Walt Kelly was a cartoonist who created the comic strip "Pogo" which he used to comment on American political and cultural life. The setting for "Pogo" was the Okefenokee Swamp near which Pogo, a wise possum, and other critters lived. In one memorable strip Pogo is lamenting the pollution that has taken over his beloved swamp and comments to his friend Porkypine, "I have seen the enemy and it is us." Although the saying did not originate with Kelly, he was the one who immortalized it with his commentary on the effects of pollution.
The saying has been used in many contexts over the years, including in the world of sports. This writer recalls that his coaching mentor in Minneapolis used it to describe his team's performance after a loss that should have been a win.
One wonders sometimes if the Charger basketball teams may be their own worst enemy as the teams' losses continue to mount. Last night the Charger girls scored only one field goal out of sixteen tries in the first half on the way to a 48-33 loss to the Madrid Tigers, while the boys' third quarter woes continued in a 63-49 defeat.
The ACGC girls came out flat as they were unable to score their first basket until Jaden Carrick scored with just over a minute remaining in the first half. By then the game was out of reach as Madrid had held the Chargers to six free throws and had a commanding 26-6 lead. The half ended with Madrid on top 28-9.
The Chargers showed more life in the second half and got within eleven points at 28-17 with just under the five minutes left in the third quarter, but then failed to score over the next four minutes. ACGC outscored the home team by a 24-20 margin in the second half, but it was too little and too late. A bright spot was the fact that ACGC limited its turnovers to 17, down from a season average of 26 per game, and after the dismal 6% first half shooting performance the team connected on 38% of its shots in the second half.
Carrick led the Chargers with 16 points, while Savana Fuller pulled down 5 rebounds with several others snaring 4 boards. The team dished out only three assists and no one had more than two steals. Shayla Peters led the Madrid scoring with 16 points.
After opening with a 12-9 first quarter lead, the Charger boys maintained a narrow lead throughout the second stanza and held a one point lead at 26-22 with under a minute to go in the half when the Tigers scored five quick points to take a one point lead, 27-26, heading into the break.
In five of its losses the boys have either been tied or have been within striking distance at halftime, only to be outscored by an average of eleven points in the third frame. A similar pattern continued last night as Madrid held the Chargers to eight points while scoring fifteen, giving the Tigers an eight point lead at 42-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite the low third quarter output, the Chargers were still in the game and made a real challenge when a basket by Caden Wardyn and two charity tosses by Sam Madsen cut the deficit to 42-38, only to hit a two and a half minute scoring drought that pretty much sealed the deal. Madrid responded with six consecutive points to take a ten point lead with five minutes to play. The Chargers got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
"I thought the first half was our best half of basketball this season," Charger coach Jake Mohling said after the game. "We came out aggressively and were moving the ball relatively well. We let them back in it towards the end of the half as they had some steals and fast break layups and then hit some big shots at the end of the half. Again, we had a bad quarter in the third and they extended a lead we could never recover from."
Mohling lamented his teams foul trouble when he said, "Caden barely got to play due to being on the bench, and then mix that with shots not falling--it was tough to score in the second half."
On a positive note the Charger mentor added, "I think we have taken steps forward the last two games. With the first halves being good, we will work on carrying that over into the second to make a complete game."
Quynton Younker led the team with a double-double as he netted 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Noah Nelson had 8 points and Bryce Littler and Wardyn each scored 7. Noah Sargent hauled down 7 rebounds and Nelson led the team in both assists and steals at 4 and 3 respectively. The Chargers connected on 17 of 52 field goal attempts for 33% and 10 of 16 free throws for 63%. Braden Gibbons led Madrid with 18 points.
There are still winnable games on the schedule for both teams if they can avoid becoming their own worst enemy. Go Chargers!
The losses leave the girls with a 1-12 record overall (1-8 WCAC) and the boys with a 3-10 season mark (2-8 WCAC). After three consecutive games on the road, the Chargers will return home to play Ogden this Friday. Girls' tipoff is scheduled for 6 PM.
Girls' score by quarters: Boys' score by quarters:
ACGC 1 8 11 13--33 ACGC 12 14 8 15--49
Madrid 9 19 7 13--48 Madrid 9 18 15 21--63
Box score Reb Box score
FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP
Fuller 0-2 0-0 1-2 1-4 0 0 1 Sargent 2-3 0-0 0-0 4-3 1 0 4
Laabs 2-5 0-0 1-1 2-2 0 1 5 Nelson 3-12 2-8 0-1 0-0 4 3 8
Smith 1-8 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 1 2 Spack 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Emblt'n 0-1 0-1 1-2 0-2 0 1 1 Littler 3-11 1-6 0-2 0-1 2 1 7
J Hoov'r 0-4 0-1 3-6 0-2 1 2 3 Wardyn 2-8 1-1 2-4 1-5 2 1 7
O'Brien 0-6 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 Madsen 1-1 0-0 2-2 2-2 0 0 4
KeYoung 2-2 0-0 0-0 1-3 0 0 5 Younker 5-12 1-4 4-5 3-10 1 0 15
Carrick 5-12 0-2 6-6 2-2 1 0 16 Stowe 1-5 0-1 2-2 1-2 1 0 4
KyYoung 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 0 0