Isiah Carson’s long halftime talk with his Springfield boys basketball team left no time to warm up before the second half.
The Wildcats didn’t need it.
Carson’s words about defense produced a hot start and Springfield broke away from a two-point lead with a dominant third quarter Tuesday night and on to a 58-44 nonconference victory over Kenton Ridge.
“If we don’t play defense good, it kind of messes up our offense because we’re not in much of a flow because most of our points come off the defensive end,” Wildcats senior Ryan Minney said.
Minney, who missed most of the first half in foul trouble, scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter. The Wildcats (12-9) forced the Cougars (7-13) into nine turnovers and outscored them 24-10 to build a 41-25 lead.
Kenton Ridge, which was led by Jonah Colvin’s 12 points, put the Wildcats on the defensive by keeping the tempo slow in the first half.
“Second half – it’s probably what he talked about at halftime – they were able to increase the tempo and we didn’t help ourselves with the number of turnovers we had,” Cougars coach Kris Spriggs said. “They were able to get out in transition and get some easy buckets.”
Minney said defense and tempo were part of the halftime conversation, but that there was more to it than that.
“Come out and play hard and more together as a team,” he said. “A little bit of selfishness in the first half, everybody’s not clicking as much, so we just wanted to come out strong in the second half and pick up the intensity level.”
Carson was happy to win, but he wasn’t happy that there was only one quarter to be happy about.
“We just didn’t play well at all tonight,” Carson said. “It’s pretty disappointing. We’ve got to do some things to get better. We’ve been playing better than we did tonight that’s for sure. I guess we weren’t up for it.”
The Cougars were missing post players Chase Black and Corey Reed because of sickness, but they still led 11-9 after one quarter as the Wildcats missed a few easy shots near the basket. Then Minney went to the bench with 7:44 left in the half with his second foul when he reached in near midcourt.
“We came out slacking and underestimating the team we were going against,” Minney said. “That’s why we came out so slow.”