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Poor start hampers CM in loss at Danville

DANVILLE — Most coaches preach it’s not how you start but how you finish, but Central Mountain’s shaky beginning to the game severely limited their chances of winning on the road against Danville.

The Wildcats were outscored by 16 in the first quarter and failed to eliminate the gap as they fell to the Ironmen on the road, 63-47. The loss dropped Central Mountain’s record to 2-8 as the team is struggling to protect the ball on offense.

The Wildcats fell behind early before Cayde McCloskey hit a jumper to cut Danville’s lead, 5-2. Danville responded with a 13-0 run before Ujjval Adroja’s layup stopped the bleeding. By the time the buzzer sounded, Danville controlled a commanding 20-4 lead heading into the second.

“There was just no energy,” Central Mountain coach Tyler Bardo said of the team’s first-quarter slump. “Once you get into that hole against good teams you’re putting yourself into a predicament.”

Central Mountain paced Danville in the second, losing in the period just 17-16 to walk into halftime down 37-20, but poor ball security in the third ruined Central Mountain’s chances at a win and boosted Danville’s momentum. The Ironmen dashed to an 11-0 run in the period, with that last six points being off three straight layups aided by Central Mountain’s three straight turnover possessions. Conner Soo ended the run with a jump shot, but by that time Wildcats’ deficit ballooned to 50-25.

“The turnovers have been something we’ve been trying to figure out,” Bardo said. “It’s the nature of these turnovers, which are live-ball turnovers, which is resulting directly into the points for opponents.”

Central Mountain managed to outscore Danville in the final period, 15-10, but by that time the game’s outcome had already been determined as Danville sealed the win, 63-47.

No player reached double-digit scoring for Central Mountain, but Conner Soo was the closest with a team-high nine. Cayde McCloskey added eight, and Nick Long added another eight off the bench.

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