The Maize High School boys basketball team succumbed to Derby in a game on the Eagles’ home court Tuesday night.
Derby – ranked No. 6 in Class 6A, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association – prevailed 74-48. The loss dropped Maize to 0-4 on the season.
“When are we going to step up and say enough’s enough?” asked Maize coach Chris Davis. “At times we show that … but we can’t do that for 32 minutes yet.”
Derby opened Tuesday night with a 6-0 run in a game where Maize never led. Derby senior Josiah Ray hit two free throws and, one minute later, scored a field goal that gave his squad a double-digit lead, 19-9. The Panthers were ahead 22-11 at the end of the first quarter.
However, Maize went six for six at the stripe in the beginning of the second quarter, moving the score to 22-17. For a while, it seemed that each time Maize began to narrow the gap, Ray pushed the margin back to 10 points. His bucket and free throw put Derby up 27-17 and, shortly after, his basket gave the Panthers a 29-19 lead.
They were up 34-19 with 2:37 left in the first half. That’s when Maize senior Tavon Morrow turned it on. He was the only Eagle player who scored in the rest of the period, pouring in 11 points. The home team trailed just 39-30 at halftime.
Panther senior Taylor Schieber scored the first basket of the second half, but Maize junior Connor Eleeson answered with back-to-back buckets. That brought the Eagles within seven, 41-34, but that’s as close as they could manage. Derby responded with a 10-0 run and closed the third quarter with a 54-42 lead.
Davis, who is completing his first year at the helm, challenged the Maize boys to compete in the fourth quarter. He said they committed turnovers on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter at Hutchinson, and he wanted them to take it one possession at a time and get back in the game.
“We didn’t answer,” he continued. “We backed down and we weren’t mentally tough enough.”
Derby outscored Maize 20-6 in the final stanza. Davis said the Eagles did not take care of the ball.
“You can’t make mistakes against good basketball teams,” he added.
Maize has one more chance to secure a victory before Christmas break. The Eagles will play Friday, Dec. 14, at Campus.
Davis said they aren’t consistent enough, but he remained optimistic.
“That’ll come,” he said. “We’ve got good kids. We’ve just got to get tougher.”