Teams usually have some time to recover after a tough loss.
Plano wasn’t able to do that after losing to Peoria Notre Dame, 57-51, in its opening game Dec. 27 during the 54th Annual Plano Christmas Classic.
That loss seemed to linger with the Reapers throughout the rest of the tournament as they suffered another tough loss the next night to Mendota, 60-57, before picking up a 52-44 win against St. Bede on Dec. 29.
Hoping to close the tournament with some momentum on Dec. 30, the Reapers fell to Princeton, 61-51 in the 13th place game.
“We’re disappointed because we came in as a No. 3 seed and thought we were a top team in the tournament,” Plano coach Kyle Kee said. “I still think we’ll be one once we get going, but after that tough loss and having to come back at 9 a.m., we never really got into our flow that we need to have to win. But we played OK against some really tough teams. We’ve lost to some quality teams.”
Plano fell behind 40-30 midway through the third quarter against Princeton, but closed its deficit to 42-38 thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Nate Shead (17 points).
“We’ve seemed to come back strong in some of these games,” Shead said. “We did that again and are coming together, but it’s been a struggle for us. The time of the games didn’t help, but I think we’ll step back up when we play again.”
Princeton apparently didn’t feel the momentum shift after Shead’s big trifectas as the Tigers scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter, culminating on consecutive three-point plays from Garrett Allen that gave the Tigers a comfortable 52-40 lead.
The Reapers weren’t able to respond to that early fourth quarter onslaught and trailed by double digits the remainder of the morning.
“Every mistake we made, Princeton seemed to bury us with it,” Kee said. “We’re getting stagnant on offense and we really struggled at times offensively. It’s just been catch and shoot and we’re not getting into the lane.”
Will Benson had 10 points and Anthony Martinez added 8 in the loss to Princeton. Shead led the team with 6 rebounds.
The Reapers shot just 30 percent (19-of-64) from the field.
“We’ve got a group here that’s relentless and smart so I think we’ll still figure things out,” Kee said. “We’ll go back into our conference season now undefeated, which is still pretty good.”
Elijah Maisonet led the Reapers with 16 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Peoria Notre Dame, while Martinez chipped in with 12 points.
The Reapers fell behind 13-4 to St. Bede after one quarter, but rallied to pick up their lone victory in the tournament.
They will now look forward to a busy week of cleaning things up in practice before heading to Herscher on Friday.
“We won the consolation last year after having a bad first game and then winning our last three games,” Kee said. “So we came out of here with some momentum. This is the opposite, but it’s not the end of the world. We have a lot of games to play and we haven’t been good at 9 [in the morning] but I told the guys that that problem is solved. We don’t have to play at 9 anymore.”