Kansas.com

Kapaun boys ride inside emphasis

Published Jan. 4 at 6:40 a.m. | Last updated Jan. 4 at 9:32 a.m.

Kapaun's boys basketball team possesses a roster full of athleticism, but the Crusaders have struggled to find an offensive rhythm this season.

It left coach John Cherne looking for answers, and an emphasis on developing an inside game seemed most reasonable.

The plan paid off Tuesday night in a 48-45 win over South, as Kapaun established its offense in the paint from the start, scoring 22 of its 33 first-half points inside the paint.

"Every practice over break we worked heavily on feeding the post," Cherne said. "Working the ball through the front court is going to open up better opportunities for us outside the paint."

Offensive flow went downhill for both teams in second half as each team scored 15 points.

Following a steal with 19.5 seconds left in the game, Toby Baxter made two free throws that allowed the Crusaders to pull out a victory.

The play worked right into a new emphasis of Kapaun's defense.

"We've worked a lot at playing aggressive defense without slapping at the ball," Cherne said. "The ball was out and Toby did a great job at tipping it away without fouling."

Kapaun's first-half push was due to inefficient passing within South's offense, leading to several turnovers and Crusader fast-break opportunities.

"Kapaun is a team that prides themselves in transition basketball," South coach Demarrco Owens said. "We let them play their game in the first half and with several turnovers it didn't help out much."

After some halftime adjustments, South's defense forced Kapaun back into a jump-shooting mentality but couldn't quite get over the hump.

South (1-5, 0-5) 9 21 10 5 — 45 Kapaun (3-3, 3-2) 13 20 10 5 — 48

SOUTH: Wesley 6 0-0 15, Martin 2 1-2 8, Davis 3 0-2 6, Parker 1 0-0 5, Keiswetter 2 3-6 7, Moore 2 0-2 4. Totals: 19 (3) 4-12 45.

KAPAUN: Hullings 3 3-5 9, Baxter 3 2-3 11, Lickteig 4 0-2 8, M. Martin 2 0-0 7, Cook 3 0-0 6, J. Martin 1 0-0 2, Akao 0 0-2 0, Hagan 0 0-2 0. Totals: 20 (3) 5-10 48.