With the seconds ticking down on Tuesday night’s loss to visiting Skyline, Huron’s Arthur Caldwell stood up and went down the Huron bench slapping each of his teammate’s hands.
It was his way of saying this is a long season, one game does not define us and we will get better and show everyone that Huron basketball is special.
The River Rats just never seemed to get out of their own way on Tuesday night and lost out to not only experience but sheer talent. The Eagles are loaded and feature one of – if not the – best backcourts in the state and Jack Ammerman and Brandon Wade came to play. The two senior captains combined for 36 points and 12 assists in their 76-56 win over the younger River Rats.
One of many keys of the game was experience. The River Rats jumped out to a quick lead early in the game forcing Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace to call a time out. But there was no worry. Nothing to get overly concerned about. The ball was in good hands.
Ammerman started knocking down threes, Wade started doing his thing and the Eagles quickly recovered. And once they got on track there was no stopping them.
The lack of big-game experience showed up on the other side of the floor. When the River Rats fell behind, poise and confidence seemed to fall off as well. Huron started to go a little too much one-on-one and stopped moving the ball and running the offense. And that’s what inexperience does.
Skyline, on the other hand, kept playing hard. They made the extra pass to find the open man and did what experienced teams do.
“Our kids do a great job of being unselfish,” Lovelace said. “We have a lot of talent. We have three or four guys who could score 20, 25 points a game if they wanted to or if we need them to. All of these guys are really good friends, they get a long, they like each other. They are all about sharing the ball and making the right decision at the right time and I thought we did that very well (Tuesday).”
These teams will meet again. And don’t expect a 20-point lopsided game. Huron, led by an outstanding and experienced coaching staff, will make strides and get better with each game. They will learn. They will adjust. And they will point to the rematch with Skyline as a good measuring stick to how far they progress.
Of course, the same can be said about the Eagles. They are a team that wants to win in December and January and February – but everything they do is about winning Districts, Regionals and beyond. The talent, chemistry and drive all seem to be on board for Destination East Lansing and the Breslin Center.