Robbie Davis, seen in a file photo from last year, scored 10 points in Anderson’s 72-37 win Thursday over Live Oak at the Anderson Tournament. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)
Coaches want their teams playing the best ball in late February and into March.
On Thursday, the Anderson Cubs boys basketball team looked, at times, in mid-season form against Live Oak in a 72-37 win in the opening round of the Cubs’ own tournament.
Big Blue used a smothering pressure defense and press, a rotation of eight guys who scored in the first half and an opportunistic offense to easily win the tourney opener. Only a brief stint of hot shooting from the Lions kept the first half from being a runaway.
Aaron Dagnue’s jumper gave Anderson an 11-8 lead midway through the opening eight minutes and Jesse Brophy added to that with a swipe and bucket on the other end. An Ashdeep Kullar trey pulled Live Oak to within two at 12-11, but that’s as close as the Lions would get the rest of the night.
“We’re trying to build up to that,” Cubs coach Mark Brown said of building up to late-season levels. “We went a little full-court man today with rotation and they’re starting get it and rotate. We’ve been working hard on on-ball and man defense.”
Anderson went on a 10-0 run to close the period as Gator Wilson and Carter Shaw earned canned triples and Cody Hooper hit back-to-back buckets to end the period with Big Blue leading 23-11.
After the Cubs outscored the Lions 16-11 in the second period, Anderson took the 39-22 lead into intermission as Christian Teague, Robbie Davis, Jack Ryan, Hooper, Brophy, Dagnue, Wilson and Shaw all found their way into the scorebook in the opening half.
A lot of times, the offense was created on the defensive end as Anderson forced 13 turnovers in the first half. One led to a breakaway Davis flush that got the bench up.
“We always try to force teams out of their comfort zone, either in half-court or full-court,” Brown said.
After the half, the Cubs continued their pressure on Live Oak, holding the Lions without a bucket until the 4:30 mark of the third period and limiting the visitors to four points in the period.
“We do have a bit of a bench where we can rotate and still keep the speed up,” Brown said. “We’ve got some guys on the bench who we feel can come in and give us the breaks we need.”
The key, the coach said, is making the guys coming off the bench buy in as much as the five on the floor.
“In the past games, we haven’t quite had that,” the coach said. “There’s been a little moping and when they get on the court, they play like it. But we’ve been working on bonding as a team – team first. Get after it and have a lot of heart.”
On Thursday, the starting five and the eight others who logged minutes kept up that intensity for 32 minutes.
Anderson awaits the winner of Thursday’s late game featuring Trinity and Orland.
On the other side of the bracket, West Valley and Central Valley meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
The Falcons got an overtime win over Del Norte as Dojah Alido iced the game with free throws in the bonus period.
Live Oak – 11, 11, 4, 11 – 37
Anderson – 23, 16, 19, 14 – 73
Live Oak – Topete 2, A Kullar 3, Grewel 5, Miner 5, D. Kullar 9, Salazar 13.
Anderson – Dagnue 2, Martinez 3, D. Wilson 4, Ryan 4, Shaw 5, G. Wilson 6, Brophy 8, Davis 10, Teague 15, Hooper 15.
3-pointers: Live Oak – 6: Grewel, D. Kullar, Miner, A. Kullar (3). Anderson – 4: Brophy, Martinez, Teague, Shaw.
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