Poor condition leads to struggles, loss for Cats

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By Matt Lofgren | Correspondent

Mogadore's offense struggled all night Tuesday against neighboring Springfield, sinking just 14 baskets in suffering a 53-40 loss at home.

Wildcats coach Russ Swartz had little positive to take away from the game other than knowing that his team still has time to improve before Portage Trail Conference divisional play.

"It was a terrible performance both offensively and defensively," said Swartz, whose team fell to 2-1 on the season. "We didn't do a whole lot right at either end and did a lot of standing around. We didn't have a lot of enthusiasm and effort out there and they just took it to us."

Senior forward Brandon Morris, who led all Mogadore scorers with 10 points, also voiced his frustration after the game, saying "that was one of the worst offensive nights we've had all year" and added "we're out of shape."

Swartz seconded Morris.

"We've got into a lot better physical condition," Swartz said. "We've got to get our basketball legs under us. We don't have that yet, but we're going to work on that, trust me, real hard. We've been working on it, just takes time."

Characteristic of the Mogadore offense, the Wildcats took 16 3-pointers. But uncharacteristic of the Wildcats offense, a mere three baskets found net.

"It's always a part of our game plan (to shoot a lot of 3-pointers)," Swartz said. "We know they're bigger than us. We can knock those in and open up the drives, which we took a lot of drives too, but we didn't make those either."

Early on, it was apparent that the Spartans were dictating the pace of the game. Running a slower-tempo offense, Springfield worked the ball to every corner of the offensive court until finding success.

"Well, when you shoot as poorly as we shot and they rebounded the ball real well, which they are going to because they're bigger than us and all that, they just controlled the tempo because of that," Swartz said.

Springfield's Victor Dorsey was a big factor in the Spartans' ability to keep the Wildcats at bay. Standing at 6-foot-8, Dorsey was physical all game long and collected nine boards and added 18 points.

Every time they were in the game together, Morris had the tough task of guarding Dorsey. The matchup led to some impressive shots by both players, but Dorsey finished with the edge in the battle in the paint.

"He's a big boy," Morris said of Dorsey, who transferred to Springfield from St. Vincent-St. Mary this season. "I just tried to be physical with him and tried to push him out of the key."

Dorsey did most of his damage at the free-throw stripe. Sinking 8-of-10 free throws, the big man was a thorn in the Wildcats' paw late in the game as free throws became more crucial.

"We fouled them like crazy because we didn't move our feet," Swartz said. "Had little effort and energy and that's what happens."

As a team, Springfield (3-3 overall) sank 21-of-31 from the charity stripe. What hurt the Wildcats most, though, was how clutch the Spartans were late in the game as Mogadore attempted to mount a comeback down by 13.

In the final six minutes of the game, the Spartans sank 7-of-11 free throws to put the game on ice and preserve the win.

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