Bettendorf called a timeout midway through the second quarter of a close game with Burlington during Friday night’s Mississippi Athletic Conference contest.
But Bulldogs boys basketball coach Curtis Clark was not part of the huddle.
Instead, Clark sat on the bench and let his seniors run the huddle for the full timeout. While Clark’s team responded after that and eventually went on to defeat the winless Grayhounds, 60-47, the coach was trying to send a message to his team.
“We just have some inexperience, and I need some guys to take some ownership and leadership in this. We are getting down to the end of the season where some of these seniors need to take the lead,” Clark said. “They know what we want them to do, and they know how to do it. But they weren’t doing it.”
Likely among the things that irked Clark were his team’s inability to defend the 3-point line and it getting out-hustled for rebounds and loose balls. The Grayhounds nailed four 3-pointers in the first quarter and a half and also snagged nine rebounds to just five for the hosts.
After a driving jump shot from Burlington’s Brendon Hale to leave Bettendorf with just an 18-16 edge with 4 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half, Clark had seen enough.
“We weren’t executing what we wanted to do defensively,” Clark said.
The Bulldogs did respond after the timeout, nailing four of their final five shots of the half and holding Burlington (0-15 overall, 0-12 MAC) to just three points to push the lead out to 27-19 by the break.
“The timeout was good and was very vocal and it was multiple guys, and it was good to see that,” Clark said.
Bettendorf’s D.J. Carton, who finished with 33 points and eight rebounds, took care of the offense in the third quarter. Carton put up 14 points in the quarter to help Bettendorf eventually get out to a comfortable 47-32 edge by the start of the fourth quarter.
But no other Bulldog had more than seven points, and Bettendorf eventually gave up 10 3-pointers to Burlington. The visitors were led by Mason Leinbach who finished with 13 points while Austin Brown added another 12 points, all on 3-pointers.
With just six games remaining in the regular season and a record of 8-7 overall and 7-5 in the conference, Clark added his team needs to pull things together. It won't get any easier for Bettendorf, as the Bulldogs will to travel to The Pit on Tuesday to face a North Scott team likely to be smarting after getting pounded by Pleasant Valley on Friday.
“Honestly, it was everything. Our approach to the game, our practice previous to this, it carried over to (this game),” Clark said. “We played a good game defensively against Davenport West (a win on Tuesday), and we celebrated that night then we forgot it. I told them the same thing about tonight, we are not going to sit and dwell on this, but we have to learn from this. We will move on and prepare for North Scott. The most important thing is trying to find a way to win and get better.”