By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – After a rough start, Yukon put together a furious finish, but came up on the short end, falling to Moore 52-46 Tuesday night in the season and Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference opener in Yukon.
The Millers opened the Kevin Ritter era with in the opener against Moore, struggling on offense, while playing good defense. YHS held Moore to only 22 points in the first half, but missed shots and turnovers led the the Millers scoring only 15.
“Defensively, we weren’t terrible,” Ritter said. “Offensively, that was probably the worst I have ever seen a group of mine in my life. And, that was an individual thing, it was a team thing.
“We didn’t make shots the first half and then is became a one-on-one show,” he said. “And we are not good as individuals. We will need to go back and fix things in practice. We will talk as coaches and figure it out, but offensively that is not going to work. Moore’s defensive was not that good tonight, we just played bad on offense.
“I felt we were playing one-on-one, we weren’t sharing the ball. The ball would move, we would make one pass and the guy would shoot it or he had to hold it, then try and make his move. When we are good, we move the ball and it doesn’t stop.”
The Millers trailed 40-24 going into the fourth quarter and used Austin Henry trey made it 40-27 in the opening 30 seconds.
Moore answered with a 5-0 run on a pair of field goals from German Harruison to take a 45-27 lead.
Treys from Michael Clanton and Sanford Arnett cut the lead to 12, 45-33 and after a Moore turnover, Clanton hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 10.
The Millers cut the lead to nine, 48-39 on a shot from Carson Price and a trey from Austin Olea made it 50-42 with 42 seconds remaining. Clanton hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to make it a 52-44 game and he hit a 12-foot jumper with 10 seconds left to cut the lead to six.
“Defensively, was better than I thought, but we still have a long ways to go on offense on getting good shots,” Ritter said. “If you watched, they made us work on offense, but we didn’t make them work on defense. It was like quick shot and run the other way. That is going to be a bad recipe for us.”
Both teams got off to a sluggish start. The Millers hit only two of 12 shots from the floor and were zero of five from behind the three-point arc. Moore did hit four of 10 shots from the field and led 9-4 after the opening eight minutes.
Moore opened a 13-4 lead after scoring the first four points of the second quarter, then used a trey from Ricky Jones to open a 16-6 advantage.
A pair of free throws and a field goal from Olea made it a 19-12 game. But, Beau Archer hit the third trey for the Lions and a 22-12 lead.
A Carson Price trey with 1:46 remaining was the final points of the half and the Millers trailed 22-15.
“We did panic a little bit early in the game after we missed shots,” Ritter said. “The first quarter we had some decent shots and open looks that we have to knock down. Carson had a couple of open looks really early and if hit those it could have been a different game because Moore was not hitting their shots either.
“At one time we were five of 24 shooting in the first half,” he said. “That is justr a bad recipe. We couldn’t run our offense. We have three plays right now and we couldn’t run those plays.
“We need to play faster. When we get the ball we need to push the ball and shoot it fast. We didn’t push the ball in the first half. Mike started to push the ball in the second half and we got them on their heels. We are not very good in the half court and if we don’t push the tempo or we will be in trouble.”
The Millers shot 14 of 36 from the floor (six of 127 from three-point range) and was 10 of 12 from the line.
Clanton led the YHS scoring with 13 (eight coming from the free throw line). Berg, Price and Olea add seven each and Carvell McKinley four.
Moore hit 19 of 39 shots from the field and was 10 of 24 from the line. Archer led the way with 21 points and Jones added nine.
The Millers will host Norman on Tuesday in their second game. The contest will also be homecoming.
“I told the players this was a big lump of adversity and what are we going to do with it,” Ritter said. “Norman is a step up in Ability. I am not kocking Moore, but Norman is a good group.
“The second game is usually a lot better and the most improvement is made between the first game and the second,” he added. “We are going to have to be a lot better on offense. If we score 40 points, we are not going to beat many teams. We have to be able to score the ball and shoot it a lot better. A lot of it will have to be offensive execution, we have to be better.”