Yesterday, Jan. 8, the Manual boys’ basketball team hosted the Central Yellow Jackets for the Crimson’s third home game of the season. Central was a tough match up for Manual due to their speed and aggressiveness, however, Manual bested the yellow jackets by a score of 74-60. With last nights victory, the boys basketball team is now about halfway through their season. That being said, it’s time for a mid-season analysis of what the crimsons have been doing right and wrong. I will go in depth to the high points of their performance, as well as provide insight as to why they may be lacking in other areas of their game.
With six of Manual’s basketball players being over six feet tall, they usually have the height advantage over most of their opponents. This is both good and bad for Manual. It is a plus in the sense that they typically dominate on the boards, out rebounding the majority of their opponents this year, both offensively and defensively. These extra rebounds result in easy put backs down low and fast break opportunities for the Manual guards. On the other end of the spectrum, the height they have over their opponents results in a lack of quickness. It’s difficult for big men to keep up with quick guards. High energy defenders with quick hands are tough to get around for big men that aren’t as fast as the guards. This forces more turnovers than the Crimsons would like. One way Manual can beat these faster teams is by setting lots of off-ball picks which would free up their big players.
Another aspect of Manual’s game that has lead to a lot of success for them is their press. For those of you who don’t know, a press is where the defenders guard the offensive team when they’re throwing the ball in on the opposite side of the court. The offense only has ten seconds to get the ball over the half court line. Manual enforces the press very well, which puts a lot of pressure on the opponents to avoid a half court violation. The press accomplishes two things; forces turnovers and tires the opponent. It takes a lot of energy to quickly get the ball down the court play after play. These worn out opponents then get lazy and it results a forced turnover by Manual.
On the other end, Manual has been giving up quite a few turnovers thus far this year. A fair portion of these turnovers are being forced when the crimsons get pressed. Too many times they will get flustered by the pressure and make ill advised passes that end up getting stolen by defenders. This relates back to the point I made about the size of Manual’s team. Having a lot of big players means that you lack guards that can handle the ball. It’s more difficult to bring the ball up the court when you have pressure on you without many other players that can safely dribble the ball.
Lastly, this season Manual has been doing a great job of making easy shots in the paint and reducing the amount of missed shots. A high shooting percentage means less opportunities for the opponent to score on a fast break. It’s hard to defeat a team as efficient as Manual, seeing as they miss far fewer shots than their opponents. Manual only had four three-point attempts in their game yesterday against Central. That means just about all of their 74 points came from inside the paint with high percentage shots.
Look to see if Manual continues their press and high percentage shots when it comes to be state tournament time. Also stay tuned to see if they make any adjustments with regards to the difficulties they have been having thus far. The next game for the Crimsons is on tomorrow, Jan. 10.