By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers
DORA — Like the city they represent, the Coyotes are trying to make sure whatever success they have starts with a “D.”
The host Coyotes held San Jon scoreless for a five-minute span bridging the first and second quarters, and Dora got its season off to a rousing start with a 79-36 win in the opener for both teams.
Dora had three players reach double figures, led by Tyler Wilhoit’s 18 points. The Coyotes outscored San Jon 41-17 in the second and third quarters, building up their lead until they started the fourth quarter with a 35-point cushion and a running clock.
With all of the offense going on, the focus was still defense.
“Our offense will be there,” said J.R. Gonzales, who added 17 points on the evening. “Coach (Ty) Thatcher said when we play good defense, our offense will be there.”
Casey O’Connor had 15 points, and jumpstarted a 14-0 Dora run with two layups late in the first quarter. From that point, San Jon coach Larry King felt the roof caved in on his squad.
“The main thing is when a new coach and a new system comes in, the (mistake) is to revert back to old things. You get to the point where you’re not working on what you’ve been doing the last month.
“When you play a good team that plays really good pressure defense, that just escalates the problem.”
After the run, Dora was never seriously threatened by San Jon and steadily increased its lead. Thatcher agreed with the notion the early start created a snowball effect and San Jon was better than the final score indicated.
“San Jon’s a good team,” Thatcher said. “They’ve got good athletes. They got a little frustrated in the second half.”
Eight players scored for each team, with San Jon led by Danny Shetter’s nine points. Clay Smith scored nine points and Austin Prewett added seven for the Coyotes.
“We’ve got some depth. We had some guys step up and handle the pressure.”
Dora is off through all of next week and won’t play again until Nov. 28 at Clovis Christian. Until then, Thatcher predicts a lot of work on defense.
“We’ve got to be in the correct defensive positions on the court,” Thatcher said. “Our on-the-ball defense can improve a little bit.”