By FRED KRONER
Ryan Bosch had a memorable first game as the head coach of Mahomet-Seymour’s boys’ basketball team.
His team presented him with an opening-day victory on Monday, 56-42, at Rantoul, but there weren’t as many highlights as the 14-point margin of victory might indicate.
“It’s always nice to have film to grow from and still have the ‘W’ afterwards,” Bosch said.
En route to the victory, M-S struggled mightily with its shooting from the field, converting just 1 of 14 three-point tries. The Bulldogs’ overall field goal accuracy rate was 32 percent.
“The guys had been shooting well in practice,” Bosch said, “to not see them go through the basket, the guys had their confidence shaken a little bit.”
Grant Coleman nailed a game-high 26 points, including making 10 of 14 free throw attempts.
“Grant made shots and got to the free throw line to key the offensive end,” Bosch said.
M-S trailed 40-37 entering the final period before a 19-2 game-ending run secured the comeback victory.
“It was five guys locked in and really guarding,” Bosch said.
There were multiple contributors.
“Kobe Essien off the bench sparked us on the glass (team-high nine rebounds),” Bosch said.
“Cole Lener really gave us good energy with his defensive tenacity. He got a lot of loose balls, and Jordan Veldman was a steadying influence.”
Lener and Jack McHale each pulled down five rebounds.
McHale was the lone Bulldog to hit a three-point shot.
Lucas Turner added eight points and Veldman finished with six points, all from the free throw line.
Dawson Finch handed out a team-high four assists.
“We kind of started to settle down a little and play more true to ourselves and our identity,” Bosch said. “Early, we were quick to rush shots, but (late) we made them guard us a little more in the half-court.
“We had good offensive possessions. That sparked the defense and you could feel the confidence build up.”
On Wednesday, M-S (1-1) opened its home schedule with a non-conference game against Danville.
For the second straight game, Coleman was the team’s lone double-digit scorer, netting 17 points in a 64-47 loss to the Vikings.
Coleman also cleared a team-high six rebounds.
Lener grabbed five rebounds and Finch had four.
Danville led 16-11 after one quarter and 28-22 at halftime before rolling to a 36-25 advantage during the second half.
The Bulldogs were 5-for-17 from three-point range with Lener nailing 2 of 3.
M-S returns to action on Saturday at home against St. Thomas More.