Starkville Christian School boys coach Mark Horstmeyer saw what he needed to see out of his team in the second and fourth quarters of Tuesday night's game against the Winona Christian Stars.
Now he's looking for ways to get that type of effort out of the Cougars for all four quarters.
Horstmeyer saw Starkville Christian take a 23-20 lead in the second quarter, then closed a 42-25 at the end of the third quarter to only lose a 53-43 decision to Winona Christian at the Cougar Cave.
"I saw improvement and I saw intensity in all of the players," Horstmeyer said. "In the fourth quarter, I thought they executed and brought the energy. How do you get it for four quarters. That's what we've got to figure out with these young men. It's playing four quarters, keeping your heads in the game, executing and learning how to do that."
Horstmeyer said the Cougars can also transfer that way of thinking from the basketball court to everyday life.
"Can you do that in the class room?" Horstmeyer said. "Can you give 100 percent all day in every class room. How do you realize that potential and maintain it when there's competition there? We encourage them to do that in high school and do that in life. How do you find that and live better."
Despite being down by 11 points at 16-5 with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter, Starkville Christian found a way to fight back and take a lead.
After Winona held a 18-9 advantage after the first quarter, the Cougars went on a 14-0 run to go out in front 23-20. Austin Foxx scored eight points for SCS in the rally as the Stars went scoreless for almost 6 minutes.
Winona finished the first half out strong by scoring the final eight points to secure a 28-23 lead at halftime.
"They had a 1-3-1 that we prepared for, but we didn't execute and we kind of lost ourselves there," Horstmeyer said.
The Stars only allowed the Cougars one basket in the third quarter by Paul Michael Calhoun and increased the margin to 42-25 after the quarter.
"We just didn't execute on offense in just getting two points," Horstmeyer said.
Starkville Christian did outscore Winona 11-8 to close the final gap as Calhoun scored the final points.
"I thought this was Paul Michael's best game," Horstmeyer said. "He was a leader (Tuesday night)."
Calhoun scored 14 points to lead the Cougars, while Foxx and Caleb Jordan had 12 points each to also register double figures.
Winona also won the junior varsity boys game 37-21. Little led the Cougars with 17 points.
Winona Christian 50,
Starkville Christian 14
The visiting Lady Stars jumped out to a 12-1 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Charity Morris led the Lady Cougars with five points, while Sydney Whitehead was next in the scoring column with four points.
Morris had seven points in the junior varsity game as SCS lost a 35-15 decision to Winona.