CUYAHOGA FALLS — It has been an ongoing problem for years.
And Todd Taylor is doing everything he can to solve it.
"The confidence has been an issue since day one," the first-year Cuyahoga Falls head boys basketball coach said. "Our kids will feed off of confidence. If they don’t have it, that’s where they spiral down."
Sadly for Taylor, that’s exactly what happened last Friday.
Thanks to a woeful shooting night and a disturbing 18 turnovers, the host Black Tigers lost to Wadsworth 49-30 at Coach Tom Jones Court.
With the loss, Falls dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the Suburban League National Conference. The Grizzlies improved to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the National Conference.
The Black Tigers trailed much of the way, but the game got away from them in the third quarter.
Wadsworth outscored Falls 16-2 in the period and was able to get a number of points on cuts to the basket for layups. As a result, the Grizzlies led 37-19 and didn’t look back.
"They just manhandled us on the defensive end," Taylor said. "That third quarter, they kicked our butts, which is just so frustrating. We haven’t won a league game in a couple years. These kids try and they try. We’ll get there, but I don’t know when. We’ll just keep plugging away."
Freshman guard Solomon Callaghan led Wadsworth with 11 points and senior guard Sam Bingham and 6-foot-5 junior forward Owen Simmons contributed 10 and eight points, respectively, for the Grizzlies, who did just about whatever they wanted when they wanted in the second half.
Such a fact didn’t sit well with Taylor.
"We knew if we come in here and took care of the basketball, rebound the basketball and ran our offense, we have a chance," he said. "They beat us on the defensive end. We didn’t guard the ball well. We’re disappointed, but we’ll get ready for the next one."
Junior guard/forward Brennan Guerin scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Black Tigers, who have not finished with a winning record since the 2013-14 season. That was also the last time Falls won a division title, which took place when it was a member of the Northeast Ohio Conference’s River Division.
"I told the kids my frustration is for them because I want them to win so badly," Taylor said. "I want to see them succeed. We lost the game with our mental approach.
"We’re really trying to work on that attitude. You’re going to make mistakes. Move on to the next play. You’re not going to always make them, but I can’t accept laying down on the defensive end."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.