KMC Crusade

Young team struggles in opener

Being+guarded+closely%2C+senior+Mitchell+Woodward+throws+a+pass+during+the+Heights+game+Dec.+1.+Woodward+led+KMC+with+12+points%2C+including+a+trio+of+three-pointers%2C+while+senior+Mark+Hutton+added+10.+The+Crusaders+lost+56-45.+
Being guarded closely, senior Mitchell Woodward throws a pass during the Heights game Dec. 1. Woodward led KMC with 12 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while senior Mark Hutton added 10. The Crusaders lost 56-45.

Being guarded closely, senior Mitchell Woodward throws a pass during the Heights game Dec. 1. Woodward led KMC with 12 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while senior Mark Hutton added 10. The Crusaders lost 56-45.

John Biehler

John Biehler

Being guarded closely, senior Mitchell Woodward throws a pass during the Heights game Dec. 1. Woodward led KMC with 12 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while senior Mark Hutton added 10. The Crusaders lost 56-45.

Kaegan Cowan, Sports Editor

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His team had just dropped its home opener to Wichita Heights by 11, 56-45. Yet, head coach John Cherne was not necessarily upset with his squad.

“The thing is, it’s a young team,” Cherne said. “We only played six people from a year ago. I played a freshman for the first time in about 8-9 years here.”

Indeed, the KMC boys basketball team showed its inexperience, struggling at times to keep up with Heights’ quickness and length up and down the court. But, Cherne said the team needs some games under its belt in order to improve. Senior Mitchell Woodward kept an optimistic outlook for his teammates.

“It’s just a matter of working out the kinks right now,” said Woodward, who led KMC with 12 points. “We’re young; we haven’t really played together. Two years ago, when we made a run at [the] state [championship], we started off 0-3, so it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We’ll figure it out. We have a lot to improve upon, and I think it’s only going to improve from here on out.”

Despite the result, the Crusaders gave serious effort, diving after loose balls and fighting taller Heights players for rebounds. Senior Keaton Eberhart even flew into his own bench attempting to save a ball from going out-of-bounds, knocking over assistant coach Will Hiebert. Junior Scott Valentas spoke about the team’s hustle.

“[The person who keeps pushing us] is the person next to us,” Valentas said. “It’s a slogan, ‘count on me,’ so you’ve got to count on yourself to help the person next to you.”

While it may have seemed like KMC was outmatched in terms of size and athleticism, the team had many chances to stay in the game. But, shots just did not fall on offense, as many attempts rattled around on the rim before missing. Though KMC was only down one point after the first quarter, they were outscored 12-3 in the second quarter. Cherne said the 11-point loss provided a spot from which to begin for the first-year players.

“There has to be a starting point, and I didn’t know what to expect [from the first-year guys], but now I know what to expect,” Cherne said. “Their effort was great. The speed of the game takes some adjustment, and they’ve got to adjust to it. The only way that happens is through experience.”

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Young team struggles in opener