The more players involved on a basketball court, the better the opportunities are for offensive success.
That sentiment has been rehashed by countless coaches and ignored by plenty of pompous players.
However, if Tuesday’s game is a sign of things to come, the Cheyenne boys team understands that sharing can go a long way.
“Our offense is predicated on sharing the ball,” Desert Shields coach Teral Fair said. “We want to have balanced scoring every night. The kids do a great job of sharing the ball and recognizing who is hot and try to get them involved.”
With a steady attack led by an array of scorers, Cheyenne embraced the team-first formula to outlast Faith Lutheran 58-48 in a Division I-A Sunset League opener.
“We came out a little slow but picked up the intensity in the second quarter,” Fair said. “It kind of built throughout the game. I thought we played pretty hard the rest of the way.”
Controlling the game’s tempo for most of the first quarter, the Crusaders (3-8, 0-1) created 11 first-half turnovers and led by as many as seven points in the period.
“Our normal attack on the zone is to penetrate the lane and get to the basket,” Fair said. “We’re not a jump-shooting team. Our style is built on getting the free-throw line by attacking the basket and playing up-tempo when teams go zone.”
Edward Shaw’s 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in the second quarter capped an 11-2 run by Cheyenne (4-3, 1-0) that put the Desert Shields up 23-18 at halftime.
Faith Lutheran, relying heavily on its perimeter shooting, failed to recover.
Shooting 16 percent (2-for-12) from the 3-point arc in the first three quarters, the Crusaders’ inability to convert timely baskets allowed the Desert Shields to build a 14-point lead.
Faith Lutheran cut its deficit to eight with less than two minutes to go, but Cheyenne went 8-for-8 on free throws in the final minute.
“My assistant and I had joked the other day at practice that we can’t wait to have a team that is great from the free-throw line,” Fair said. “That hasn’t necessarily been one of our strengths in year’s past. It was great tonight.”
Stephen Miller had 14 points, Shaw 11 and Juwan Washington 10 for Cheyenne.
D’Khari Hicks and Sam Stevens scored 10 points each to lead the Crusaders, who converted 22 of 26 free throws. Austin Ortwein added nine points for Faith Lutheran.