It’s a formula Jonathan Alder boys basketball coach Brent Cahill has followed for years.
Have his Pioneers play regular-season games against a variety of teams which play completely different styles in order to better prepare them for what they may see in the Division II Central District tournament.
In theory the process works, the team gets to play different styles, gets accustomed to seeing different levels of athleticism and is ready to play against anyone in the postseason. All the preparation this time was for not as the Pioneers had their season come to an end with a 39-32 D-II tournament loss Bishop Watterson Saturday, March 4.
Despite playing a game against this same Eagles team earlier this season, one it lost 50-34 Alder was unable to match the physicality in which Watterson played with.
“After watching the tape and seeing it live,” Cahill said. “As hard as it is for me to say, we were just physically overwhelmed. They physically just outplayed us.”
Alder (15-8) did everything it could to stay in the game but, simple acts as setting screens and getting open shots were tough to come by against a bigger, stronger Watterson squad.
“They were pushing through screen and making it difficult for us to get into our offense,” the coach said. “We got bumped and knocked around and they really beat us up on the boards.”
Watterson led 8-2 after one quarter and was ahead 16-11 at the half. The Pioneers put together a solid third quarter to take a one-point lead 24-23 into the fourth quarter. But in the fourth quarter the Eagles got going offensively and pulled away for the victory.
“It was a one-point game at the beginning of the fourth quarter but even there you had a sense that they were physically in control of the game and wearing us down,” Cahill said.
Andrew Koenig and Cameron Androw both scored eight points in the loss. Jacob Koenig added six points while Matt Seimer and Jackie Santa-Emma had five apiece.
Even though the scheduling of tough teams didn’t work out this postseason, Cahill said his squad will continue to do this in the future.
“Our schedule will be much the same next year,” the coach said. “We will play City (League) teams, Watterson and Catholic League teams, we will play our league teams and teams from Madison County. For us to do what we want to do in the Central District we’ve got to be able to play different styles.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.