With all five starters returning from last season, Cardinal’s boys’ basketball team opened the 2017-2018 season with high hopes and nothing has changed despite the Huskies dropping their first two games of the year.
The Huskies opened the season with a 69-55 loss at Crestwood on Dec. 1 and dropped to 0-2 following Saturday’s 70-51 loss at Lakeside. Cardinal was outscored 43-24 in the second half against the Dragons.
“I don’t want to say I’m frustrated but I was hoping for a little better start than what we’ve had,” said Cardinal coach Jon Cummins. “We played pretty well on Saturday in the first half, it was 27-27 at halftime, but we came out a little flat in the second half. I’ll take it upon myself that maybe they just weren’t ready to come out with some enthusiasm and ready to go in the second half. We were down by 10 at the end of the third quarter.”
Whatever the cause, Cardinal has struggled to find consistency in the second half of games in the early part of the season.
“We were turning the ball over in the half court,” Cummins said. “We did pretty well in the first half against (Lakeside’s) full-court pressure. We were able to break the press and get easy options. We just didn’t play as well as I hoped we would in the second half. Again, I’ll take that upon myself that we need to make some adjustments and corrections going into halftime to come out ready to play in the first five minutes of the second half.”
Robbie Mulh leads the Huskies with an 11 points per game average while Matt Carney and Hayden Cummins both score eight points per contest.
Cummins leads the team with nine rebounds and three steals per game and Mulh and Cummins both have blocked three shots.
“We’re playing pretty well as a team, but it’s in spurts and it needs to be for a full game,” Coach Cummins said. “We don’t seem to be able to sustain those team plays for the whole 32 minutes. We look good for five or six minutes in spurts and then we have little lapses for a few minutes and that tends to be the 5-0 runs or 6-0 runs that teams get on. If that happens a couple times in a game, the next thing you know is we’re down by 10 points.”
Things don’t get easier for the Huskies as they host defending Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division champion Hawken on Tuesday then travel to Independence on Friday.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back on the court,” Cummins said. “We played our first game a week ago Friday and then we played Saturday. That was a big break to start the season off after practicing for seven or eight weeks and only playing two games. It’s tough to refocus and that’s my job to go into practice and get back to the basics and to be ready.”