Bay City ready for start of district play
The way that Larry Butler sees it, his Bay City Blackcats are starting to jell at the right time of the year — district time.
“We are getting better with each game,” Butler said of his Blackcats. “Coming off the Christmas break, you never know how it is going to come out. Normally you don’t start playing that well until you get your legs back under you but we came out and played hard.”
“Play hard” might be a bit of an understatement as the Blackcats came out and dominated the Bay City Holiday Classic coming away with a first place finish in the tournament to get the team ready for the start of District 24-4A play Jan. 11 in West Columbia.
“We were able to push the ball up the floor and attack before the other teams could get set up on the defensive end,” Butler said. “That allowed us to score a lot of points early and that set us up all weekend long in the tournament.”
What you see with the Blackcats is the style of offense that Butler is coaching this year. Push the ball up the court and try to force their opponents on their defensive heels throughout the game.
“I would rather attack and score than have to run an offense,” Butler said. “And the kids want to run and push the ball and I am constantly telling them to push it up the court before the defense has a chance to set up and we are getting really good at it.
“As the game wears on, we get tired but so does the other team and we get to score a lot of easy buckets late in the game,” Butler said. “It inspires us when we are scoring to keep going and right now we are passing and sharing the ball really well and finding the open man.”
With district play now looming, Butler said he is pleased with where the team is at right now.
“We still have some things to work on,” Butler said. “Our defense will have to get better.”
He said one aspect of the team’s defense that has been good this year has been keeping teams from driving to the paint.
“We know that LaMarque is going to try to move the ball and attack the basket,” Butler said. “Their goal is to drive and get the ball into the basket. We have done pretty good and switching defenders and we have been able to keep the ball from getting to the basket the majority of the time. When we do that, it makes it hard for the other team to get it going.”
Butler pointed out that Hitchcock had a hard time driving to the bucket against Bay City during the tournament championship game.
“The last few weeks we have gotten better and better and teams are having a hard time at getting to the basket against us,” Butler said. “We have made some mistakes but for the most part, the guys have taken pride in their defense and guarding the ball that we are not getting beat that much. And when we are beat, they have to work hard to get to the basket.”