Olney’s first trip to the regional tournament since 2002 ended early at the hands of the Collinsville Pirates on Friday, Feb. 28, at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum in Abilene. The Cubs fell to Collinsville 61-50 after giving up too many fourth quarter runs and letting the game slip away.
Collinsville led 17-11 after one quarter and 30-24 at the half. In the third the Cubs made up a lot of ground and made the game exciting. Heading into the final frame Olney was down by one, 43-42. Unfortunately that was as close as the Cubs would come to tasting victory at Moody Coliseum.
“Collinsville is a team that went on runs, and they went on a 6-0 run and then a 9-0 run,” Coach Carl Pennington said. “We never recovered from it. We had the opportunities, but we missed back-to-back layups.”
Another contributing factor in the loss, Pennington said, came in the form of early foul trouble for two of Olney’s main point-earners: juniors Tanner Thompson and Cooper Pulliam.
“Cooper came out hot and Tanner’s game is driving to the goal,” Pennington said, noting that once each player got three fouls they had to be taken out of the rotation more than he would have preferred.
During the game, the Cubs sent Collinsville to the line 16 times and the Pirates made all but seven of those shots. The Cubs were allowed only seven extra-point attempts, of which they landed six.
In the regional tournament, Robert Colgan led the Cubs with 19 points, followed by Thompson with 13, Pulliam with 11, Ethen Guerra with six and Lane Spivey with one.
As for the season, Pennington said it was definitely one to remember. Heading into the season in the fall, Pennington said few people expected much from this group of Cubs, but they were all proven wrong.
“They picked us to finish third in district, and we won district and went to the regional tournament,” Pennington said. “I think we exceeded all expectations. The kids kept believing and playing hard. I told them if they kept believing in themselves things will happen and it did for us this season.”
Now he and the Cubs are already looking at the 2014-2015 season, hoping to replicate this year’s success and improve even more. Those improvements are entirely possible considering Olney’s five starters are all juniors who plan to come back in the fall of 2014. The team is losing just one senior, Zack Ballard.
“I’d like to thank Zack for bringing toughness to the team,” Pennington said.
That toughness will come in handy over the next several months as the rest of the team, and those looking to move up, will already be hard at work.
“Everyone has to have a good offseason and pre-season to get better,” the coach said. “We have to have a better bench and can’t rely on the starters for all the points next year.”