Officially, it was a loss for the Borgia basketball Knights.
Playing in its opener Wednesday, the Eureka Wildcats raced past Borgia (2-2) in Eureka, 67-55.
While the Knights fell in the game, Head Coach Dave Neier hopes lessons learned in the game can pay dividends later in the season.
“A lot of it comes down to having good fundamentals in basketball,” Neier said. “Being able to block out on the boards, handle the ball and get it to where it’s supposed to go is what you need. We had way too many turnovers and gave away too many second shots. They were a very aggressive team and we played a little scared out there. We didn’t play with a lot of focus.”
Neier said there is plenty of room for improvement.
“There were a lot of little things that we have to get better in doing,” Neier said. “Playing a team like this makes your deficiencies show up really quick. There are a lot of things we need to improve. We’ll continue to work on it. It’s a good thing it’s early in the season. We can continue to develop and get better as a team.”
Eureka raced out to a 23-6 lead after one quarter and held on through the rest of the game.
With the score at 8-6, Eureka went on a 15-point run to end the first quarter. Avery Taggert knocked down a pair of three-point baskets and the Wildcats never looked back. Neier called two timeouts in the final 1:44 of the opening quarter, but that couldn’t stop Eureka. The Wildcats knocked down shots, forced turnovers and took advantage of Borgia communication errors to just about put the game away after eight minutes.
Borgia turned the ball over 19 times for the game, including 14 in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats added to the lead and were up 40-21 at the intermission.
Borgia outscored Eureka in the second half and cut the lead down to 10 midway through the third quarter, but Eureka did enough to hold on. It was 55-39 after three quarters.
“As we progressed, we started playing a little better,” Neier said. “We still made some mistakes. We got it down to 10 points and then made three mistakes in a row and let them lengthen the lead again. We’ve got to learn to cut down on the mistakes and doing the little things which make you better.”
Taggert led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points, including a trio of three-point baskets.
Also reaching double digits for Eureka were Zach Summers with 12 points and Hassan Haskins with 11.
Jordan Billingsley netted eight points while Jhalon Asher-Sanders scored seven, Antonio Sanders netted four, Tyler King scored three and Shane Lockwood and Cortez Smith each scored two points.
Eureka hit four three-point baskets for the game and went 11-15 from the free-throw line.
“They played harder than we did,” Neier said. “It looked like they wanted the game more.”
Borgia was led in scoring by Eli Marquart, who scored 16 points and added four steals, two rebounds and an assist.
Jacob Unnerstall ended with 11 points, four rebounds and an assist.
Brendan Smith closed with nine points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.
Will Elbert scored eight points with 10 rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.
Dalton Shust netted five points with three rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal.
Alex Brinkmann scored four points and added two rebounds and a blocked shot.
Spencer Hunter added two points, three steals, a rebound and a blocked shot.
Michael Baylard had four assists and a rebound. Trent Strubberg and Andrew Jensen also played.
Borgia had three three-point baskets and went 14-20 from the free-throw line.
Borgia returns home Friday to host MICDS in a varsity-only game at 7:15 p.m. That’s the last home game of 2017.
Borgia finishes out the month at Duchesne Dec. 8, St. Mary’s Dec. 15 and Sullivan Dec. 19.
Eureka’s gym has a new floor this season after the previous floor was damaged by flooding last spring. It’s the second time in recent years that the gym floor has had to be replaced.