

“I was impressed overall by the team effort,” Kison said. “It wasn’t one guy scoring 100 points (Friday night); it wasn’t one guy just taking over and where we have to give him the ball. Everybody showed the role they wanted to play. We had buckets from guys who don’t always get to score sometimes and we had good ball handling and passing at times. As an overall team we showed up and played well together; it was nice.”

The Generals will not take the court again until Dec. 1 when they play B.B. Comer at home. But Kison said the Generals will continue to practice throughout the break to remain in shape before the meat of the schedule comes.

Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.