BASKETBALL

Spartans lose home opener, 70-58

DeRon Talley
East Ascension first-year head coach Barry Whittington talks to the Spartans during a timeout in Monday's loss to Denham Springs. Photo by DeRon Talley.

The East Ascension Spartans boys’ basketball team (3-4) lost its home-opener Monday night to Denham Springs, 70-58, in a game where freshman guard Shedrick Smith netted 25 points.

First-year head coach Barry Whittington said the team’s effort was okay, but he believes his team could’ve played harder and smarter in certain spots during the game.

“We just have to learn within the game what to do and what not to do and how teams are playing us,” Whittington said. “Who are their better players and how they score.”

The Spartans scored first in the game and their 2-0 lead would be the only time the scoreboard favored them through the remainder of the night.

At the end of the first quarter, Denham Springs led the Spartans 17-13. But in the second quarter, the away team got hot and rained 3-pointers and upped the pace to stretch the lead to 39-23, holding the Spartans to only six points in the second quarter.

However, Whittington said he sent a positive message at the half.

“I went in on a positive note and told them what we needed to correct,” Whittington said. “A lot of the points they scored were in transition.”

Whittington’s message was delivered as Smith carried the Spartans within seven points going into the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points of his own in the third quarter.

The Spartans have a young roster, led by Shedrick, two other freshmen starters, a sophomore and a junior starter. However, Whittington said that’s not to be used as a crutch.

“If you’re out there, you are expected to win,” Whittington said about all of his guys.

“That’s what we’re out here to do. We’re not out here to learn how to win next year; we’re out here to learn how to win right now.”

“Everybody says this is a rebuilding year, but I’ve never bought into that. That’s not in my fiber to think about rebuilding. I want to win every game,” Whittington said.

Monday night’s loss was the first time the Spartans had been at home, and the team won’t return home until Dec. 15 to host Tara. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.