The Enterprise Wildcats stared back at head basketball coach Rhett Harrelson like he was nuts as they talked about a pair of losses last week to Jeff Davis in Montgomery and at home to second-ranked Robert E. Lee on Friday night.
“I told our guys, the loss against Lee felt a little bit different. It felt like we lost — and didn’t get beat,” Harrelson said.
That’s when he got those looks from the Wildcats. He explained the difference.
“At Jeff Davis, we went over there, threw some punches, landed some, but they beat us. They made more plays than we did,” Harrelson told his team.
“Against Lee at home, we beat ourselves. Not to discredit Lee at all. They make you play that style. But when you turn it over 24 times and give up 24 points off turnovers, you’re not going to beat a lot of people. That was the difference and the message to the guys.”
He noted a stretch of about four minutes when Enterprise went from leading 28-25 to trailing 35-28 in a 10-0 run.
“We had three turnovers in a row and about six turnovers in that 10-0 stretch,” Harrelson said. “We had a missed blockout, they have a couple offensive rebounds. We were fighting that uphill battle from there. … Hopefully we learn from it and come back ready to play tomorrow.”
Reviewing tape of the game showed it wasn’t the complete disaster Harrelson thought he saw on Friday night.
“Our half-court, man-to-man defense was not bad,” the coach admitted, almost reluctantly. “Our scouting report, we knew who their shooters were. We did a good job contesting their shots for the most part. We did a pretty good job, for the most part, in the half-court of not letting them get all the way to the rim. Now, in transition they were able to score off of our turnovers and get easy layups, but in the half-court defensive situation, I think we played well enough to have a chance to win the game.”
In fact, it was a one-possession game in the final two minutes before the Generals pulled away to a 50-43 victory.
“Again, the thing that frustrated me was our energy and our effort the other night,” Harrelson said. “After going back and watching, we didn’t have energy and effort because we weren’t hitting shots. That’s something a lot of teams do.
“A lot average teams, when they’re not hitting shots, aren’t able to create any energy. In order for us to take the next step and become better and start winning more games than we have been is being able to create our own energy on the defensive end with our talk, with our communication and with our hustle on the defensive end. You’ve got to let your defense get yourself and your teammates going, instead of relying on shots because there’s going to be nights where you don’t hit shots.”
Compounding the frustration was knowing Lee wasn’t particularly sharp offensively. The Generals did not make a single 3-pointer against Enterprise. That won’t happen often this season.
The Wildcats turn the page and face Jeff Davis at home Tuesday night. The JV game starts at 4:30 p.m., following by the varsity girls at 5:30 and the varsity boys at 7.
The Vols beat Enterprise 70-65 in Montgomery last week and Harrelson was impressed.
“They’ve got a 6-8 guard-forward guy named Rongie Gordon,” the coach said. “He’s going to play at UAB. He had 20 points and 16 rebounds against us. He did it all for them — rebounded, scored, brought it up the floor, was the head man on their press.”
Another big player, Jacorey Robinson, hurt the Wildcats inside with offensive rebounds and easy baskets on putbacks, Harrelson said.
“They’re big,” the coach added. “They’re the biggest team we’ve played and probably one of the biggest teams in the state,” he said. “They start about 6-8, 6-6, 6-5, 6-3 and 6-foot. They’ve got a lot of length and they play really hard.”
Enterprise plays again Friday on the road against Prattville.
The rest of Coffee County is in action this week. New Brockton played at home Monday night against Ariton. The Gamecocks play at Samson on Tuesday night in an area game, and play again Thursday at home against Goshen.
Kinston visits Florala on Tuesday and plays at home against Elba on Thursday.
Elba will be on the road three times this week. The Tigers played at Brantley on Monday, visits Kinston Thursday and travels to Opp on Saturday.
By contrast, Zion Chapel plays at home three times this week. The Rebels play Goshen on Tuesday, Red Level on Thursday and Samson on Friday.