Kettle Run opens boys basketball season with loss to Culpeper
Kettle Run coach Troy Washington expected guard play to be a strength of his team this season.
That group of guys struggled mightily Friday during Kettle Run's first game.
The Cougars turned the ball over 33 times against the Culpeper Blue Devils and lost, 81-73, on the road.
"The pressure got to us," Cougars point guard Travis Williams said of Culpeper's 2-2-1 full-court press. "They're really quick, and they were athletic, but it's really on us. We've just got to settle down. … We just need to be patient."
The Cougars expect that sloppy performance to be an anomaly months from now when they look back at their season. For now, it's the standard, and a pretty low one.
"There's definitely stuff we need to fix. We know that," Williams said. But "we're still not 100 percent. We don't have everybody yet."
Kettle Run hopes the addition of football players De Jackson and Steven Gaskins will help them improve. That duo is still recovering from a football season that extended into December because of the Cougars' appearance in the Group AA Division 3 state semifinals.
On Friday, after playing to a tie at the end of the first (19-all) and second quarters (37-all), the Blue Devils blew open the game in the third quarter. They outscored Kettle Run, 31-11.
"If we didn't have that lapse in the third quarter, I think we should have won that game," Kettle Run guard Brendan DeLiee said.
The Cougars had 15 turnovers in that period.
"The third quarter absolutely ruined us," Williams said.
Culpeper's Henry Butler and Nik Stewart finished with six steals each, which helped them score 15 and 18 points.
Kettle Run fixed its turnover problem in the fourth quarter despite the continued press of Culpeper. The Cougars committed only three turnovers in the final period and went on a 22-8 run that narrowed the Blue Devils' lead to 76-70 with 49.1 second remaining. Culpeper closed out the game, though.
Rebounding was another issue for an undersized Cougars team that started four guards, especially on the defensive end. The Blue Devils weren't significantly taller, but they leapt well and out-rebounded Kettle Run, 41-31, with 22 offensive boards that often led directly to second-chance points.
"We did a terrible job boxing out. Just terrible," Williams said. "It's inexcusable. We can't let that happen."
Anthony Banks led Culpeper with 17 rebounds, 13 of which came on the offensive end. He finished with a game-high 22 points.
"We're not the biggest, but we've got tough guards," DeLiee said. "We can battle on the boards. We missed a couple box outs tonight, but it's not something I'm worried about."
DeLiee scored 18 points for Kettle Run, while Liberty-transfer Rashawn Latimer led the Cougars with 19 and Danny Mattson and Eddie Benton scored eight each. Williams had a team-high five steals and five assists, while Latimer had four steals and three assists.
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