PINCKNEY — After getting out to an 11-1 lead early in the first quarter, the Pinckney boys basketball team had to withstand a rally by their visitors from Tecumseh.
The Indians hit a pair of 3s in the final seven seconds of the first quarter to close to within two, 13-11.
“We needed to start off good,” guard Evan Fackler said. “Our energy was kind of low in our last couple practices. We fell apart a little toward the end of the first quarter and we came back. After that, we never let off the gas.”
Indeed, the Pirates outscored Tecumseh 21-2 in the second quarter and didn’t allow the Indians another field goal until the final seconds of a 64-26 victory.
“Obviously, it was good that we held them to free throws,” Pinckney coach Tom Reason said. “That was nice. I know Tecumseh has a brand new coach, and he’s trying to teach them an entirely new system in three weeks, which is relatively impossible. I remember my first year as coach, when we were trying to put in a system. I know how difficult it is.”
The Indians hurt themselves early, too, with foul trouble. The first quarter saw the Indians commit nine fouls to Pinckney’s six, and Tecumseh coach Mike Ruhl let his frustration be known often, to the point where he picked up a technical foul late in the half.
By then it was 34-15 and the Pirates were on their way.
The Indians had no answer for the speed of Pinckney guards Fackler (18 points), Kyle O’Donoghue (16) and Connor Chynoweth (seven), who jump-started the Pirates fast break over and over.
“They were playing a lot of perimeter pressure,” Reason said of the Indians. “So you’re opening up those driving lanes pretty easily. Their center didn’t step over to help, and if he had, our center probably would have had 20 points.”
The Indians also had trouble getting open for good shots missed all but one of them in the final three quarters.
“I think some of that is us and some of that is Tecumseh learning a brand new system,” Reason said. “Where do the shots come from? Where does the flow go? And they’re learning that against a real defense. They had two scrimmages, like we did, and so they’ve only done it a couple of times. It’s live and you’re on the road, and there’s a lot of factors in that.”
The Pirates offense, which relies heavily on transition, was more potent than last season, which Fackler took as a good sign.
“We have offense this year,” he said, “and if we keep playing defense like that, we’ll have a solid year. We have a lot of fast guards and we’ve been working on getting out and getting easy buckets since we don’t have a dominant big man to throw it in to.”
‘Our big thing is effort,” Reason said, “and our front six or seven played with good effort tonight. That’s the most important thing.”
The Pirates will see more of Tecumseh next year when they rejoin the Southeastern Conference, of which Tecumseh is a longtime member.