- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It took two minutes, but on Sunday afternoon, the St. Mary’s Ryken Knights boys basketball team was down 8-0 at home to the Good Counsel Falcons, forcing a Ryken timeout from head coach Dave Tallman to open the game.
From that point on, the Knights were on the uphill climb to get back into the game and win its first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game of the season.
However, that eight-point lead grew to 15 at halftime and to as much as 16 early in the fourth quarter and the quest for a conference win came up short with Good Counsel earning a 67-55 victory.
“We didn’t have it,” Tallman said of energy. “I questioned our guys’ toughness and will to win and we didn’t come out prepared and you can’t do that in this league.”
Good Counsel guard Byron Hawkins scored the game’s first five points in building that quick 8-0 lead and led the Falcons with 17 points for a team-high.
Falcons head coach Blair Mills was happy with his team’s energy level coming out of the gate and throughout the victory on Sunday.
“We played with a little energy tonight,” Mills said. “We have a stretch where we have game, practice, game, practice over the last week or so. It’s just trying to focus on keeping our legs fresh and not going as long in practices. It’s kind of paying off in games.”
The Falcons improved to 7-10 overall and 2-5 in WCAC play and it has been younger players assisting three seniors on the squad in helping the Falcons win.
“We have a lot of good, young kids in the mix on varsity for us,” Mills said. “The young guys are coming along a little bit and have been thrown into the fire over the last few games. ... In this league, you’ll always take a win, no matter the margin, no matter where, when, how, you’ll take it. It’s a brutal league and it was good to have some young guys step up.”
A quick Good Counsel score to start the third quarter put Ryken down 17 at 40-23, but Ryken responded with a 7-0 run that cut the lead to 10, forcing a Good Counsel timeout and putting Ryken back to within striking distance.
Ryken managed to cut that down to eight later in the quarter at 42-34 on a Jordan Oakley basket, but the Falcons lead soared to 13 to end the third and eventually 16 early in the fourth.
“Yeah, but we need that for 32 minutes,” Tallman said of his the third-quarter efforts. “We have done that the last three games where we played hard for two or three quarters, but it is a 32-minute game. For whatever reason, we don’t have the mental capacity to be mentally tough enough to play for 32 minute right now. We just have to keep plugging away and try to get tougher.”
Oakley led Ryken with a game-high 25 points, while Stan Kaya added 19.
“It takes five guys,” Tallman said. “One or two is not going to do it.”
With Ryken now at 8-9 overall and winless in the conference at 0-8, Tallman knows what it will take for the Knights to turn things around
“Guys are going to have to start buying in and it’s going to have to start meaning something to them,” Tallman said. “Right now, they are playing like it doesn’t mean anything to them. ... They have to find something inside that makes them tick and they have to have the will to win.”