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Basketball struggles at Colfax

LARA MULLIN, Sierra Sun

COLFAX – The trip to Colfax last weekend dropped the Wolverine boys’ varsity basketball teams’ record to 0-3, and spurred coach Mike Gray to return to the drawing board this week.

“We are starting from square one,” Gray said on Monday, as his team regrouped in practice in an effort to find the elusive offense that has yet to appear.

Gray’s inexperienced bench has thus far been unable to find the cohesiveness and leadership it so desperately needs, and have appeared very rushed and confused on the court.

“Right now we are walking around without a heart,” said Gray.

To TNT fans, this was clearly evident as Truckee lost to strong 4A schools on both Dec. 7 and 8.

Truckee’s first adversary was Argonaut, a strong team from Sacramento that topped the Wolverines by 25 points. The absence of point guard Andre Echenique served to exaggerate the woes of the small 10 player squad, as Truckee went 9-28 from the line, missing 19 free throws.

“This lack of basics is something we have to work on to be successful,” Gray noted.

With a mere three points in the second quarter and only 14 points at the half, Gray rallied his team to pick up its level of play. As a result, the Wolverines had a stronger second half, yet still lost 57-32.

David Larson was the leading scorer for Truckee with 12 points, though he did not play to the caliber that he has shown in the past. Gray attributes this to the pressure on Larson to lead on and off the court.

“We have got to find guys other than David to step up, because it is not fair to him to make him the entire team,” Gray warned.

Junior Jarrad Gifford put nine points on the board for the Wolverines, yet his efforts could not carry his team that consists mostly of football players, who unlike many of their opponents are not on the court year-round.

Friday was an equally disappointing game for Gray’s team as they faced Dixon, another dominating and skilled Sacramento team. Again the Wolverines came out slow, unable to convert ball possession into baskets and scored only two points by the close of the first quarter. The Wolverines scored six more points in the second quarter, as Dixon fluidly ran its offense around the struggling Truckee defense.

Gifford joined Echenique on the sidelines as the Wolverine squad was reduced to just nine players. David Larson was held to nine points by the strong Dixon defense, and Gray said “once again he was trying to do too much.”

Despite the disappointing play of the Wolverine bench, freshman standout J.R. Murphy displayed great promise, leading the team with 13 points.

“He is going to be a very good basketball player once he has more experience on the court,” said Gray. “Everytime you step on the court, you have a chance to win, but right now we are not competing, until we fine tune the basics, we cannot compete,” Gray said.

Fine-tuning is the focus of practice this week as the Wolverines look toward Saturdays home game against Dayton, the season opener forleague play. The season has only just begun for TNT, and Gray is optimistic about his team’s desire to learn and improve as they have more time together on the court.


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