Story and photos by Greg Mitchell, FLEACT Public Affairs
Nile C. Kinnick’s Red Devils boys’ varsity basketball team lost their second game of the season to Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) 69-45 at Kinnick Gym, Dec. 10. The loss was their second in three games, with the lone victory being against St. Maur, 52-30.
With only two points scored in the entire first quarter, the Red Devils found themselves in a deep hole that they were unable to overcome.
“We are still playing as individuals,” said varsity head coach Robert Stovall. “I think we don’t trust each other as a team yet. We try to do too many things ourselves instead of relying on the team.”
With 1:28 left in the half and down 30-16, the Red Devils got back into the game by way of defensive play. Two key steals by senior guard Casaun Cauddle, one of which led to his layup and then two straight free throws. This was followed by hitting three of four from the free-throw line by sophomore guard Lavance Rolland. By halftime, the CAJ lead was cut to 32-21.
Kinnick opened the second half with a two-point basket from senior center RynnYates. With 4:44 left in the 3rd, Rolland connected on two straight three-point baskets to make the score 44-31. That was as far as Kinnick could get, as CAJ continued to maintain a pace that led to a 58-36 lead by the end of the third.
Kinnicks inability to control the ball in the second half resulted in 14 turnovers and as a team, they had only five rebounds in the second half, leading to their eventual demise.
Senior forward Dymond Simmons led all Red Devil players with 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Rolland was second in scoring with 11 points. Cauddle had seven points and four steals to round out the top individual performances.“We are a running team, not a shooting team,” said Stovall. “We need to understand this and execute as such. Our focus in practice will be layups and passing. We have to get better at the little things on the court throughout the season, and these guys can get it done.”
Nile C. Kinnick returns to the court Dec. 13 as a part of a double header with the girls’ varsity to take on Robert D. Edgren High School in Kinnick gym, starting at 5 p.m.