Story and photo by Daniel Mohrmann
If there is one lesson the Manitou Springs boys basketball team should learn from its 55-54 loss to Colorado Springs Christian on Jan. 10, it’s that possessions and free throws matter.
Untimely turnovers and going 11-for-24 from the free throw line played a huge role in the loss, and it’s something the Mustangs (7-3 overall, 3-1 Tri-Peaks) need to clean up for the rest of the league slate.
“We made too many mistakes,” coach Brian Vecchio said. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds and, between those and free throws, that pretty much did us in.”
Lairden Rogge led the Mustangs with 26 points and John Maynard added 17. The rest of the Mustangs scored just 11 combined points.
Given the added intensity of the rivalry with CSCS, this is a loss that will burn for a while.
“With this level of intensity, we can’t just sit back and wait for them to make the first move,” Rogge said. “We needed to press at the start and make the first move. We had to take the game to them.”
The loss ends a four-game winning streak for the Mustangs. They begin a string of nine straight league games on Friday, Jan. 13, when they host Salida. It will be a crucial stretch for the Mustangs and they’ll need to apply what they learned in the CSCS loss in that stretch to stay near the top of the league standings.
“Every possession matters,” Vecchio said. “When you get into league play, you can’t let one possession affect the next one. You have to make one play, then focus on the next one. That’s the mentality.”