Miscues doom Wildcats as losing streak continues

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald

CJ Weldon (10) is surrounded by Lowndes defenders during the first half of Edgewood’s loss on Friday night.

Edgewood turned the ball over 29 times Friday night as it fell to Lowndes Academy 36-26 in the area opener. The Wildcats fell to 6-11 on the season and extended their season-long losing streak to five games.

“We’re going to see pressure until we can show we can handle the pressure,” Edgewood coach Jay Adams said. “We have shooters but no one is going to sit there and let them shoot. The next step for us is trying to work on that. That’s all we work on in practice.”

Kenzie Johnston knocked down a 3-pointer in the first quarter to put the Wildcats ahead 5-2 but the lead did not last long. Edgewood didn’t score for the remainder of the quarter and didn’t make another shot from beyond the arc in the first half.

The Wildcats stayed within striking distance in the second quarter and tied the game at 13 with 2:59 to go in the half after a basket from senior Avery Roberts. Lowndes scored the final five points of the half to retake the lead and didn’t give it up for the rest of the night.

“We did some things well,” Adams said. “Defensively, we only gave up 36 which is okay. But it’s like pulling teeth out when we talk about getting the ball in the basket.”

The struggles on offense were contagious and even affected the leading scorers for the Wildcats. After knocking down five 3-pointers during Tuesday’s loss to Lee-Scott, CJ Weldon struggled to find the basket.

Weldon’s only 3-pointer Friday cut the lead to two points with 5:58 to go in the third quarter but the Wildcats went cold again. Edgewood did not make another field goal for the next 7:55 of the game, allowing the Rebels to extend their lead to double digits.

“We talk about getting the 3-pointer after getting the layups,” Adams said. “You’re not going to get 3-pointers until after you get to the free throw line. We don’t understand that at all right now. When we do, we’re going to get some more jump shots.”

Johnston had the only field goal for the remainder of the game for the Wildcats, cutting the Lowndes lead to eight points with just over six minutes to go in the game. Roberts added five free throws but it was not enough to overcome the team’s poor shooting and turnovers.

Roberts led the team with 11 points and shot 6 of 8 from the free throw line. She added four rebounds and two assists in the game.

“Avery played her best game of the season so far,” Adams said. “She looked the most comfortable with the ball in her hands and a defender in front of her. We have to find a way to get her to the line. It’s good to see her get that kind of game because she’s been working toward it for a long time.”

With area play in full swing, the Wildcats will need to find solutions on offense if they want to make some noise in the postseason. Adams said    he wants his players to calm down with the ball and be patient for a good shot.

“We talk about how basketball is not about seeing what’s happening but seeing what’s about to happen,” Adams said. “We aren’t at that point. We are talking about getting the ability to see what’s going to happen and we have to focus on the things we do well.”