Disabato: Supersectional loss could benefit Marian Catholic in long run
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @disabato March 13, 2013 7:46PM
Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor (left) and his Spartans saw their season come to an end Tuesday night in the Class 4A Normal Supersectional. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Want More Disabato?
Watch his Coach’s Corner Show each Wednesday at 9 p.m. on WJYS-TV (Channel 62). Disabato will break down the week in prep sports.
Miss a week? Watch it online at www.coachscornershow.com
Follow Pat on Twitter : @disabato
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:02AM
There are two kinds of losses in basketball that consequently produce two different reactions.
There’s the loss where if a single possession or two were executed in a close game, the outcome would have been different and, thus, causes most coaches and players to agonize for days, possibly months.
The other type of loss is the blowout, a night when the opponent simply is more skilled and executes the game plan more efficiently. That type of loss takes about a day to get over. No agonizing, no “what ifs” or “maybes.” Just a tip off the cap to the opponent.
Marian Catholic’s loss Tuesday night to Edwardsville in the Class 4A Normal Supersectional falls into the latter category.
It was a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. Spartans coach Mike Taylor admitted as much.
“We got our (butts) kicked,” Taylor said of the 68-49 loss.
However, Marian need look no further than its opponent, Edwardsville, to realize a loss like Tuesday’s can yield greater results in the future.
Next year at this time, Marian likely will reflect on Tuesday’s defeat one of two ways: a valuable stepping stone on its way to the Class 4A state finals or as a missed opportunity.
Last season, Edwardsville played Bloom in the Normal Supersectional at the very same location, Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University. The Tigers started four underclassmen, and the result was a 53-41 loss to the Blazing Trojans. The Tigers scored a paltry 21 points through three quarters and shot 14-of-44 from the field for the game.
Edwardsville not only was completely overmatched by the more experienced Blazing Trojans, the big stage of Redbird Arena had the Tigers looking scared.
On Tuesday, though, the Tigers, a year older, wiser and more polished, played the part of a team that had been there, done that.
Edwardsville had grown up, exhibiting the maturation every coach strives to see from a senior-dominant group. The shock and awe look of a group of juniors from a year earlier was replaced Tuesday by poised and focused seniors.
“Last year, we got a little taste of it and it really helped (Tuesday),” Edwardsville forward Garret Covington said. “Last year we got rattled. This year, we knew the floor, the gym and the rims. We were very confident. We kept our composure.”
The Tigers, to their credit, didn’t allow last year’s loss to define them. Instead, they used it as motivation.
“We knew we were a better team than what we showed here last year,” Covington said. “We reminded ourselves of that all of the time. We knew if we wanted to take the next step, we had to work hard.”
Those are words of advice Marian would be wise to follow.
Now is not the time to sulk or throw a pity party. Great teams respond to adversity and get back up when knocked down.
And believe me, the Spartans took an uppercut to the jaw Tuesday. From the second period on, the outcome of the game never was in doubt.
Marian returns every starter and much of its bench next season. Most important, it returns the Southland’s most talented player, point guard Tyler Ulis, a cornerstone no other team in the Southland and few in the state, can match.
Tuesday’s loss confirmed a couple of things: First, Ulis can’t carry the responsibility of scoring alone. Oh, yeah, the Superman act worked on most nights during the regular season and first few rounds of the postseason. But come supersectional time, when the Cinderella squads have been exposed, multiple players are required to step up. Ulis, with 20 points, was the lone Spartan to reach double figures vs. Edwardsville.
Second, the Spartans have to do a better job of attacking a zone defense. Again, having other players step up in the scoring department certainly would help. And I’m confident, as seniors with a year under their belts next season, Ki-Jana Crawford, Terrone Parham, John Oliver and Josh Cohn will be able to do that. But it will require work in the weight room and the gym.
Hey, when you’re a senior, there is no tomorrow when it comes to your high school career.
“At this point of the season, you can’t depend on one person,” Taylor said of the need of others than Ulis scoring. “If I was coaching against us, I’d play a zone defense. We lost to H-F earlier in the season and they played a 1-3-1 zone against us. It caused us some problems, just like it did (Tuesday). We have to figure out a way to attack a zone defense with this group.”
Tuesday night’s experience might be the first step in doing so.