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Bears must protect ball

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By John Shindlebower

The young Spencer County Bears continue to take their lumps as they struggle through a tough season, but head coach Jacob Barmore insists they’re making strides, even if it’s not evident in their 3-10 record.

The Bears finished up their holiday tournament action with a lopsided 102-51 loss to a quick Louisville Western team that exploited possibly the biggest weakness of the Bears – the inability to protect the basketball.

“We must learn to take care of the basketball,” said Barmore. “We are averaging at least 25 turnovers a game.” A team like Western can quickly convert those turnovers into points and put the game out of reach quickly, as they did in the final round of the Nelson County tournament a week ago.

Another glaring weakness Barmore said that has been exposed the first half of the season has been rebounding.

“The other huge hurdle for us is rebounding. We are getting out-rebounded on a nightly basis,” he said.

“If we improve on those two areas, our level of play will tremendously improve.”

The problem has been inexperience. Coming into the season, only sophomore Logan Dunbar had logged any significant varsity experience for the Bears, who also dress several freshmen and start an eighth grader at point guard. But with the losses and the struggles comes experience, the kind that Barmore hopes will pay dividends as time goes by.

“I really feel like our team was tested in every way over the break,” he said. “We played a lot of basketball games in a short amount of time. I think it was good for us to face some adversity as well as gain some game experience.”

Despite the scores and the record, Barmore does see signs of progress.

“Our Christmas record doesn’t show the amount of growth and togetherness our team is learning.”

During the Nelson County tournament, Barmore used his entire bench as they were pressed into service because of sickness and suspensions for some of his players.

“It’s always a plus to get some bench players some experience and we were able to do that over the break which was nice for the players and our team.”

The season of learning will continue this week, but fortunately, the Bears get to stay home for a while as they were scheduled to host Eminence Tuesday night, then host boy/girl doubleheaders on Thursday against North Bullitt and Friday against an Australian national team.

Next week, the Bears will host Larue County on Tuesday before traveling to Bullitt East on Thursday and to Louisville Brown on Saturday.