The Stone High Tomcats basketball season came to an end in the first round of the MHSAA 4-A playoffs with a 60-48 loss to visiting Richland.
The Tomcats, who finished the season with a 19-11 record, were plagued by an inability to make shots.
“There were just stretches where we couldn’t put it in the basket,” said coach Todd Miller.
Richland built a 14-4 lead after the first quarter, but Stone roared back in the second, outscoring the Rangers 18-5 to take a 22-19 lead into the halftime locker room.
Then, the wheels came off.
Time and time again, shots from within just a few feet of the basket failed to go down while 3-pointers bounced off the rim.
“It was the same thing that plagued us all season,” Miller said.
J’saiah Brown led the Tomcats with 17 points while A.J. Petty and Cortez Dennis had 10 each. Dennis also pulled down 11 rebounds.
Brown was the only Stone player to hit from 3-point range, making three from beyond the arc.
Even though the postseason was short lived, Miller said he had been impressed with the season.
“We really had a good year considering the experience we had coming into the season,” he said. “These young men really came together as a team.”
He said the unselfishness was of the players had been a great thing to see.
“There weren’t a lot of egos,” he said. “Whoever had the hot hand, they’d get the ball to them.”
He also said the team had a unique mixture of toughness and finesse.
“We had the shooters and we had the guys from the football team who weren’t afraid to get in the paint and mix it up,” he said.
Things look bright for the Tomcats future.
“We get our two leading scorers back,” Miller said.
Dennis [17.7 ppg], who will return for his senior year, and Brown [13.4 ppg], who will be a junior, accounted for more than half of the Tomcats points this season.
Cadynce Johnson, Mike Hall and Tayshaun McDonald will also be back for their senior campaigns.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Miller said.