DeKALB – By watching just the first two minutes of each half in DeKalb’s boys basketball game against Chicago Thornridge on Thursday, any spectator can see how dangerous a team the Barbs could be.
Crisp ball movement, a controlled game tempo and a dangerous inside-out game led to a quick 10-2 lead for the Barbs early in the first quarter.
But too often the Barbs’ deliberate execution turned into hasty decision-making and turnovers. Despite shooting 50 percent from the field, DeKalb fell to Thornridge, 66-64, at the Chuck Dayton Tournament on Thursday. The Barbs committed 21 turnovers in the loss.
“Consistency is the key,” senior forward Jake Carpenter said. “Coach put it really well, he said we’re not putting four quarters together. The second quarter today we let them get a lead on us.
“We play a good quarter and a bad quarter and you can’t do that in basketball.”
DeKalb (2-11) has struggled to play that “full game” for most of the season and the same issues arose Thursday. In the aforementioned second quarter, DeKalb committed nine turnovers, often leading to easy breakouts for Thornridge, which capitalized in transition.
“We turned the ball over 21 times tonight and we’re averaging 20-plus turnovers a game,” DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman said. “Part of that is we have young guys handling the basketball and part of that is trying to play too fast, that’s not our game. Some of that is experience, it’ll come.”
Yet Rohlman noted an improvement in the team’s mentality over the past week as players haven’t been dwelling on past mistakes. It was evident Thursday as the Barbs quickly erased a nine-point halftime deficit within the first few minutes of the third quarter.
“When we ran our sets, relaxed and moved the basketball, we don’t turn the basketball over,” Rohlman said.
DeKalb never led in the second half, but pulled within one possession on several occasions in the fourth quarter. Thornridge hit key free throws down the stretch and eked out the win.
Center Jake Smith led the Barbs with 21 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Senior Andre Harris had 17 points and 15 rebounds for DeKalb as well.
“Our kids were very positive after the game,” Rohlman said. “They’re staying together, spending more time together and actually are going to watch some film here in a little bit. They don’t want to go home...they want to get better right away.”