Pierce City Eagles fighting growing pains
Junior guard putting pressure on himself to bring team together
The frustration could be seen on the Pierce City boys basketball team's faces as the final seconds ticked off the clock during a 49-37 semifinal loss to Greenwood, of Springfield, on Thursday in the Pierce City Invitational.
The team let an early lead slip, then retook a lead in the fourth quarter, but only managed three points in the game's final 5:10.
"You saw our lack of experience tonight," said Matt Street, Pierce City head coach, after the loss. "We have pieces that aren't fitting together, but we are just three games in."
No one took the loss harder than junior guard Mason Moreland.
"We have to play with better effort," he said. "We didn't get back on defense, and turnovers killed us. We can't be a one-on-one team. It takes us all to win."
Last season, Pierce City lived and died at the 3-point line. They also set a school record for successful 3-point shots. Against the Blue Jays, the Eagles only connected on four attempts and settled for jump shots instead of attacking the glass.
Pierce City shot just seven free throws, making only three of those attempts.
"We were off on our passes inside," Moreland said. "Mental mistakes killed us. Myself and Evan [Burt] have got to do more to help the team. It is a challenge that I accept."
Pierce City plays Diamond today at 1 p.m. for third place in the Pierce City Invitational.
"We have got to play with better effort if we want to win," Moreland said. "It starts with each one of us taking ownership, and it goes from there."