Even after the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys basketball team beat Westland 53-41 last Friday at home to pick up its first win of the season, coach Tom Souder wasn't thrilled with the Wolves' offensive execution.
However, Souder was satisfied with the way his squad played man-to-man defense, as it forced 18 turnovers.
"Defensively, I've been very pleased with our effort all year," Souder said. "We've got a long way to go offensively, but our defense has been consistently good. We've done a good job of contesting shots. We're not giving up many easy scoring opportunities."
With the score tied at 21 at halftime, the Wolves outscored Westland 18-13 in the third quarter. During one stretch in the quarter, the Cougars turned the ball over on four of five possessions, leading to eight points for Kilbourne.
Westland scored the next four points to pull within 43-38 in the fourth quarter before Jack Burian blocked a shot and heaved the ball the entire length of the court to Adam Hren, who scored a layup to start a 10-1 run.
"Our defense is definitely our strength, so we try to score off it as much as possible," senior wing player Austin Parker said. "We have a lot of lock-down defenders and we pride ourselves on playing good man-to-man defense. This is one of those years where we'll need to hold teams down with our defense and grind out wins."
Souder was happy that his team turned over the ball only nine times last Friday, after struggling with turnovers in its first three losses.
But Souder said his squad needs to work for better looks at the basket and attack the rim more consistently.
Averaging 11.3 points, Parker was leading Kilbourne in scoring through four games, followed by Blake Collins (7.8), Burian (6.8), Connor Dahn (6.0) and Brian Hanks (6.0).
"We've just got to be sharper offensively," Souder said. "We're not getting to the foul line as much as I'd like, and we've got to do a better job with our shot selection."
The Wolves are heading to Louisville, Ky., to compete in the Mustang Invitational, which runs Tuesday through Dec. 30 at Moore Traditional High School. They will play Louisville Valley on Tuesday, Louisville Doss on Wednesday and Louisville Southern on Dec. 30.
"We're going to work on our team unity to try to form a stronger bond on this trip," Parker said. "We're going to spend a lot of time together."
Valley was 2-4 before playing Louisville Moore last Saturday. Doss was 2-3 before playing Louisville Butler last Friday and competing against Nicholasville West Jessamine last Saturday. Southern is 2-2.
"This will be a neat experience for our kids," Souder said. "We're not going to know much about the teams from Louisville and they won't know much about us. I do know that they're going to be ready to play some good basketball against us. We're doing this to prepare our team to be as good as it can be. If we were only worried about wins and losses, we'd soften our schedule. We want to play good teams because that's what makes us better."
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas boys basketball teams:
*Last Friday - Defeated Westland 53-41. Blake Collins scored 13 points, Austin Parker scored 12 points and Jack Burian had nine points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
*Last Tuesday - Played Hilliard Davidson
Tuesday - Louisville (Ky.) Valley in Mustang Invitational at Louisville (Ky.) Moore Traditional
Wednesday - Louisville (Ky.) Doss in Mustang Invitational
Dec. 30 - Louisville (Ky.) Southern in Mustang Invitational
Of note: The Wolves were 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.
Dec. 14 - Def. Marysville 51-41
*Last Friday - Lost to Dublin Coffman 66-61. D.J. Lightfoot scored 23 points, Will Hill scored 12 and David Herbst scored 11.
*Last Tuesday - Played Westland
Tuesday - At Centennial
Dec. 30 - Home vs. Columbus East
Of note: The Cardinals were 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.