FREMONT – Hosting one of the Three Rivers Athletic Conference favorites, the Fremont Ross boys basketball team knew it had a steep hill to climb Tuesday night.
So as the Little Giants tipped off against St. Francis de Sales, coach John Cahill wanted to see his team put fourth four quarters of competitiveness and battle the Knights to the end.
And Cahill saw that – in parts. The final score went about as expected, a 69-42 loss for the Little Giants, but Cahill wanted to see more from his team.
“I felt like in the first half we didn’t do the physical things I felt we needed to do,” Cahill said. “I felt like the moment got a little too big for us. For a lot of those guys, it’s their first time they’ve been out on the floor against a top-flight team.
“With their size and athleticism, they create problems,” Cahill said of St. Francis. “I think it’ll be a great learning tool for us. We’ve seen this now.”
Early on, Ross looked up to the challenge. They remained close through most of the first quarter, trailing 11-7, until the Knights surged late for eight unanswered points in about 40 seconds en route to a 19-7 lead entering the second quarter.
The Knights continued the momentum, building on the lead with a 10-2 run over the first 2:30 of the second quarter and eventually took a 33-16 halftime lead.
By the middle of the third quarter, however, Ross found some footing and started to battle again with the Knights. Ross opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run and trimmed the deficit to 15.
“The beginning of the third was bad – but by the end of the third we played harder and then, in the fourth, we got it the point where it was workable,” Cahill said. “Not that I’m thinking we’re going to make a huge comeback and win, but it’s possible. Then we got away from what we were doing.
“There is going to be a lot of learning for this team, but I don’t want our learning to come through effort and I felt like, tonight especially, we got wide-eyed and just watched shots and didn’t expect to compete.”
Things won’t get any easier, however, as Ross hosts another TRAC power on Friday, St. John’s.
“It’s going to be a tough ask but we’re going to put in two solid days of work and come back and hopefully put on a better product Friday night,” Cahill said.
St. Francis 69, Fremont Ross 42
Pickens 2, Barnett 3, Ou 4, Gedeon 2, Adkins 3, Mikey Lather 12, Harrison 2, Malan 7, Holmes 7