Men's basketball struggling on the glass
By Donnie Williams - Staff Reporter
Highline lost its third men's basketball game in a row last Wednesday against South Puget Sound College, 79-68, who are undefeated in conference play and the No. 1 team in the Western Conference.
The Thunderbirds were out-rebounded, making it the third consecutive game in which they couldn't win on the glass.
"We have to emphasize it [rebounding] every day," said Coach Che Dawson. "We have to get the players to understand its importance. After that, desire has to start from within."
Starting guard Neil Green had a memorable performance against the Clippers. He led the team with a season high 21 points.
Forward David Harris trailed closely with 20 points, as well as leading the team in rebounds with seven.
But it wasn't enough as the team shot only 39.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from behind the three-point line. Too many missed shots ultimately cost them the game.
"We have not been shooting well lately," said Coach Dawson. "A lot of it is mental. Ironically, the harder you try to make shots, the less it happens. We need to focus more on other aspects of the game."
The Thunderbirds were handed their fourth loss last Saturday by the third place Tacoma Titans, 80-73.
Harris shot 61.9 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from behind the three-point line against the Titans, leading the team with 33 points and 14 rebounds.
But again, the team only shot 38.4 percent from the field and a mere 22.6 percent from behind the three-point line, missing too many shots to keep pace with the Titans.
In preparation for the stretch of conference play ahead and potentially the playoffs, Coach Dawson wants his team to bear down. "Our attention to detail and consistent effort needs to improve," he said
The Thunderbirds' recent losses now have them placed at fifth in the Western Conference at 3-6, tied with Pierce College. With only five conference games left in the regular season, Highline needs to win most of these games, if not all of them in order to make the playoffs. Centralia, sitting at 5-4 and in fourth place, is the Thunderbirds' target to beat for a spot in the playoffs.
Highline played against Gray's Harbor College last night, but game results weren't available at press time. The next game will be at Green River College on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m.