The EPJ boys ran into a Vermillion team that matched their speed and leaping ability, and took nearly twice as many shots. The result was a 31-point halftime deficit that the Huskies could not overcome.

EPJ seemed to be trying to do too much, too fast, and that led to 25 turnovers in the game. The Huskies tried to break the Tanager press by throwing the ball deep downcourt, leading to easy pickoffs and fast break points for Vermillion. Head coach Jake Otkin called an early time-out and told his team to play “under control.” Still, the Huskies played anxious on offense and Vermillion took full advantage.

Andrew Nearman led the team with 12 points. He also had 3 assists and 3 steals. Nathan Buenger had 6 rebounds and blocked 3 shots.

The boys picked up their second win of the year over in Iowa, beating the Akron-Westfield Westerners 68-39 Jan. 21.

Things did not start well for the Huskies, as they were down 0-7 midway through the first quarter. EPJ took over from there, though, going on an 11-0 run to build a lead that was never again threatened. Their defense stifled the Westerners, as EPJ picked off passes over and over again, anticipating and stepping into the passing lanes.

The Huskies kept working the ball inside, getting nice passes and not settling for 3s. Their offense showed more purpose and they scored on some easy plays.

“Overall we played really well after the first couple of minutes vs. Akron,” Otkin said. “It is the first time this year we’ve put 4 quarters together and it showed. Very proud of the guys’ effort and going out and getting a win on the road, especially when there is no shot clock. That makes it more difficult to pressure the other team into getting shots up so we can play the pace we’d like to play.”

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.