COLDWATER — New Knoxville spotted Coldwater a big lead in the first quarter and fell short in a second-half comeback attempt in a 47-43 loss to the Cavaliers on Friday night at The Palace.
“Coldwater came ready to play and for whatever reason tonight we didn’t,” New Knoxville head coach Kort Fledderjohann said.
A home Midwest Athletic Conference win was just what Coldwater needed after a past month of offensive woes and losses quickly piling up. Coldwater came into the night having lost five of its last six games and its last three Midwest Athletic Conference game.
The first eight minutes of the game could’ve fooled anyone as to those struggles with its first quarter on Friday, as Coldwater opened up a 15-3 lead to start the game.
“Confidence means a lot,” Coldwater head coach Mike Bruns said. “If you can get it early, it carries through the game.”
Coldwater buried eight of its first 12 shots attempted.
“We weren’t aggressive,” Fledderjohann said. “We were slow rotating and Coldwater did a good job of taking advantage of that.”
On the other end of the floor, the Cavaliers baffled the New Knoxville offense with a 3-2 defense featuring 6-foot-4 Austin Bruns at the top of it.
“That was the one thing I was scared of coming in was their size,” Fledderjohann said. “They go 6-4, 6-4, 6-5 across the back line and they spread it out well and did a good job taking the passing lanes away in the middle In the first half, we didn’t handle it well.”
New Knoxville hoisted up 26 three-point attempts in the game — double the amount of shots it took from inside the arc on the night.
New Knoxville dropped to 2-5 on the road — a far cry from the 5-3 mark it has at home and the flawless performance the team gave on Tuesday night in a double-digit MAC win over Marion Local.
Fledderjohann said his team’s road struggles aren’t all about experience any more.
“We’re reaching that part of the season where everyone is a year older than it says on the roster, and we just have to find a way to create some intensity at the start of a game,” Fledderjohann said.
New Knoxville failed to make up ground on the charity stripe. New Knoxville went 4-of-12 from the free throw line on Friday night.
Coldwater committed seven turnovers for the game.
“That was good to see because it’s been an issue for us all season,” Bruns said. “We had confidence with the ball.”
The Rangers host Lima Temple Christian tonight at 6:30 p.m. and then host Minster next Friday night at 6:30 p.m.