No one can better appreciate that better than Kaplan head basketball coach Jeff Davis.
A slight change in the Pirate lineup has made all the difference in the world as the Kaplan Pirates reeled off their third straight win with a convincing 58-35 victory over the visiting North Vermilion Patriots here Friday night.
“We’ve now won three in a row,” coach Davis said. “We’ve changed the lineup and I believe that we’re starting to come together as a team.
“We really played well tonight, really well. This is one of the best games we played all year. If we keep this up, we’ll be alright.”
After building an early 10-point lead at 19-9 with 5:51 remaining in first half, the Patriots fought their way back into the game outscoring the Pirates 11 to 5 to cut the Kaplan lead to just seven points at 24-17 at the half.
“I thought we took some good shots early, but they just didn’t fall in,” head coach Jack LeBlanc of North Vermilion said. “We didn’t finish the shots. They’re (Kaplan) so athletic and they made us alter our shots. We just didn’t shoot well (tonight).
“We didn’t do a good job on the boards,” coach LeBlanc said. “Kaplan got a lot of their points on (offensive) rebounds.”
After NV cut the Kaplan lead to just five points on a Kenneth Johnson jumper to start the second half, the Pirates put the jets on outscoring the Patriots 14-2 to take a commanding 40-22 lead to end the third quarter.
Kaylan Rudd led the scoring run with seven points. The Pirate defense also limited the Patriots to just two goals in the third quarter.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments at halftime,” coach Davis said. “Our press justworked better in the second half.
“We didn’t play a lot of man to man. We mostly played two or three different types of zones, but we were able to limit them to just one shot.”
The fourth quarter was a mirror image of the third as the Pirates limited the Patriots to just two goals.
“Once Kaplan got the lead early, we just couldn’t catch up with them. They had the lead the entire game.
”We just weren’t in the game tonight,” coach LeBlanc said. “It seemed as if our minds were somewhere else.
“I guess we just didn’t do a good job of preparing them tonight. That’s my fault.”
Kaylon Rudd, Davante’ Davis and Tyler Simon led the Pirates in scoring with 11 points each.
Jeremy James led the Patriots in scoring with 10 points.
The Pirates (8-11, 3-3) travel Loreauville Tuesday to take on the Tigers Tuesday night.
The Patriots (7-11, 3-3) host the Patterson Lumberjacks Tuesday.