RIVERSIDE — Xenia has shown steady improvement from games one through seven this season, picking up its first two wins in its last two outings.
Game eight put at least a temporary halt to that train, as the Bucs ran into a cohesive Stebbins squad in a 77-53 loss on the road in MVL play.
“We were hoping to continue the momentum from last week into today, but it didn’t happen so you just have to start fresh tomorrow,” said head coach Mike Arlinghaus.
The two teams traded buckets early in the first quarter before the Bucs went cold.
Xenia went nearly eight minutes spanning the first and second quarters without a made field goal. Stebbins grew its lead from two to 19 during that stretch to take a firm grasp on the game.
“We started the game with no energy,” Arlinghaus said. “We dug ourselves a hole and Stebbins has playmakers which makes it hard to scramble and come back. Even when we got down earlier in the year we made some games close, but we we’re never able to do so here.”
Stebbins held a 39-19 halftime advantage while shooting 13-for-16 from the free throw line in the half.
Early in the second half, Arlinghaus called a quick timeout after Stebbins scored the first four points. He did so again later after his team stopped a 6-0 run.
“We’re a young team and it’s just part of the process,” he said. “We’re trying to take advantage of our time with them to coach them up and wanting them to be better but we’re a young team. You want to keep the game within reach, but there wasn’t any particular thing outside of keep battling and keep fighting.”
Xenia and Stebbins both substituted in players late, getting the crowd on both sides excited for plays such as a Trenton Lee three-pointer to close the scoring.
Damien Weaver led Xenia with 18 points and Trei’Shaun Sanders had 10. Alijah Withers added eight and Alex Ehrsam made himself a presence in the paint late with seven points.
Xenia falls to 2-6 overall and 2-5 in the MVL, while Stebbins picked up its second win this season.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s not the first time to beat by ,” Arlinghaus said. “We will practice tomorrow to keep trying to get better at what we need to get better at and become better as a team every day. Stebbins just played better and they executed better and there wasn’t just one thing I could talk about. We got outcoached and outplayed across the board.”