RICHTON PARK | Crete-Monee found itself trailing 1-0 before Friday night’s game with Rich South even tipped off and that was as close as it would get all night.
The Warriors were assessed a technical foul for dunking during warmups which gave Rich South two free throws before a second had ticked off the clock.
After the strange start, things went downhill for Crete-Monee as it watched the Stars run out to a 10-1 lead late in the first quarter on their way to a 55-43 victory, extending the Warriors' losing streak to four games.
“We couldn’t stop Mother Theresa today,” Crete-Monee coach Tom Cappel said. “It all started with that technical, we didn’t have any fire tonight, no energy on defense, but that’s how we practiced all week.”
The Warriors (11-8, 3-2 Southland Athletic Conference) did start to find some life defensively in the second quarter. Trailing 21-9, Crete-Monee forced four consecutive turnovers, but was unable to cut into the lead as the Warriors missed three shots and turned the ball back over on the last possession.
“We’d force a turnover then miss a layup,” Cappel said. “You’ve got to put the ball in the hole that’s the name of the game.”
Coming into the game, Rich South coach Scot Ritter was concerned about the Warriors' athleticism causing matchup problems.
“They have some talent over there,” Ritter said. “When they came out with a smaller lineup, I was worried that our bigs didn’t have the lateral movement to keep up. They also had a big size advantage on our point guard but they didn’t really take advantage of it.”
In the end, it was the Stars' size that caused problems for the Warriors. In addition to taking away the lane and forcing Crete-Monee to shoot from the outside, they also outrebounded the Warriors 26-13.
“I really don’t know what to say about tonight,” Crete-Monee forward Natron Long said. “It wasn’t really their size, it shouldn’t have been like that at all, we have to start coming to play every game.”
Long tried to provide a spark for the Warriors the hitting a 3-pointer, getting a block and two steals during a 7-2 run that cut the deficit to 12 early in the fourth quarter.
But the Stars (9-9, 3-2 Southland Athletic Conference) responded as they would every time the Warriors appeared to get momentum pushing the lead back to 16 and putting the game out of reach.
With the loss, the Warriors have fallen two games behind conference leaders Bloom Township and are looking for a way to get their season back on track.
“If I knew (how to turn things around) we’d try to do it,” Cappel said. “That’s what we have to find out, how to change things going forward.”