Sometimes in sports it’s not how a team starts, but instead, how it finishes.
And although McKinney North defeated Greenville 91-72 at McKinney North Friday to remain undefeated in 13-4A action, the final few minutes of the ball game did not sit well with North head coach Darryll Craft.
Craft said he was “disappointed” with how his team played in the fourth quarter, as they were outscored 27-20 in the frame. Greenville (10-5, 2-1) outscored North 47-40 in the second half.
“I didn’t like the way we finished the game,” he said.
Craft could be heard instructing his team to “run an offense” during the final few minutes of the game. He said following the game that North’s big lead, which at one time ballooned to 30 points, caused some of his players to get outside the play set.
“When you have that big of a lead, what’s human nature, especially for young kids, is that we don’t have to do everything we’re coached to do because we’re not going to lose this game,” Craft said.
He continue by saying while he gives all his players the green light to shoot on offense, everyone will get their shots when the offense is run and the ball is shared.
“Trust your teammates. Share the ball. Good things will happen. My shots will come,” Craft said.
North ran its offense with precision and great timing early in the game as they stormed out to a 29-13 after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs (13-5, 3-0) would outscore the Lions 21-15 in the second quarter to take a 51-28 lead into the locker room.
Senior Jola Otubu led North with 20 points while sharp-shooting senior Collin Curran tallied 18 points. Senior Jullian Pearre recorded 7 points and Steele Douglas contributed 8 points.
Friday was North’s first game since Dec. 28 when they finished play at the Dallas ISD Coca-Cola Tournament, which Craft said was a good learning ground for his team.
He said the tournament gave North the chance to see five different teams and five different playing styles, with styles ranging from fast-paced to slow, methodical basketball.
During the tournament, the Bulldogs played Dallas Madison – the No. 3 4A-team in Texas – even for three quarters before Madison ran away with the game late.
Seeing several different styles, Craft said, was good to prepare North for district play and what lies ahead in a possible playoff run.
“I think that’s good for us, because when you get into district play and hopefully if you’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs, you’re going to see different brands of basketball and we’ve got to be able to adjust to those different brands of basketball,” he said.
The Bulldogs will host Wylie East (3-10, 2-1) on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Photos by TSB’s Sawyer Erickson