Turnovers were a thorn in the side of the Mingus Union High School boys basketball team in a 69-51 loss to Dysart High School in the season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
Stretches of turnovers proved key at multiple times in the game, and the relatively inexperienced Marauders [0-1] struggled to find a go-to player down the stretch.
“Too many turnovers, I don’t think it was a secret. We literally did not look like we wanted the basketball in our hands,” Marauders head coach Dave Beery said. “We tried to make adjustments at halftime and we just didn’t do a real good job of executing.”
Tied at eight in the early going, Dysart senior guard Charles Proby hit a three-pointer to start a 10-2 run.
After five straight turnovers, Proby hit another shot from distance to make it 16-8 with 1:50 left in the quarter. Mingus junior guard Chase Saczalski ended the run with a transition layup before hitting a three of his own, pulling the deficit to 18-13 at the quarter’s end.
Marauders senior guard Bryce Cramer scored to opened the second. Then the Demons’ full-court press began to rush the Mingus ball handlers, especially after they scored. Having played Dysart in last year’s opener, the Marauders had prepared for its energetic, athletic players and press.
“We just didn’t have guys that were assertive; I felt like our guys were running away from the ball, that’s kind of what we told them at halftime,” Beery said. “We’ve got five guys who don’t want the ball in their hands and we needed a guy who would step up and be assertive.”
Five points off two straight turnovers gave Dysart a 25-15 lead, and the Marauders would never get closer than eight points from tying it up. That came when senior forward Martin Soria hit a free throw with :55 left in the first half to make it 30-22, but Dysart scored four more points to take a 32-23 lead into the locker room.
Marauders junior guard Chaz Taylor also scored a free throw to open the third frame, Saczalski scored in transition, Taylor hit a three-pointer, Soria put away a putback and senior forward Alex Figy got on the board. But in the meanwhile, the Demons earned three and-1 opportunities, although missing the free throws on two of them, and scored two threes to open a 47-31 lead.
Finishing was a problem area for Mingus. Making just one of two free throws and missing shots during key stretches allowed Dysart to increase its lead.
“We had a lot of possessions where I felt like if we made the extra pass, which we always talk about and preach every day, we would’ve had a better shot,” Beery said. “Maybe just because we weren’t scoring or didn’t get the ball past halfcourt, it kind of got guys to not be selfish, but decided try to take it upon themselves to bring us back in the game.”
The scoring, and turnovers, settled through the rest of the third, but Mingus had to dig out of a 54-39 hole with eight minutes remaining.
It did break off a 7-0 run to make it 63-49, but with just over two minutes left.
“The one thing I’ll give the guys credit for is they kept playing hard, they kept believing but they didn’t make the right plays to get back in the game or give themselves a chance,” Beery said.
The Marauders traveled to Cactus High School on Tuesday, Nov. 28, but results were unavailable at press time. They next play is in the Red Rock Hoops Classic on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2, at Sedona Red Rock High School.