Dec. 2—RALEIGH — One problem that has plagued Henderson Collegiate in their first few games of the 2021-22 season has been a lack of energy at the start of the third quarter.
Facing a tough Ravenscroft team on the road Wednesday, Henderson Collegiate trailed by only five points at the intermission only to have the third quarter inconsistencies stymie the offense and defense, resulting in a 16-point deficit.
By the time Henderson Collegiate re-established their cohesion in the fourth quarter, the damage had already been done and the program returned to Henderson with a 64-56 loss; their fifth of the year.
"We have to fix the third quarter," head coach George Marshall said. "There are things that myself and the coaches need to do a little bit better so the energy is more ramped up for the third. I'd rather play in this type of intense game than any other because they will make us better and more disciplined."
The key to fixing the third quarter woes for Marshall starts with the mindset coming out of the locker room.
When Ravenscroft jumped out to their double-digit lead shortly after halftime, Marshall noticed that his players became deflated on the floor, which he said can not happen when Henderson Collegiate goes on to face equally-tough competition in the postseason.
The lack of energy caused Henderson Collegiate to become lazy with their defense and have slow rotations in Marshall's eyes, all while the team faced a consistent inability to find enough room in the paint for baskets.
While Marshall wanted his players to be more aggressive underneath the rim, he also attributed those struggles to an efficient defensive gameplan drawn up by Ravenscroft head coach Kevin Billerman.
"[Ravenscroft's] gap defense was perfect," Marshall said. "They are super well-coached and there aren't a lot of things you can say negatively about a team like Ravenscroft. They come in, have great athletes and run great sets, so the biggest thing for us is learning how to fight through that."
Marshall said the lopsided third quarter overshadowed what had been a solid start and finish for Henderson Collegiate.
He commended senior Presley Hunter for putting together his best game of the season off the bench while also signaling out junior Jhalil Fritz and sophomore Dillon Baskerville for emerging as key members of the team's rotation.
Marshall also applauded the way his team adjusted in the fourth quarter but said that the leaders of the team need to lead by example out of the locker room following halftime so that Henderson Collegiate does not find themselves in similar situations, which he plans to address in practice.
Even though Henderson Collegiate is now 3-5, Marshall said his team is much better than their record indicates due to a tough non-conference schedule that included losses to teams like Greenfield, Wilson Prep and Gaston Christian.
Marshall believes Henderson Collegiate's poor early-season record is going to mislead a lot of people, as he knows the program is on the verge of a breakthrough that will carry them on another deep postseason run.
"This is the same thing that happened when we won the whole thing [two years ago]," Marshall said. "We were 2-6 at one point that year and I am unapologetic about all of this. I'm not going to schedule weaker opponents and I'm going to go for the best of the best. These guys are so close to reaching that goal again."
A challenging weekend is in front of Henderson Collegiate. They face Winston-Salem Christian on Friday at 7 p.m. before following that up with another game on Saturday against Independence that will start at 4 p.m..