Boys basketball: Bunnies flounder at home, lose to Heyworth

FISHER — Thirty turnovers.

No made three-pointers.

No players in double figures.

The host Bunnies boys basketball team had a shaky outing on Friday night against Heart of Illinois Conference foe Heyworth en route to a 61-40 loss against the Hornets.

"I think Heyworth just came out, popped us in the mouth, and we hit the canvas," Fisher head coach Ron Ragle said. "I talked to them about the person they've got to please is the one they've got to look at in the mirror. I told them after this game I wanted them to look in the mirror and see if they did their part for 32 minutes."

Fisher never led, falling behind 13-3 in the first six minutes of the game. The Bunnies trailed 38-13 at halftime.

"I thought we were making good strides," Ragle said. "It's a small setback, but it's still a setback. I don't think we had the effort or energy until the third quarter. By then, it was too late."

Senior forward Tate Estes led Fisher (3-16, 2-8 HOIC) with eight points and six rebounds as the Bunnies went 0-of-15 from three-point range.

Heyworth's fullcourt zone press caused fits for the Bunnies in the first quarter. Fisher committed 10 turnovers in the first eight minutes to trail 22-5 by the time the second quarter arrived.

"That's one of the things we've been working on all season," Heyworth head coach Tom Eller said. "Up to this point, we've had spotty games where we're not making the rotations, but over the past three games, the kids are starting to get the hang of it and starting to feel more comfortable with it. When we have the confidence that our teammates can back us up and make the right rotation, we're playing a lot better defensively."

Junior guard Dallas Lee scored a game-high 14 points for Heyworth (10-7, 6-4), which had 11 players fill up the scoring column.

Estes, senior forward Hans Carmien, along with junior guards Kyle Williams and Brody Farrar, were plagued with foul trouble from the first quarter on for the Bunnies.

Carmien picked up his second foul with 3:06 left in the opening quarter, and Williams followed suit 20 seconds later.

"They have some very good players, and that was obviously a big key for us in the first half having a couple of their players on the bench," Eller said. "We knew they were going to come out tough in the third quarter, though. Their starters are big and physical, so we wanted to go out, establish ourselves and do the things that were working well for us in the first half."

Carmien (seven points), junior forward Colton Eby (six points) and senior guard Nick Thomas (four points, seven rebounds) chipped in, but the Bunnies struggled mightily in their first game in six days.

"Fisher was outplayed, outcoached (and) outhustled the entire night," Ragle said. "I give Heyworth all the credit. Their kids play hard. We knew what was coming. We just didn't do anything that we practiced."

The Bunnies will have a quick chance to put this defeat behind them. Fisher opens the McLean County/HOIC Tournament at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Ridgeview against a Blue Ridge squad it nearly beat before losing 64-59 at home on Dec. 7.

"We talked in the (locker room) about what we're taking from this game is lessons learned and flush everything else," Ragle said. "They want to have a shootaround and a walkthrough (Saturday) morning, and they'd like to watch film. They're looking at it, and we'll try figure it out from there."
mdaniels@rantoulpress.com

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