Ailing Raptors squad drops game to Dundalk 69-59

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When any team has multiple key players down and out from action, the “next man up” mentality is forced into action. That mentality has always been the case in collegiate athletics, as was the case for Coach James Bryson and his Raptors when they faced the Lions in Dundalk in an away game Wednesday night. After suffering a 69-59 loss to a struggling Lions team, that resolve, depth, and on-the-fly experience will surely be tested in the games to come.

Closely trailing for the better part of both halves, the Raptors played with consistent aggressiveness on defense and made the necessary scouting adjustments to keep the game very close with a thin roster. Point guard Alex Chike held down the Lions’ most consistent threat, point guard Kamani Jordan, playing tight perimeter defense all night. Chike also made many strong drives to the basket for the majority of his 14 points. However, the several lay ups and put-backs which 13 and his teammates frequently missed that night were all, in large part, contributors to the final score.

Head coach James Bryson reiterated the frustration of the Raptors’ small miscues. “Missed layups, blown assignments here and there, missed free-throws… All of those are reasons why we lost tonight.” Even with the loss, Bryson feels confident that his players can and will turn the two-game slump around. “With all of those mistakes, if we just fixed those errors, we would be talking about a ten-point win right now. We will circle the wagons, make the adjustments, and get ready for [Prince George Community College].”

That PGCC game, of course, is looked at as one of the most hyped of the 26-game season. With two games to go in the regular season, the Raptors have to start getting momentum to start wearing purple again, or the fifth-seeded team may go into the next round looking for more answers than having them. However, with all of that pressure, the players exuded a calm, collected, and patient attitude after a tough loss.

Niqcardo “Nico” Calhoun, the Raptors’ shooting guard, has full confidence in his teammates’ morale and resolve and insisted they will do more than what is required to improve. “This team goes hard. That’s our motto. We go so hard, but we could definitely go harder. We can always play harder. Better shot selection is something Coach really stressed, and I know we’ll pull it together. Chike and the guys always have smart ball-movement. He’ll find us and we’ll put the shots down.”

Alex Chike not only had the same high-regard sentiments about his head coach, but went further to challenge his teammates by emphasizing how much the next game against PG really means. “Everything Coach said to us after the game is dead-on. This is on us, [the players]. The inexperienced guys have to play better, and the older guys who have been out there have to step up even more.”

“We have not lost three [games] in a row this season,” Chike also pointed out. “A win against PG would speak volumes. Not just for that streak, but because they have been a big rival since what seems like the beginning of time.”