The postgame breakdown last Saturday didn’t take long from Tony Bacon.
His Glen Mills team didn’t compete early, got behind, and despite playing Octorara fairly even for the last three quarters until the starters exited, there was no hope of recouping a 16-point deficit after one quarter en route to an 80-54 loss in the District One title game.
That loss sends the Battlin’ Bulls (18-7) out west to take on District 3 third seed Susquehanna Township in Friday’s PIAA Class AAA opener (Harrisburg High, 8 p.m.).
The performance against Octorara highlighted a lot of things that Glen Mills can’t do if it wants to be successful against a quality opponent. It can’t start that slowly, outscored 27-11 after one quarter. It can’t have just two players (Khyzeem Brown and Anthony Johnson) involved on the offensive end.
Glen Mills will get a stiff test in trying not to replicate that effort against Susquehanna (21-6), which lost in last season’s Class AAA final to Neumann-Goretti. Seven seniors return with experience from that team, while the Indians were the top seed in the District 3 tournament before falling in the semis to eventual champion Steelton-Highspire.
The biggest edge for the Indians may be in the backcourt, with junior point guard Nehemiah Mack, senior DeJour Williams and 6-4 Joe Marshall, all of whom can score. Johnson is likely to have to deal with 6-6 power forward Quintin Ward in the low post.
What the Bulls need is for more than two players to step up on both ends. Steven Welsh can’t be muted to six points as he was against Octorara. Tyrique Lyons, Imhotep Davis and Nazher Sabree can’t shoot a combined 4-for-18, many of them missed far too near the basket. Johnson, for that matter, can’t take 15 shots to get to 16 points.
The more important part of the process, though, is not letting Susquehanna dictate terms from the start as Octorara did.
“Just come prepared,” Brown said last Saturday. “Play with your heart. We need to give our all next game because we lose in states and we’re done. I’m trying to have a championship and not see another team win the championship.”