It was a rough way to start the season for Washington’s boys basketball team Wednesday.
Opening the season at Borgia’s annual Turkey Tournament, the sixth-seeded Blue Jays drew the runner-up from last year’s tournament, McCluer North, in the first round.
The third-seeded Stars sent Washington into the consolation bracket with a 86-47 loss.
McCluer North built a 16-2 lead to open the game and led 26-10 at the end of the first period. They took a commanding 50-24 advantage into the half. The Stars extended the lead to 75-39 at the end of the third quarter.
“Give a lot of credit to McCluer North,” Washington Head Coach Grant Young said. “They’ve got a lot of very athletic kids, did a real good job with the full court man-to-man run and jump.”
The Blue Jays were playing without returning starter Conlan Jarvis, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, who sat out with a hip injury. He is expected to handle point guard duties for the Jays this season though there is no timetable set for his return.
“Of the nine kids we played, seven out of the nine really haven’t had a lot of varsity experience,” Young said. “So, this is the biggest varsity game they’ve played and they’re going to have to just get used to it. We’ve got a lot of new guys learning some things out there tonight, but it’s the little things that hurt us — with boxing out, giving up extra opportunities, not taking care of the basketball, having 20-plus turnovers in the game and that’s just not an excuse. Those are individual things that each individual has to take care of.”
Freshman forward Ryan Hoerstkamp posted nine points in his varsity debut. Only senior returning starter Cason Suggs had more points for the Blue Jays with 18.
“Cason, I thought, did a really good job being a senior leader for us and having some big buckets for us down the stretch,” Young said. “For a first game for a freshman with Ryan, that was huge for him to gain his confidence. He’s still got a lot of work, a lot of different little things about our defense that we run on our matchup half-court that he’s really got to catch onto, and he will over time.”
Other scorers for Washington included Alec Brinkmann with seven points, Rett Corley with five, Zach Harms three, Ty Rinne and Tommy Ruether with two points each and Aleksandr Buechter one.
The Stars built their early lead off multiple turnovers near halfcourt that led to some quick baskets. Young said that would be a key improvement for his team to work on moving forward and that his players exercising more patience would be a big part of that.
“We’ve got to cut down on our turnovers if we want to be successful,” Young said. “We’ll be okay. It’s a marathon. It’s not the end of the season after one game. We’ve got a long season to go. Lot of work to go with a lot of young guys that don’t have as much varsity experience but we’ll get there.”
McCluer North was led in scoring by four players in double digits.
A’Tavian Butler led all scorers with 24 points with 10 rebounds.
Patrick Evans contributed 19 points and nine rebounds and three steals.
Mekai Ray added 12 points and four steals.
Steve Lee knocked down 10 points and picked up two steals and three rebounds.
Sylvan Mosley-Mull put up eight points for the Stars with Devon Ephron scoring seven, Christian Banks four and Aaron Daniels two.