The Whale Branch boys basketball team's season ended Saturday with a 64-54 loss to Lewisville in the Class 1-A boys basketball championship at Colonial Life Arena. Here is some of what the coaches had to say:
Whale Branch coach Linc Lyles:
(On Lewisville's runs)
That's how we play, that's how we like to play. Once they did it twice, we started charging back, we just didn't make shots. They made some plays. They got stops and baskets, and we were in the right position to make plays, we just missed a lot of easy shots. I thought until it got above 10, even when it was back and forth at four and five and six and three, we were right there. we've been in those games too many times and fought back. That was definitely the difference in the game. They were in attack mode. Somebody said something about we had control of the game at the half. We never had control of the game. Even at half, we had guys with fouls and...Hindsight is 20-20, I wish we could have played like that the entire game, but guys with fatigue...It's been a long season. I just can't say enoguh. I'm so proud of my guys for just overcoming adversity all year.
(On fatigue in the second half)
For the first time all year, maybe the fatigue did set in. I tried to rotate to the best of my ability. I didn't do any different rotating, but usually guys make plays. What ever you're doing, you can disrupt chemistry. For us, we practice it so much by bringing fresh bodies in, but it's predicated on finish plays. You saw us missing free throws, and you saw us missing stick backs around the basket. And those are usually plays that we make.
(On Lions' pressure to start the second half)
It was the difference in the game, maybe the first four minutes (of the second half). And they were gambling.
And they didn't start the game like that, give them credit. If you start the game like that, maybe we have time to adjust. We knew it was coming, we knew the traps were coming. We tried to trap back. We just didn't get to the spots and rotate like we needed to do. And they got, for the first time all year-- how many teams have gotten that many easy layups? We're in the state championship. That's what teams are supposed to do when you get pressed. That's what we've always done. Teams press us, and we just attack the press and get layups. We just couldn't do it today.
(On roles reversed)
We talked about that. We've been where they are all year. It kind of got reversed today. Here's my thing. My seniors, they've had successful careers. They're going to move on. Many will go to college and maybe not play sports. I told Dee -- his career is just starting. He's got a full ride to The Citadel to play football. And then the young guys, I said hey, we'll talk about basketball (later). We've got plenty of time to talk about basketball. I want them to reflect on everything that happened prior to today. That's going to take some time. They're going to think about today for weeks. And they're not going to remember the things they did to get here. To get this far, kids don't want to hear that now, but it took an awful lot of skill and hard work and determnination by these kids. And we had to overcome a lot of adversity. Hopefully when the hurt wears off a little bit, they will remember the things that got us here.
Lewisville coach Larry Davis:
(On first-half jitters)
Typically that happens with kids that haven't played on the big stage. Emotions get involved. You really want to step on the pedal when you first get out there. Our kids did a good job trying to get the shot we wanted in the second half instead of the shot Whale Branch wanted us to take. That's what's so important. We turned them over them a lot. We turned them over a lot in the first half. In the third quarter, we were able to turn them over, but capitalize. That's when you see the score start to get some distance.
(On second-half defense)
We were getting to those spots, those obvious spots we knew they had to go to when they go under pressure. We were a step late in the first half getting there. In the second half, it seemed like we got a boost of energy. I told the guys we were not getting to the spots we were supposed to get. Basically, we wasn't moving when the ball moved. When we started doing that, the ball ended up in our hands. Whale Branch, we watched them on film, we had a chance to see them on two or three occassions. I knew they were susceptible to pressure. They got really good guards, but I knew through the course of watching them play, that pressure bothered them. We wanted to get out and wanted to continue to apply pressure through 32 minutes, wear those guys down as we have all year and hopefully have a chance to widen the lead or get a lead.