Motz concerned after Columbus sleepwalks through loss to Fremont

January 6, 2019

Alarming, disappointing, astonishing.

There’s no limit on just how many adjectives could have been used to describe the performance put forth by Columbus High boys basketball in a 59-34 loss to rival Fremont on Friday night.

Perhaps coach Jimmy Motz put it best: “Concerning.”

“No excuse, no excuse,” he began moments after leaving the handshake line and heading for the locker room.

“We were flat. We hadn’t played in two-and-a-half weeks and I thought we’d be excited. Didn’t show any emotion. Just kind of went through lulls.”

It was an especially troubling loss due to the circumstances. Columbus gives the F&C Cup, the annual trophy the two teams compete for on the hardwood each year, back to Fremont indefinitely.

In a series that dates back, by all accounts, to 1927, the Discoverers and Tigers won’t meet again for hoops bragging rights for at least two years. With scheduling considerations, the schools are in different conferences and different classifications, the wait could be longer.

After 93 straight years of going head-to-head, the tradition of the F&C Cup has ended -quite the sour note for Columbus fans to leave the gym with, especially after such a concerting performance.

“Our attention to detail was not very good. We didn’t pay attention to the scouting report. We didn’t execute things,” Motz said. “They just flat out beat us.”

The lone bright spot came in the first few minutes when a 3-pointer from Cole Wilcox and jumper in the lane by Sam Nelson gave CHS the first five points.

Fremont responded with a 15-0 run to end the quarter, capitalizing on five Columbus turnovers with five points.

Garrett Esch scored the first five of the second quarter and had seven of the first 10 points total, but the Discovers couldn’t get any stops. They cut a 10-point first-quarter deficit to 29-21 at the break.

Columbus then didn’t score again until Kade Nelson hit a jumper with 49 seconds left in the third. He finished with 10 to lead CHS.

Although the Discoverers’ press was beginning to wreak havoc, forcing six Tiger turnovers in the eight minutes after halftime, Columbus also gave it away five times itself and shot 1 of 9.

“We couldn’t score. Just flat out couldn’t score,” Motz said. “You can teach a dog to guard somebody, but you’ve got to be able to score, and we didn’t score.”

Fremont did, adding 15 points before Nelson ended the run. The Tigers expanded the separation to 49-23 at the end of the third and all but had the F&C Cup in their hands.

“It’s back to the drawing board, but this is an eerie trend that’s going right now in terms of performances at home,” Motz said. “I didn’t like our sense of urgency in the second half, tried a zone to slow things down a bit and lost track of shooters, allowed guys to get open and give them credit. They shot it well, we didn’t and the scoreboard reflects it.”

Motz was so disappointed with his team, he pulled all the starters midway through the third and, outside of reinserting them briefly in the fourth, went the rest of the way mostly with backups.

Columbus drops to 2-7 on the year, has lost all four games at home and suffered those defeats by margins of 12, 15, 23 and now 25.

“We played tentative and we play scared. In practice, we do a lot of good things, and then we get out here and the lights come on and I don’t know if we’re star struck or out of the moment,” Motz said. “When we get a big crowd out here and the place is packed ... there’s no excuse for what happened tonight.

“And that falls on me.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at spots@columbustelegram.com.

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