Saints A Team Basketball Suffer First Loss of Season

          In the battle of two teams that share the same home basketball venue, our Salem A Team competed against Christ Lutheran of North St. Paul in an “away” game at our usual home court on Tuesday.
            Right from the outset, we knew we were in for a dogfight against the Cougars skilled guards. Unfortunately, the first half was an offensive struggle for our Saints. As we came out shooting ice cold, our Saints continued to settle for too many outside shots, instead of attacking the basket and creating opportunities in the lane. The Cougars did an excellent job of making us uncomfortable on offense by constantly switching up their defensive alignment. While the low scoring first half reflected our offensive inefficiency, it also demonstrated how great of a job we did on the defensive end, which enabled us to keep ourselves within striking distance going into halftime (halftime score: 8-14).
            As the second half unfolded, both the speed of the game and scoring began to pick up. A few more shots started to fall for our Saints, which empowered us to cut the Cougars lead down to just three points (24-27) with under five minutes left in the game. As we were forced to throw on the full court press, our Saints displayed incredible effort, racing around the court trying to create havoc and force turnovers. Unfortunately for our Saints, the Cougars outstanding guards did a stellar job of handling our pressure and creating opportunities at the rim. It was easy to tell that Christ Lutheran was an experienced team filled with many eighth graders. The Cougars responded to our final surge, putting on a run of their own in the waning minutes that put the final nail in the coffin (final score: 26-37).
            The discrepancy between the two teams at the free throw line was a huge difference in the game. Our Saints saw many free throws either hit the back iron or circle around the rim and out (free throws: 3/12, 25%). The Cougars iced the game away through a truly remarkable night at the line (free throws: 6/6, 100%).
            As we prepare for another solid opponent on Friday, Salem Greenfield, we have a lot to work on during Thursday’s vital practice. No matter the sport, facing adversity is a necessary component for any team seeking to achieve excellence. Our Saints certainly experienced a fair amount of adversity on Tuesday. How we respond to hardships is going to be one of the critical factors that will define our season.

By: Coach Travis Koester

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