Another year, another Jonathan Alder boys basketball team playing suffocating defense.
This was supposed to be the season the Pioneers (3-1, 2-0 in MOAC Red Division) were going to become the offensive force coach Brent Cahill has been dreaming about.
With a whole roster of his top players back this season, many figured the scoreboard operator would get a workout registering points for the Pioneers. But that hasn’t been the case, Alder has struggled to score points thus far this season but the team is finding ways to win thanks to what else? It’s defense.
The Pioneers have made a living playing solid defense over the last few years and those skills have been on display as the team is allowing just over 31 points per game through four contests.
“We’re grinding right now,” Cahill said. “We’re struggling with our offense right now, we just haven’t been consistent. We’re getting the shots but we’re just not knocking them down like we can.”
Alder opened the season with a 69-34 victory over Granville, but since then the Pioneers have only averaged 32 points per game, but thanks to the way they’ve played on the defensive end they’re still winning games.
“There’s an emphasis on defense every day in practice,” Cahill said. “We definitely try to get our guys prepared for who we’re playing and what we’re going to see. But a big part of getting things done on defense is the fact that we have guys buying into it.
“This year we’re a little bit longer and have a couple guys that can protect the rim. We didn’t really have that last year.”
In a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division game Saturday, Dec. 5 against visiting rival Fairbanks, the Pioneers held the Panthers to just 22 points in a 40-22 win.
As for his team’s offensive struggles, the coach expects things to ultimately turn around.
“I think good things will start to happen,” Cahill said. “We are getting the same amount of shots, they’ll start to go down.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.