MAU struggles on offense, falls to Spartans
The Patriots have been a streaky team all season as they have two three-game win streaks, but the loss was the third in a row for MAU, bringing their record to 6-4 on the season.
The first quarter of Saturday's game can be summarized by one word. Pace.
Both teams were trying to get out and run with the ball, but the Patriots ran into some early issues. Gavin Johnson found himself in early foul trouble and had to sit out for most of the first half.
"We're used to a little foul trouble early," said second-year head coach Marcus Hass. "Our guys need to be smarter and understand that it hurts our team with these guys being stuck on the bench."
With their physical center sidelined, the Patriots turned to Matthew Steadman for their scoring early. After four quick points to cut the Spartan lead to just three, Steadman left the game after taking a hard fall.
Without him on the court, Monument Mountain scored the next five to increase their lead to 12-4. Steadman returned to the game minutes later and connect on his next two shots, including one from deep. Steadman scored all nine of the team's first quarter points as the Patriots trailed 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.
"We are a different team when Steadman is on the court," Hass said. "He does a lot of good things for us and hopefully he can continue that momentum for the rest of the season."
The second quarter was all Monument Mountain as they enforced a full court press that the Patriots had a hard time breaking through. Whether it was stepping into passing lanes, or forcing turnovers in the back court, the Spartans suffocated the Patriot offense as they only scored four points in the second quarter.
"We didn't do a very good job on the offensive side today," Hass said. "We are still trying to figure that out a little bit. We definitely still have some work to do on that end."
With the score 38-13 minutes into the third quarter, the Patriots offense decided to slow down their offense and as a result they started to get some open looks. Wil Fischer and Matthew Glanousky hit back-to- back threes for Mount Anthony, making the score 38-19.
"[Mount Anthony] is a very good basketball team, " said Monument Mountain head coach Mike Saporito. "They're well-coached and have a lot of very good players, they're struggling through some injuries and illness, but that is still a very good team, I was proud with how strong our guys came out against them. I think the key to our success was our defense early. We are a team that needs to have energy, because when we don't, we aren't as nearly as precise."
The Spartan defense fueled the offense all afternoon long and it was too much for Mount Anthony to overcome. Led by Noah Helmke's game-high 18 points and a smothering defense, the Spartans scored double digits in all-four quarters while holding the Patriots to just 30 points, their lowest total of the season.
The Patriots get some time off to recover and get healthy as they don't play again until Jan. 26 when they travel to Otter Valley to face the 4-4 Otters.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.