EUGENE, Mo. — The Russellville Indians boys basketball team suffered an 83-33 loss to the Eugene Eagles on Jan. 3. The Indians are now 2-6 on the year.
The Indians faced a large deficit early on as they trailed 21-8 after the first quarter. The Eagles' lead only grew in the second quarter as they outscored Russellville 17-6 to go up 24 points with the score of 38-14 at halftime.
Eugene had a size advantage over the Indians and that caused some problems for Russellville throughout the game. With that in mind, head coach Ben Pallardy said the team has to develop the skill to finish over size.
"Finishing over size is definitely a skill and that skill can take some time to develop," Pallardy said. "We have a lot of young guys and I think that is just one of the skills that we have not developed yet. But what we would try to do is either drive and kick and create some more opportunities on the outside. Or, we really like to teach getting into the body of the shot blocker and then being able to finish. I thought, in the first half, we did not really do a good job of that and it kind of resulted in some blocks.
"In the second half, I thought we got into their bodies better, we were just not able to finish," Pallardy said.
Early on in the third quarter, Russellville trailed 45-14 but a three-pointer by the Indians made it 45-17 with 6:24 left to go in the quarter. Later on, a basket by the Indians made it a 56-19 game with just over four minutes to go. Near the end of the quarter, a three-pointer by Charlie Miller made it a 66-26 game with 2:13 left in the quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Indians trailed Eugene 70-26.
Pallardy said the team is focusing on improving from day-to-day and game-to-game.
"We even break it down to more and let's do better," Pallardy said. "At halftime, we were down 24 points I believe, we really wanted to try to come out and win the first four minutes and show that we have improved from the first half."
Two three-pointers early in the fourth quarter made it a 74-32 game with less than six minutes to go. The Eagles outscored Russellville 7-1 in the final minutes of the game.
Russellville had some success with the three-ball as the Indians made eight three-pointers in the game, five of which came in the second half. On the night, 24 of the team's 33 points came off of threes.
"We have a lot of capable shooters," Pallardy said. "Consistency has been our issue, but we are able to stretch the floor. We shot 30 percent from three in that game which is good enough to win. That did not hurt us, so I think we hit seven or eight threes, which we would like to be a little bit higher, but we (have) to be able to complement hitting those threes with being able to finish at the rim and getting to the free throw line. We can't rely only on three-point shots. I will say we have a lot of good shooters and the guys have freedom to let it fly. I think they are gaining confidence as the season goes on. When they do get a couple of threes to go, it definitely does give us momentum and I think it helps us on the defensive end as well."
Despite the success from farther out, the team struggled from the free throw line as the Indians went just 3-8 from the line in the game.
Jesse Daniel, Bryce Mehrhoff, Matt Miller and Charlie Miller all scored six points each for the Indians.
The team's next game is Jan. 14 at home vs. Jamestown at 6 p.m.