The old saying is “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
On Friday night at DeSoto, the young St. Pius X Lancers found out the meaning of that expression first-hand as they dropped their matchup with the Dragons 58-47.
Despite the efforts in practice leading up to the matchup to correct errors, St. Pius X fell victim to the same pitfalls and mistakes that plagued them against Affton earlier in the week. Lancers Head Coach, Chris Miller, felt like a broken record when looking back on this game.
“We have to learn that teams are going to make runs against you,” said Miller. “As I’ve told the boys, our response to the run dictates a great deal to the outcome of the game. We were extremely undisciplined on offense tonight and let them dictate tempo, and that affected our decision-making and shot selection. We seemed like we were in a hurry to shoot the ball so they could get it back. Time of possession is important in basketball.”
The Lancers jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Dragons, but DeSoto’s full-court man press sped up the decisions of St. Pius X, as quick shots turned into transition opportunities for the Dragons. The Lancers went just 5-for-14 (35.7%) from the field in the quarter. To add to their problems, Lancers’ leading scorer, Junior John Whitman, picked up his second foul early in the quarter on a charge, and had to sit the rest of the quarter. Despite the early lead, the Lancers found themselves clinging to a 13-12 advantage at the end of the first.
The Lancers’ second-quarter offense was stymied by the Dragons, as they were forced into six turnovers and only shot 1-of-4 from the field in the frame, on a bucket from Sophomore Brennan Ervin. Whitman also picked up his third foul midway through the quarter on another charge, adding more woes to the struggling Lancer offense. DeSoto took the opportunities given to them and outscored St. Pius X 16-4 in the quarter to go into halftime with a 28-17 lead.
The third quarter featured both teams struggling to score as the Lancers 27% from the field and the Dragons 26% didn’t inspire any highlight film. St. Pius X could not capitalize offensively in the frame as they only cut two points from the Dragons’ lead after three quarters, and trailed 37-26.
Both offenses tallied points in the final quarter, starting with the Lancers. Powered by a 12-point fourth quarter from Junior Patrick Flanagan, St. Pius X was able to cut the DeSoto lead to three and trailed just 49-46. While the offense was clicking finally for St. Pius X, their struggling defense failed to keep DeSoto off the board during the quarter.
With several key players in foul trouble, the Lancer defense failed to force turnovers and gave up transition points and points in the paint to the Dragons in the frame. St Pius X forced DeSoto to beat them from the free throw line and began fouling to stop the clock. Despite poor shooting from the line (9-19) in the fourth quarter, DeSoto was able to stop the Lancers offense down the stretch, finishing the game on a 9-1 run, and sealing their victory with a score of 58-47.
“We are struggling as a team because we are individually trying to do too much too quickly,” said Coach Miller. “When we learn to trust each other, trust the offense, and be disciplined, we will see outcomes that are in our favor. Right now, it’s about learning.”
The notable standout on offense were Flanagan, with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and Jonas Andrews, who was able to amass 12 points.
St. Pius X fell to 2-4 on the season after the loss, and it won’t get any easier any time soon. In their next tilt, the Lancers will take on the two-time defending Class 1 State Champion South Iron Panthers on Saturday, December 17th, at Mineral Area College.
Game time is 3:00 p.m.