Mired in a two-week long District 18-5A losing streak, missed layups and surrendered offensive rebounds tend to overshadow spurts of stellar defense and unstoppable drives to the hoop.
It’s a track stuck on repeat at Temple — a tiresome tune wearing out its welcome.
The Wildcats held leads Tuesday night against Bryan Rudder at the end of the first quarter and halftime, and a surge with less than 2 minutes to play, spurred by a press that enabled easy buckets, cut a 10-point deficit to four.
But after forcing a miss at the other end, Rudder forward Antonie Henderson cleaned up under the hoop and his putback upped the Rangers’ lead to six as time dipped to less than 30 seconds. Another layup was all Temple could muster the rest of the way, and the Rangers sent the Wildcats to a 72-68 loss at Wildcat Gym.
“We’ve had this conversation way too much. Close games, we played with a lot of effort and energy that I liked,” Temple coach Quinton Gibson said. “It’s just the little things that shot us in the foot.”
It was a far cry from the 84-44 thumping Temple took at Rudder on Dec. 16. It stung nonetheless and perhaps was all the more frustrating as the Wildcats (11-18, 1-6) have lost five straight league games and six overall, including four at home during that span, and their playoff hopes dangle by the thinnest of threads with five games remaining.
Ashton Logan – 16, Ethan Mitchell – 13, Wesley Shepperd – 9, Arius Brown – 7, Clarence Sanders – 6, Sabian Hill – 5, Jashawn Darden – 5, Dale McNary – 4, Kenzell Williams – 2