By Bonta Hill
After committing 29 turnovers in a loss to league rival University in the Redwood Christian Tournament Championship on Friday, Lick-Wilmerding head coach Elliot Smith took the experience as a lesson and wanted his team to learn from it in a positive way.
At least for one game, the lesson of ball security was learned for Lick, as the Tigers raced out to a 14-0 lead and cruised past visiting International in a 63-20 win.
The Tigers (3-2) beat up on International with a balanced attack as every Lick player in uniform scored in the contest, led by Granger Tripp’s 11 points.
“We’re still young and we’re still coming together trying to [figure] out what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Smith said. “I thought our pressure gave us an advantage and it got us some easy baskets.”
Lick’s pressure defense did get the best of International (0-4), as the Jaguars were stalled by 19 turnovers. The Jaguars’ shooting was also an issue, as they finished the game shooting 5-of-36.
With the Jaguars struggling on the offensive end, Lick took advantage and outscored International 20-5 in the second quarter to take a 41-13 halftime lead.
Jaguars first-year head coach Aaron Mullen has an extremely young team and knows it will take their lumps early on in the season, but knows the day-by-day process will lead to improvements.
“The biggest thing is trying to maintain our focus, and that is to develop team cohesion,” Mullen said. “That’s just the mode we’re at right now.”
With the game well in hand, Smith challenged his team at halftime to play better as a unit and felt, even with a 28-point halftime lead, there were things his team could have done better.
“We have to learn to play together as a group, because when you get into games like this, you start thinking of your own individual stuff,” Smith said. “We didn’t think we were playing as a team on defense and we didn’t think we were playing as a team on offense [in the first half].”
For International, Mullen knows his team is a work in progress, but liked how his team continued to work hard despite being down big throughout the game.
“We work so hard on effort and trying to increase our work ethic it’s hard for us right now to adapt to pressure and go into our secondary plan,” Mullen said. “They really took us out of our initial [offensive] sets which made us play their game from the beginning, and when we can’t control the tempo, it’s hard for us right now.”
Brian Benevides – 11
Max Drolet – 4
Noah Morton – 2 points
Two players tied with 1 point
Granger Tripp – 11
Kishan Jay – 9
Ben Faustine – 7
Two players tied with 5 points