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Slow starts are puzzling to Myers and Raiders

BL unable to pull off comeback against Fairbanks

BLFairbanks

Benjamin Logan’s David Wenger drives to the past past Fairbanks’ Brent Nicol, left, and Ian Follmer during Tuesday’s game at Ben Logan. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

Figuring out why his team struggles in the first half and then plays great basketball in the second half is a mystery Benjamin Logan boys basketball coach Dave Myers is trying to solve after three games.

The Raiders continued their trend of slow starts Tuesday night, falling behind visiting Fairbanks by 20 points at halftime.

However, a sparkling effort in the second half saw Ben Logan cut the Panthers’ lead to four points in the fourth quarter.

Fairbanks hit some late free throws to hold off the Raiders’ rally and survive for a 61-48 victory.

“We don’t know the answer to that,” said Myers of his team’s dual personalities. “This has happened twice now. Both times we were able to fight back in the second half. We just did not play with the same intensity in the first half that we played with in the second half. I just hope we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves at the start of games.”

Ben Logan trailed Mechanicsburg by 19 points in Friday’s season opener before getting back into the game with a strong second half. The Raiders also started slow Saturday against Riverside before recovering for a 16-point victory.

“It was fun to coach these kids in the second half,” said Myers. “We were like a different team. The kids showed their character with the way they fought back. In the past, a 15- or 20-point hole might have grown to 30, but these kids refuse to quit.”

Fairbanks completely dominated the first half. The Panthers were able to slice through the Ben Logan defense for easy looks on the offensive end and did not allow many second-chance opportunities for the Raiders.

“We didn’t make shots in the first half,” said Myers. “We were 3-of-15 in the paint in the first half and we didn’t rebound very well.”

The Panthers led 15-7 after one quarter and led by as many as 22 points in the second period. Fairbanks held a 36-16 advantage at halftime.

Ben Logan came alive in the second half, scoring the first six points of the third quarter to quickly chop the Panthers’ lead to 14.

The Raiders trailed by 12 points (46-34) by the end of the third period.

Ben Logan’s surge continued in the final quarter.

The Raiders trailed 50-36 with 7:19 remaining, but rattled off a 10-0 run to climb within four points (50-46) at the 3:23 mark.

Fairbanks missed the front end of three 1-and-1 opportunities at the foul line during that stretch.

“They came after us and we didn’t handle the pressure very well,” said Fairbanks head coach Larry Morris. “We threw the ball all over the gym. You have to work in space against the press and we didn’t do that very well. They did a good job of making the game a little reckless in the second half.”

The visitors found their stroke at the foul line, making 5-of-6 attempts to regain control of the game in the final minutes.

Senior guard Blaine Ricketts paced the Raiders with a game-high 20 points. Dalton Greene had 10 points and Jordan Sosby added eight points.

Brent Nicol scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half for Fairbanks. Ian Follmer had 15 points and Barrett Wilson added 12 points.

In the junior varsity game, Ben Logan won 40-35. Trent Kramer led the Raiders with 15 points.

Ben Logan returns to action Friday at home against Greenon.

FAIRBANKS 61, BEN LOGAN 48

FAIRBANKS (2-0)

Gibson 3 2-3 8; Van Gorden 1 0-1 2; Adkins 1 0-0 2; Nicol 7 0-0 16; Bolte 1 0-0 2; Burnett 2 0-0 4; Follmer 3 8-11 15; Wilson 6 0-0 12. Totals: 24 10-15 61.

BEN LOGAN (1-2)

Wenger 1 2-2 4; Sosby 3 0-0 8; Rader 1 0-0 2; Ricketts 9 2-3 20; Saylor 2 0-0 4; Greene 5 0-0 10. Totals: 21 4-5 48.

Panthers    15    21    10    15      —     61

Raiders    7    9    18    14    —    48

Three pointers: Fairbanks 3 (Nicol 2, Follmer); Ben Logan 2 (Sosby 2).

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