The Tolar boys basketball squad didn’t have its sharpest outing of the season Friday night, but the Rattlers still had more than enough firepower to down Clifton on the road, 51-36.
Tolar (8-3) was outscored 11-7 in the opening quarter and scored only eight in the third, but a big second quarter and fourth quarter buried the Cubs.
“We looked like we were playing a team we beat by 30 before,” said Tolar coach Kent Caruthers, who corrected himself later and noted his Rattlers downed Clifton by 22 (51-29) recently in the Dublin tournament.
“We got behind early and fought back hard. We let them stay in the game the whole time. We are not making real good decisions with the basketball right now. I just think we’re trying to force it too much. We’re not being patient when we have to be.”
Ty Johnston led Tolar with 15 points, hitting five baskets from 3-point range. Teammate Jacob Phillips added 11.
The Rattlers are still dealing with the fact they’re missing three players because of injuries. Riley Osterman is out six weeks with a broken hand. Gideon Sanders had an MRI recently that revealed three bulging discs in his back (he will see a surgeon and make a decision about possible surgery), and Justin Brown, who has played sporadically despite a knee problem (ACL) and is unable to practice regularly.
Brown could be available in upcoming games but each instance will be a game-time decision, Caruthers said.
Caruthers said he expects to move up one player from the junior varsity this week to add depth.
The Rattlers have been making the majority of their turnovers when trying to force passes inside against zone defenses, and their ball movement has been lacking, Caruthers said.
“Most of the time we have played hard, we’re just not playing smart,” he said.
Tolar 7 20 8 16 – 51
Clifton 11 6 10 9 – 36
Tolar (8-3) scorers – Ty Johnston 15, Jacob Phillips 11, Corbin Wood 7, Landon Morris 5, Tyler Pruitt 5, Zack Hasegawa 5, T.J. Foster 3.
Clifton leading scorer – Pilcher 10.
Free throws – Tolar 11-21, Clifton 4-11.
Tolar 3-pointers – Johnston 5, Hasegawa 1.