MONROE — PCM head boys basketball coach Fred Lorensen wants his team to play tougher.
The Mustangs were right with Montezuma for three of the four quarters during a non-conference home game on Thursday. But it was a poor third period that doomed PCM as the Braves secured a 56-46 victory to stay unbeaten.
PCM was outscored 18-5 in the third and Lorensen put toughness near the front of the line for reasons why the Mustangs struggled in the frame.
“The biggest thing for us is we need to develop some toughness,” Lorensen said. “Durant (Van Dyke) is about as tough as they come, but we need everyone to be tougher. If you look at the 50-50 balls, they probably got 80 percent of them. They were diving for loose balls and we didn’t. They just wanted the ball worse than we did.”
Montezuma (3-0) led by three at halftime and PCM won the fourth quarter 19-13.
But it was the third quarter that doomed the Mustangs. In the third, Masin Shearer and Eddie Burgess combined to score 16 of the team’s 18 points.
The Braves’ duo who were starters on last year’s Class 1A state title team scored a combined 35 points in the game. Burgess banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put Montezuma up 43-27 after three.
Lorensen said the plan was to play Shearer one-on-one. But the 5-foot-8 point guard got separation off nifty ball handling and several screens from Burgess, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds in the win.
“We wanted to play him one-on-one without help, but he got a lot of high ball screens from (Burgess),” Lorensen said about Shearer. “We switched to put a different person on him but didn’t get out fast enough
“We have to be more aware of where the other team’s best players are. He won’t miss many wide open shots. He’s a really nice player, but we made it easy for him at times. I think we got better in the fourth quarter.”
Shearer finished with a game-high 26 points, hitting 5-of-10 from 3-point range. He registered four assists and four steals.
The Mustangs trailed 16-14 after one. They fell behind 4-0 but a 3-pointer by Jacob Wendt evened the game at 8-all. Durant Van Dyke then put the home team in front with a three-point play.
Shearer and Carson VandeLune rotated triples with the former making two before and after VandeLune’s one. Shearer also made a layup late in the frame to put Montezuma into the lead.
PCM stayed strong in the second. After falling behind 18-14, Matt Rosonke scored inside before Durant made two free throws and another bucket to tie the score at 20-all.
The Mustangs trailed by three at halftime. Besides toughness, Lorensen said bad shot selection and Montezuma’s physical play plagued PCM.
“We were really poor offensively in the third and really the whole game,” Lorensen said. “We just had a hard time making shots and making passes. They were quick and physical against us, and we didn’t handle it very well.”
The Braves used a 17-3 run that extended into the fourth to grab momentum.
Van Dyke scored six of his 15 points in the fourth, but the Mustangs couldn’t get closer than nine in the frame. And Van Dyke didn’t get the ball enough, according to Lorensen.
“We kind of forgot about where our bread is buttered. Durant needs to get the ball more,” Lorensen said. “It wouldn’t be so bad if the other guys were doing something with it otherwise, but we are taking 25 foot shots and turning it over. We have to be more efficient.”
The Mustangs (1-2) shot 35.6 percent from the floor, made 7-of-23 from long range and committed 17 turnovers. Montezuma shot 40.7 percent and made 7-of-26 from 3-point range.
Neither team got production from its bench.
“Shooting is going to be a factor all season long. We have to be able to make shots,” Lorensen said. “We held them down far enough that if we would have scored points we would have won. You have to score to win. Give them some credit. They did a good job guarding us, but we have to be better.”
Van Dyke finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals and VandeLune registered 11 points and two assists.
Wendt collected nine points, five rebounds and three steals and Cade Lindsay made the team’s first basket, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth and finished with nine points and two assists. Rosonke added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
“It’s early in the year still. We’ll get better, but we just don’t have time to work on stuff like that right now,” Lorensen said. “We bailed out on offense too much. We didn’t work the ball enough to get what we wanted. That’s my fault. That’s stuff we need to impress upon them that we need to do. We have to find guys who will get that done for us.”