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Turnovers cost Cogs in first BNC East loss

RICHMOND – As the Genoa-Kingston boys basketball’s team bus pulled into the parking lot at Richmond-Burton, it passed a sign that reads, “You are now entering Rocket country.”

The Cogs, looking to take control of the Big Northern Conference East Division, couldn’t match the intensity from the host Rockets in a 66-52 loss.

Cogs coach Corey Jenkins was disappointed at his team’s effort, especially early on after a string of turnovers put them in a tough spot.

“I would have hoped that we would’ve been more excited,” Jenkins said. “It shouldn’t be that way and our kids should be able to get up for a game like this.”

The Rockets (14-4 overall, 4-1 BNC East) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and forced Jenkins to call a timeout and regroup after his team turned the ball over three times in the first five minutes of the opening quarter.

The Cogs found ways to score with explosive guard Tommy Lucca leading the offense but the points were inconsistent as R-B played solid defense, rotating to shooters and closing off passing lanes.

Lucca finished with a team-high 13 points, but nothing came easy as he tried to methodically pick apart the Rockets defense, which circled him as a player they wanted to keep off the score sheet. R-B collapsed on him when he drove and got to the foul line six times after muscling through contact.

“We were aware of where shooters were and we were doing things to locate Lucca who is a fantastic player,” Rockets coach Brandon Creason said. “We were trying to find him on the floor wherever he went.”

G-K (12-7, 3-1) tried to claw back in the game but finished with 13 turnovers, which halted any progress that was made into the deficit that was as large as 15 points.

“Our decision making was poor and we dug ourselves a big hole that we couldn’t get out of,” Jenkins said. “Fortunately Colin [Broderick] hit some big shots and without that it could’ve been much worse.”

Broderick made four 3-pointers, all from the wing, and finished with 12 points. He hit a big triple in the fourth after Tommy Hansen scored eight fast points to breathe life into the team. Jenkins liked the way his team played in the final quarter and looked at it as the only bright spot in an otherwise tough game.

Looking ahead on the schedule, the Cogs will face R-B on Feb. 14, but Jenkins figures his team needs some work before they start looking ahead.

“I’m more worried about us right now and try to fix our psyche,” the coach said. “We thought coming in we could have a successful season but we have to find our fire again.”

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