HUBBARD - The Hubbard Eagles' shooting percentage was almost identical to their point total, which wouldn't have been a bad thing if they had made 50 percent of their attempts.
Unfortunately, for the Eagles, they managed to make just 9-of-40 shots from the field for a 22.5 accuracy rate. It had Eagles coach Rick Fox wondering what went wrong in a 45-23 defeat to the Struthers Wildcats in an All-American Conference, American Division game Friday.
"My one coach said we shot 22 percent from the field," Fox said. "You're not going to do too much with that. We didn't run much offense. We had a really hard practice but we came out tonight and didn't get it done.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Struthers’ Ray’Quan Phifer (23) blocks the shot of Hubbard’s Ryan Angelo during the first half of their game on Friday night. The Wildcats won, 45-23.
"Give Struthers credit. They came in and had a two- or three-game losing streak, and coach (Joe) Savko had them up and ready to play. They took it to us."
The Eagles have a 1-4 record. The win increases the Wildcats' record to 3-5.
This one was headed in Struthers' direction from the moment Anthony Quattro made consecutive 3-point shots at the outset of the first quarter. The Wildcats went on to lead 13-7 after the opening quarter and 26-11 at halftime.
While the Eagles struggled from the floor, the Wildcats were 50 percent at 16-of-32. Savko was more pleased with Struthers' defensive effort.
"We've been giving up a lot of points," Savko said. "For the last few days in practice all we've been working on was getting up closer to our guy and making it harder for them to pass. Mirror the ball. Make it tougher to make passes instead of just laying off, and I think it paid off a little bit."
The Wildcats didn't allow double figures in scoring in any of the four quarters. The Eagles' largest output in a quarter was eight in the final eight minutes.
Struthers isn't accustomed to having big leads. Savko had to make sure the Wildcats kept the heat on in the second half.
"I told our kids at halftime, 'we haven't been in this position for awhile,' " Savko said. "We had the lead, and I wanted to see what we were going to do with it. It worked out well. We kept our foot on the gas and some good things happened. I saw a lot that can make our basketball team grow."
Struthers stretched its lead to 21 points (36-15) through three quarters and coasted in the fourth.
Ray'Quan Phifer led the Wildcats with 13 points. Quattro and Tommy Kimbrough both added eight points.
Larry Minotti had eight points for the Eagles.
The silver lining for Fox was the hustle he saw on the defensive end. His hope is that what happens on defense will spark some life on the offensive end.
"Everybody we've played so far this year said that we play hard," Fox said. "Tonight we just didn't do it. We have to get back to that. I told the kids that no matter what the result of the game, when we leave that court tonight we have to say we played hard and gave 100 percent. We just didn't do it tonight."
The Eagles return to action Friday at Niles McKinley.