BLOOMDALE — Elmwood 6-foot-4 junior guard Kade Lentz scored all 10 of his team’s points in the first quarter as the Royals opened a 10-5 lead over Bowling Green Monday.
So, BG’s defense turned its focus on Lentz, and he did not score in the second quarter as the Bobcats forced six turnovers on their way to a 19-2 run, ultimately winning, 50-35.
“Cade Lentz is a good player,” BG coach Mason Roth said. “We had to make someone else beat us. He had 10 in the first quarter.
“We talked about going into a triangle and two or box and one. We didn’t go to it in the first quarter, and we switched to it, and it made a big adjustment.”
For BG, junior guard Jake Amspoker scored 14, senior Brock Hastings scored 11, and senior forward Evan Brandt had 10 points, four steals and seven rebounds.
Brandt already knew that the Royals, which had scored under 30 points in their first two games, were going to have to get physical to make it a contest.
“It was football, basically,” Brandt said. “I mean we expected them to be a physical team the whole game.
“We knew they were going to rebound, and they are just going to play physical, so we had to match that. We didn’t start that way, but we luckily picked it up and finished that way.”
Brandt even figured out that the best way for him to score was to just take the ball to the hoop.
“I haven’t been shooting it great recently, so you just got to see it go in the hoop and sometimes it makes you a better shooter,” Brandt said.
Roth added, “Evan’s a good player, he just hasn’t gotten going yet. Our expectations for Evan are high. We’ve got to get him there.
“I think a lot of it is getting him used to playing basketball again — he’s a football player, a lacrosse player, and basketball is the third one and we just need to get him up to speed. Once he’s up to speed, he’s good.”
BG improves to 3-3, but this is not the first time the Bobcats have gotten off to a slow start.
“We’ve been on a slow start for about a month now. I don’t know what’s going on, why we are not ready to go. We are just missing stuff at the rim — its easy stuff,” Roth said.
The Bobcats shot 32% (16-for-50) from the field, were 14-for-18 (78%) from the free throw line and finished with just eight turnovers to Elmwood’s 17. The Royals did win the rebounding battle, 38-32.
Senior forward Jabari Conway had eight points and two steals, junior guard Brayden Freyman scored five points, and junior guard Ahmir Ruffin added two points.
One of the smallest players on the floor, BG 5-7 starting point guard Grant Sonner, had eight rebounds, mostly by hustling down long caroms.
Lentz still finished with a game-high double-double 17 points and 13 rebounds, but coach Ty Traxler says his team needs to find more offense.
The Royals, after having their cage season start postponed by over two weeks because of the football team’s regional final playoff run, started out losing to two teams that are a combined 12-2 — Rossford (39-27) and Genoa (43-29).
“It’s been a challenging start to the season for sure,” Traxler said. “We must get better offensively. I mean, it’s obvious.”
Against BG, the Royals were 15-for-50 (30%) from the field. Traxler talks as if his team is dealing with similar issues as Roth’s team is.
“We got shots, we did not do a good job of finishing around the rim,” Traxler said. “We need to be able to make some of our outside shots to take pressure off some of our guys on the inside, and we’ve shown an inability to do that so far.”
The Royals did get seven players into the scoring column — a season high. Senior forward Zach May had six points, seven rebounds and two steals, and senior wings Tommy Curtis and Allen Sterling scored three points each.
Junior post Lucas Barringer, senior wing Hayden Wickard and senior guard Adam Meyer added two points each, but Wickard and Meyer fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Lentz also was taken out of the game because of an injury with 2:56 remaining but appears to be able to continue his season.
The Royals shot 100% from the free throw line, but that was on one attempt made by Lentz.
“The biggest thing for us we don’t get to the free throw line,” Traxler said. “The last two games, we’ve been outscored basically by the margin of victory at the free throw line.
“We only took one free throw tonight, so we have to do a better job of getting post touches, paint touches, and giving ourselves some easy ones to maybe help our offense get going.”
Plus, Traxler says the defense that kept the Royals in the game against the Bulldogs and Comets was exploited by the Bobcats, except BG did not shoot well, either.
“Defensively I felt as if we didn’t compete as well as did the first two games, but again we put so much pressure on our defense by not scoring, we have to do a better job of that,” Traxler said.