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Youthful mistakes sink Shorewood boys

Greyhounds drop opening two games as lack of experience takes a toll

Dec. 6, 2009

Shorewood — The Greyhounds varsity boys basketball team got off to a hot start Friday night, jumping out to an early 9-3 lead. But when the South Milwaukee Rockets began to run an effective full-court press, the young Greyhounds were unable to respond, losing their Woodland Conference opener at home, 75-68.

With a starting backcourt consisting of a freshman and a sophomore, Shorewood was unable to advance the ball past half court on many possessions, allowing South Milwaukee to score 23 second quarter points to claim a two-point halftime lead.

"I thought offensively we let their press disrupt us where it shouldn't have," coach John Hoch said. "A little bit of that I'll attribute to youth, but we've got to grow up in a hurry here if we want to start to be successful. We've got a lot of young guys who were playing middle school ball a year ago at this time. It's a different game out there. We're learning from this."

The defeat followed a 69-55 loss to Watertown in the opener Dec. 1, as the host Goslings turned a tie game in the third quarter into a relatively easy win. The Greyhounds will host Whitnall at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Frosh guard plays well early

One of those young players Hoch will rely on is freshman Austin Malone-Mitchell, who, early in the South Milwaukee game, was penetrating to the basket and creating open looks for teammates or drawing fouls. But as the game wore on, the Greyhounds began settling for jump shots and getting away from what worked.

"They sagged a little bit defensively, so we didn't have patience," Hoch said. "So if we didn't have the first drive, we settled for a jump shot."

Malone-Mitchell finished with 13 points and one eye-catching play in the second quarter when he drove to the hoop and delivered a swift around-the-back no-look pass to sophomore Deion Jackson-Body, who connected on the open three-point shot.

"He's a very talented player and he has confidence in himself," Hoch said of his freshman guard. "… He's got a chance to be a special player."

Entering the third quarter down by two, Shorewood rolled off a quick 7-1 run to re-claim a four-point lead. The Rockets responded, finishing the quarter on a 20-8 run to take an eight-point lead into the fourth.

"High school basketball has intensity for 32 minutes," Hoch said, "and we're going to need to learn to play for those full 32 minutes and not take series off."

Senior Chase Miller scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter.

After trailing at halftime by six against Watertown, the Greyhounds started the second half on a 6-0 run behind three-point shots by Malone-Mitchell and Miller, tying the game at 43. But Watertown responded, closing out the third quarter on a 17-6 run and never allowing Shorewood back within striking distance.

"They're an experienced veteran team, and it didn't rattle them at all, and they came back," Hoch said after the game. "I think that speaks a little bit to our youth."

Future looks bright

Miller, a 6-6 guard/forward, scored 14 points for the Greyhounds, but it was the performances by a freshmen and a sophomore that gave Shorewood a look at a possibly very bright future.

Jackson-Body led the team with 18 points.

Malone-Mitchell finished with 16 points in his first-ever high school basketball game, 12 of which came in the first half. He left the game with leg cramps in the second half.

"The future looks bright, but we want to be successful now," Hoch said. "I think it's a work in progress, but I think we're going to be darn tough to beat come January and February." Senior guard Erik Berg was also praised for his work.

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