Puzzled faces lined the Yukon bench Tuesday night in the closing seconds of the Millers’ 77-52 home-opener loss to Norman North.
Some looked confused but coach Kevin Ritter was confident in his assessment of what went wrong.
“Bad coaching,” he said. “We didn’t have them prepared at all. It’s just bad coaching.”
Having a poor game plan was the long way of saying the Millers missed shots. At times, it seemed Yukon couldn’t buy a bucket anywhere on the floor.
Of their 51 shot attempts, just 17 found their way through the cylinder. The Millers weren’t jacking up errant three-point attempts either.
Forty of the 51 total attempts came from inside the arc, 13 were successful shots. Attempting most of their shots under bucket gave themselves several free throw opportunities, they couldn’t get those to fall either.
Yukon’s 14-for-28 performance from the charity stripe also harmed their offensive performance.
Had they made a few of the easy shots in the painted area early, it might have been a different story.
“I think so, early on,” Ritter said. “It was a close game and they blew it open when we couldn’t score. You’re not going to win many games when you can’t score and almost all of them were around the basket.”
Carson Price had little trouble getting his offensive game to flow.
The senior finished the game with a team high 18 points with four three pointers. The Millers will lean on him for success throughout the season.
“He’s definitely our guy, we’ve got to get to him,” Ritter said. “He was our leading scorer last year and he will probably be our leading scorer this year. When he struggles offensively, we’re going to struggle.”
Aside from the shooting woes, Yukon will need to make adjustments in other areas of their game as well. Their performance against the Timberwolves showed them what their emphasis needed to be in future practices.
“We’re going to try to work on the little things,” Ritter said. “We haven’t worked on the little things enough and we aren’t doing anything little. The hustle was alright, we just aren’t doing the little things like blocking out, making the extra pass, finishing at the basket.
“It’s little things like that we just have to get back in the gym and work on.”
The Millers needed to get better before they played their next opponent, and quickly.
Friday night, they traveled to No. 5-ranked Edmond Memorial for their first road game of the young season. After Tuesday night’s game Ritter expressed that his team needed to make a leap to be ready for that contest.
“Hopefully we’ll have a big jump,” he said. “Just like in football they say you make your biggest improvement from week one to week two. Hopefully by the next game some of these new guys can make a jump.
“It’s going to be tough because Memorial is number five, it’s not like we’re going to play somebody easier.”
The Millers hit the floor again Dec. 4 at Deer Creek High School.