NEMAHA —Atchison’s athleticism and speed were too much for Jackson Heights despite putting fourth a relatively messy offensive effort in the 49-28 win Tuesday at Nemaha Central.
The Redmen started the game fast to lead 11-0 at 2:17 mark in the first quarter.
The Cobras did answer with a 9-1 run of their own to close the quarter, but Atchison squashed any thought of a comeback by a mostly dominant defensive effort in the second quarter to gain a 26-13 halftime advantage.
“I thought after the first quarter we kind of dug our heels in,” coach Mark Hall said. “We played with a lot more intensity on defense than we have in awhile.”
The second half was more of the Redmen (5-4) defense stifling Jackson Heights on the way to the first round win.
Atchison did struggle throughout the game to make some easy layups which isn’t anything new in recent weeks.
Hall said his team must find a way to make those open shots if they hope to beat a good team or they will continue to come up short like they did to conference foes Washington and Schlagle last week.
“We missed a lot of easy shots again,” Hall said. “We aren’t going to be a good team doing that. We’re executing well but we just have to finish.”
Hall is hopeful that significant effort on the defensive end of the floor will translate into a better mentality on offense
“Eventually what I hope is that us showing toughness on the defensive end will maybe transition to the offensive to when we’re going for a layup and we know contact is coming, but we aren’t worrying about it,” Hall said. “I’ve told them to be aggressive and just go attack the basket.”
Senior Garyeon Simpson led the Redmen in points with 14 while junior Omarion Daniels was second with 10.
Simpson said his team will simply have to play better if they want to have a chance against Nemaha Central Thursday.
“We’re going to be a lot better than this because we won’t be Nemaha like this,” ‘We’re going to have to come out with a lot more intensity and finish our easy shots.”