MCFARLAND — A lack of aggression spelled doom for the Lodi boys basketball team on Tuesday night.
A passive offensive attack coupled with an inability to handle defensive pressure was too much for the Blue Devils to overcome in a 60-49 loss to host McFarland in a non-conference game.
“We need to be more aggressive offensively, more aggressive defensively and we struggled against their press,” Lodi coach Mitch Hauser said. “I don’t think we handled or attacked their pressure very well and we need to be more aggressive all the way through.”
Lodi (4-3) was aggressive early, scoring on the opening basket of the game with a putback by sophomore Jack Persike, but it was short-lived. The 2-0 cushion within the opening minute was the Blue Devils’ lone lead of the game as McFarland (6-3) countered with eight straight points for an 8-2 advantage with 14 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first half.
The Blue Devils got back into their groove temporarily, answering with an 8-2 run of their own, including six points by senior Jackson Kolinski at the free throw line, to knot things at 10 with 11 minutes remaining. Again, Lodi’s push was brief as McFarland countered with five straight points, including a 3-pointer by senior Austin Ackerman, and took a 24-19 lead into the break.
It was a case of déjà vu to start the second half. A jumper by Kolinski, who scored 10 points, cut the deficit to 24-21 within the opening minute but again McFarland answered. The Spartans countered with seven straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from senior Phillip Robinson, to go up 31-21 with 15:45 remaining.
Robinson canned three of his five 3-pointers in the second half as the 6-foot-1 guard scored a game-high 16 points. The Blue Devils battled back to cut the deficit down 38-34 with 9:20 left following a floater by senior Carter Breunig, only to have Robinson answer with a 3-pointer a minute later.
Breunig helped trim the lead to 43-38 with a baby hook, but again Robinson came up big, burying another 3-pointer to push the Spartans advantage back to 46-38 with 5:30 remaining and the Spartans never let the lead dip below eight down the stretch.
“He was a good player — credit him because he made some plays,” Hauser said. “Whenever it was kind of close, he seemed to make a big 3.”
Along with Robinson’s 3-point shooting, the Spartans’ defensive pressure frustrated the Blue Devils all game long. McFarland clamped down on Lodi in the backcourt and made bringing the ball up the court difficult for the entire 36 minutes. While Hauser credited the Spartans with rotating well, he noted how passive the Blue Devils were.
“We looked like robots sometimes,” he said. “We need guys to just make plays and that’s the big thing. They just have to be more aggressive and make plays.”
Along with Kolinski, senior Canyon Bacon scored 13 points but were the only players in double figures. Hauser said the Blue Devils need to find more offensive production and a player to take over, and he knows that the team will need to find one quickly.
“There has to be sense of urgency,” he said. “We have conference play Friday night, two days to get better and we just have to keep working to get better.”
The Blue Devils will look to get out of their funk Friday night when they host Lakeside Lutheran in a Capitol North Conference opener.
MCFARLAND 60, LODI 49
Lodi 19 30 — 49
McFarland 24 36 — 60
LODI — Bacon 6 0-0 13, Kolinski 2 6-7 10, Scola 1 0-0 2, Persike 3 0-0 7, Steinhoff 4 0-0 8, Car. Breunig 3 0-0 6, Furniss 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 6-7 49.
MCFARLAND — Herbst 2 0-0 5, Patchin 2 0-0 4, Butler 2 3-3 7, Hanson 1 0-0 2, Ackerman 1 0-0 3, Chislom 7 1-3 15, Robinson 5 1-3 16, Wanta 1 0-1 2, Toennies 2 1-2 6. Totals 23 6-12 60.
3-point goals — L 4 (Bacon 1, Lins 1, Persike 1, Furniss 1), McF 8 (Herbst 1, Ackerman 1, Robinson 5, Toennies 1). Total fouls — L 16, McF 12. Fouled out — Bacon.