During the first half of Eisenhower’s CBBN game with Moses Lake on Friday night, the Chiefs’ point guard took got the ball at the top of the key and passed it to his left.
It was probably what coach John Hohman wanted him to do against Ike’s 2-3 zone, to reverse the ball, except that the pass went perhaps two feet over the head of the intended receiver and into the stands.
“Oh, my,” Hohman said to no one in particular, after which he clasped both hands on top of his head and gazed toward the Ike Gym ceiling.
Coach, Colton Monti could feel your pain.
And then some.
Monti’s Cadets made their own share of unforced errors and missed a bundle of open shots, and also remained winless with a 56-35 loss to the Chiefs.
At that, however, there were signs of encouragement for the former Central Washington guard and second-year Ike coach. who this season has endured a senior-less team hampered by multiple injuries and suspensions.
“I was really happy with our effort,” he said quietly outside the Cadets’ locker room. “I thought the guys competed and actually put themselves in a position to win the game. And if we hadn’t shot whatever we shot in the first half (6 for 27, or 22 percent) and made a few of the six layups we missed, we’d have come a lot closer.”
And at least Monti believes he now has a group of players who, though young (no seniors) and inexperienced, will listen to what he and assistant coach Humberto Perez tell them, and move the program forward despite taking their lumps.
“I have two players who before this season had never played organized basketball for Eisenhower,” Monti said. “And they started tonight.”
While the Cadets struggled throughout the game offensively, shooting 32 percent (15 of 46), and were outrebounded 43-20, there were bright spots.
Junior point guard Anthony Tafoya, who Monti has been training to take care of the ball and run the offense, committed only two of Ike’s 17 turnovers. And Tyler Sawyer, promoted from the JV team and into a varsity starting slot, led the Cadets with nine points.
Andy Soto, a 6-foot-4 junior and Ike’s leading scorer at 12.3 points a game, hustled throughout but struggled against Moses Lake’s (2-3, 2-6) tall and quick front line.
The Chiefs had only one double-digit scorer, but agile 6-4 senior Denis Ulyanchuk rolled up 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting and also grabbed 19 rebounds — nine on the offensive glass.
“It’s tough on the kids when they’re working hard but still aren’t getting results,” Monti said. “The important thing, though, is that they’re buying into what we’re teaching here. And we’re trying to build the program the right way, finding the kids who want to work in practice and play hard. Hey, losing is hard, but there are a lots of things about life that aren’t easy or pleasant.”
And of course there’s always the bigger picture.
Just before the starting lineups were introduced, Monti’s wife Taryn walked into the gym carrying their 6-month-old daughter, Brooklyn. The coach gave his wife a hug, then lifted the blanket in the baby carrier and gave his daughter a kiss.
MOSES LAKE — Rubio 2, Sutherland 8, Baker 7, Chavez 0, Denis Ulyanchuk 24, Ballard 3, Hirz 8, Martinez 0, Earl 1, Hohman 3. Totals 20-43 14-27 56.
EISENHOWER — Tafoya 3, Sawyer 9, Hinman 2, Gomez 4, Soto 6, Stebbins 2, Gefre 2, Harris 7, Adams 0. Totals 15-46 3-9 35.
Moses Lake 15 21 7 13 — 56
Eisenhower 9 6 11 9 — 35
Shooting percentages — FG: ML .465, Ike .326; FT: ML .519, Ike .333. 3-point goals — ML 2-9 (Sutherland 1-4, Martinez 0-1, Ulyanchuk 0-1, Hohman 1-3); Ike 2-10 (Tafoya 1-4, Sawyer 1-1, Hinman 0-2, Soto 0-1, Harris 0-2). Fouled out — Soto. Rebounds — ML 43 (Ulyanchuk 19); Ike 20 (Soto 5). Turnovers — ML 23, Ike 17. Total fouls — ML 13, Ike 25.