LAUREL HILL — Simply put, sometimes the shots just don’t fall. Monday was one of those nights for the Laurel Hill boys basketball team as the Hoboes hosted Jay.
Laurel Hill missed jump shots, lay ups and, yes, free throws.
All of the misses led up to a loss as the Royals beat the Hoboes 54-37.
The Laurel Hill shooting struggles are becoming all too familiar to coach Kent Zessin. Rather than passing the blame to his players, Zessin takes responsibility for the poor performance of his team.
“Mentally we weren’t just focused on this one,” he said. “Jay came out ready to play. And I think a lot of it is my fault.
“We had a game plan in and we didn’t do a good job executing that plan. We are just struggling shooting the ball right now.”
The poor shooting by the Hoboes was compounded by numerous turnovers that led to easy Royal baskets as Jay jumped took the lead a 4-2 and never looked back.
Max Smith gave the Hoboes a quick 2-0 lead off the opening tip. The Royals tied the game on a Marshal Thomas score that started a 13-0 Jay run.
Lane Strickland scored for Laurel Hill (2-4) to stop the Jay run/ The teams traded baskets throughout the remainder of the first quarter, but the Hoboes were unable to cut into the Royal lead as the turnovers and poor shooting plagued Laurel Hill.
“We are having way too many turnovers,” Zessin said. “Our turnover ratio is way too high. We’ve got to cut those down.”
Jay led 33-18 at the half and seemingly had the game well in control.
The Hoboes came out strong in the third quarter scoring six quick points to shave the Royal lead to 33-24. Smith sparked the rally with a pair of baskets around a score by Tanner McQuaig.
Smith’s second basket came with 5:52 left in the third quarter and it was another four-and-a-half minutes before Laurel Hill scored again. By the time Josh Phillips scored a Hobo basket with 1:28 left in the period the Royals were up 41-26.
Laurel Hill never got any closer to the Royals than 13 points when Tamaria Calloway scored with 1:53 left in the game.
Calloway led the Hoboes in scoring with 10 points. Smith added eight points and Strickland six points.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524