The Yukon boy’s basketball team broke out of a losing streak Tuesday when they traveled to Westmoore.
They defeated the Jaguars 61-53 to win their first game since Jan. 23.
It was only their third victory since Jan. 11.
“We pretty much did what we needed to do the second half, but (in the) first half, we were sluggish. I don’t know if it was the afternoon start time or the weather and being out of school or what,” said Yukon coach Kevin Ritter. “So that’s the first time we’ve done that in a while. We’ve been getting out to a lead and then flip-flopping. So this game was the complete opposite.”
The Millers’ offense was near nonexistent in the first quarter. Westmoore held them to just 7 points.
Much of that was due to miscues and turnovers.
“First half, we struggled,” Ritter said. “We didn’t do a lot of things we should have. I think we had eight turnovers in the first quarter. We stopped them from scoring, the first four minutes. We didn’t score ourselves. So it was 0-0, three to four minutes into the game.”
Justus Resister, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, posted 6 points in the second to get the Millers moving. However, they still trailed 29-22 at halftime.
“Defensively, we at least got some stops. Offensively, we just didn’t do, we weren’t executing. We weren’t getting good shots,” Ritter said.
Things started to turn around for Yukon in the second half on both sides of the court. They outscored the Jaguars 19-10 in the third quarter alone.
“So that’s the first time we’ve done that in a while,” Ritter said. “You know how we’ve been. We’ve been getting out to a lead and then flip-flopping. So this game was the complete opposite. It started off slow and then played good the second half.”
Ritter was especially impressed with the team defense YHS came out of the locker room with to turn the game around.
“We talked about it at halftime. We felt like our effort on defense wasn’t very good,” Ritter said. “We talked about the defense’s attitude and effort. We didn’t feel like we were putting either one of those into it. So they came out, played a little bit harder, create some turnovers, did a couple of shots and things got going the right way.”
The Millers constant attacking of the boards and getting timely shots prevented Westmoore from making fourth quarter run.
“We finally stopped giving up offensive rebounds for them. That made a big difference,” Ritter said. “We’ve really struggled in that way. They were going to work on it today. We also hit some shots. Justice hit some shots in the third and fourth quarter. We had some 3s. They stopped hitting 3s. They hit six 3s in the first half. So the second half, they weren’t hitting some of the shots. They kind of allowed us to make a run offensively without them scoring. So it really wasn’t one thing. It was a combination of us getting some stops on in a row and then getting some good shots in the other end.”
Reister led Yukon with 25 points. That included 19 coming in the second half. Carson Lambakis posted 11 points.
Yukon (10-8) is on the road for their next three games. That includes traveling to No. 2 Southmoore Tuesday. The stretch could be good preparation for the Millers postseason aspirations.
“The road trips will be good for us because where we sit, we’re going to play on the road every playoff game,” Ritter said. “So the first game won’t be, it’ll be a neutral site game, like a tournament. But if we get lucky enough to win, it is a road game so it’d be good for us to learn what it takes to get on the bus, get off the bus, wait for a while, play our games. So the whole schedule of it will be good for us. And learning to play in front of other people’s crowds. It’d be a good experience for us. Hopefully learning how to win on the road will be a big part of that too.”