AUSTINTOWN — Austintown Fitch coach Jason Baker refuses to get down on his basketball team despite starting the season 1-11 following a 90-51 Federal League loss to Canton Glen Oak.
“It’s frustrating because we maybe had the best two days of practice coming into this game,” Baker said. “A lot of it was our defense tonight.
“We played better on defense in the second half and until garbage time it was pretty even out there in the second half.”
The Falcons ran into a GlenOak team that has been getting healthy the last couple of weeks and is starting to play like Eagles’ coach Jack Greynolds envisioned at the start of the season.
GlenOak(5-5, 2-2) had 10 players break into the scoring column in a balanced offensive attack that Fitch had little answers for most of the night.
“It was a good game for us,” said Greynolds. “We’ve been a little banged up, beat up and we are finally starting to get our guys all back.
“I thought tonight we played pretty decent and pretty smart basketball for most of the game.”
Greynolds said the Eagles are a good offensive team and they showed that by shooting nearly 60 percent (34-57) from the field. GlenOak was also outstanding from beyond the 3-point line where it netted 8 of 17 shots (47.1 percent).
“We have a lot of good shooters,” Greynolds said. “Tonight I thought we played with good speed, good tempo and guys knocked down a lot of shots.”
Fitch hung with the Eagles for the first five minutes of the game and trailed just 7-6 before GlenOak went on a 12-1 run to end the first quarter.
“We’ve gotta come out and play defense from the start,” Baker said. “We haven’t done that.
“And offensively we have to get more balance and get the ball inside to the post because teams know we are a perimeter shooting team and they can lock us up if we don’t get the ball inside at all.”
Fitch struggled offensively because of a lack of manpower.
Starting guard Will Mahone recently left the team and Fitch’s best inside player, Terry Terrigno, has been playing with a bad shoulder.
Terrigno will have season-ending shoulder surgery Feb. 8 but has been trying to play with basically one arm for now.
“It’s frustrating because I can’t play like I want to,” Terrigno said. “I’m trying to play the best I can until I have to shut it down.
“I wish I could help the team more and play like I’m capable of playing.”
The Falcons did get 14 points from senior Jahwuan Pete, 12 from DeAndre Richardson and 10 points from Tyron Underwood.
“Effort was never really the problem tonight,” Baker said. “The kids really tried but we didn’t have good execution offensively or defensively.
“We need to keep working defensively,” Baker added. “We are going to try and keep getting better every single day and we’ll see what happens in the second half.”