By Phil Dailey
With 5 minutes, 50 seconds to play in the third quarter, Carlsbad's Patrick Sullivan stumbled backward near his team's rim and tossed the basketball in the air. Somehow, it hit nothing but net for two points.
It was that kind of game for the Lancers, and for Bishop's, it was just the opposite at Westview High School during the final day of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.
Carlsbad couldn't miss circus-style shots and the Knights couldn't make uncontested layups. During Thursday afternoon's 52-50 loss to Carlsbad, it was apparent the Knights were a bit rusty. And despite all of the team's miscues, they still had a chance to either tie or take the lead with 2.9 seconds to play.
The loss was the team's seventh of the season, one more than all of last year.
"We shoulda beat that team," Bishop's head coach Matt Niehues said. "How many turnovers did we have in the first half? I don't know, 15? It's frustrating."
The Knights got down early and never led in the game against the Lancers (6-8 overall) and trailed 21-12 midway through the second quarter.
Despite all the miscues, missed shots and turnovers, the Knights (4-7) got within three points, 44-42, with 6:46 to play in the final frame. From there, the Lancers extended their lead once more, taking a 50-43 lead with less than two minutes to play. But the game was still within reach as Stephen Kaiser — who had 13 points on the game — knocked down a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to play, cutting the lead to 51-50. Sullivan made the front end of his two free throws to give the Lancers a two-point edge, but the Knights' last second chance came up short — a full-court pass that didn't give them a decent look at the basket.
There are several reasons Niehues points to for Bishop's sluggish start to the season, the most prominent being the team's lack of practice time. The Knights just got two of their starters back in Micha Seau and Dominque Love, both of whom were playing football until a few weeks ago. The pair combined for 25 points and 15 rebounds on the game.
Another starter, Ryan Chong, has been out with illness.
"It's about everything that's against you as a team is against you," Niehues said.
The team will continue to play a tough nonconference schedule — at Otay Ranch and at La Costa Canyon next week — before they start conference play on Jan. 14 at home against Francis Parker.
"It's gonna get better," Kaiser said. "We have been missing players and now we are getting players back and now it should only be uphill from here."
Carlsbad's Lucas Porter led all scorers with 20 points and 12 rebounds.