The Tattnall Square boys basketball team entered the season with the goal of winning a state championship.
While it’s still very early in the season, Friday’s game against state heavyweight Mount Vernon Presbyterian showed the Trojans that they will need to grow substantially to attain that sought-after prize.
Mount Vernon dominated Tattnall for the final three quarters to cruise to a 73-46 road win. The loss drops the Trojans to 1-2 against potential title contenders — they lost to Deerfield-Windsor and beat Westfield — just more than a month into the season.
“We just got outplayed (Friday),” Tattnall guard Taylor Tomberlin said. “We are a long way away from where we need to be to (win a state championship).”
The Trojans struggled on offense for three quarters, and they never really put things together defensively throughout the game.
But the biggest damage was done in the second quarter, when the Trojans were outscored 12-0 to open the quarter and then 22-1 later in the quarter before adding a couple of baskets. Tattnall head coach Paul Brooks pulled all five starters at the end of the first quarter when the Trojans led 15-11. They never seemed to click when they all re-entered early in the second quarter.
“The strategy has worked once or twice this year, trying to keep my starters fresh,” Brooks said. “But if I had to do it over again (Friday), I probably don’t pull the starters.”
The coaches stayed in the locker room with the players for about 20 minutes following the game.
Brooks said he needed to stress that his team needed to play together unselfishly.
“I think we were doing a lot of the selfish thing (Friday),” Tomberlin said. “By the time we stopped being robots on offense, we weren’t getting back and playing any defense.”
The Mustangs made a number of layups in the fourth quarter when Tattnall couldn’t recover after its own made basket, which ended hopes of a comeback.
“I think we can be a much better team if we jell,” Brooks said. “We’ve just got to work on getting them to jell.”
The Trojans might get another shot at the Mustangs if both teams advance to the championship game of the Tattnall’s Christmas tournament.
“We’ll get another shot at them, and we’ll see if everything is working the rest way then,” Tomberlin said.
The Tattnall girls faltered down the stretch in a 45-43 loss to the Mustangs.
Tattnall led for nearly the whole game but couldn’t manage much offense in the third quarter and fell behind for the first time all game with four minutes to play in the third quarter.
Tattnall had one final push in it, tying the game at 41 on a pair of free throws from Haley Andrews.
But Mount Vernon made two free throws with 25 seconds to play to give the Mustangs a 45-43 lead. Tattnall had two more chances to tie the game but had a shot blocked on their next-to-last possession and missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.