The Brad Slatton era at Carlisle started on a winning note last week when the Bison knocked off Des Arc, 53-51.
Afterward, their new coach found several positives, although they fell behind by double-digits early.
“We just kept persevering,” Slatton said. “We changed up our defense — we went man on them after starting in a zone, and they didn’t get as many good looks. We just kept plugging along.
“It was one of those first games where you try to feel yourself out, you’re trying to learn how to play, and they stuck with it. I was pleased that they kept battling.”
He said his team got going in the second half.
“We pulled away a little in the middle of the fourth, then they came back a little bit,” he said. “They scored right at the buzzer to cut it to two.”
Garnell Harris led the Bison scoring with 15 points. Everett Williams added 14 and Baylor Craig 10.
“The first thing I wanted them to do was play hard, and they did that,” Slatton said. “They were coachable. We need to work ourselves through all these early-season problems. They were receptive to that. They just kind of kept sticking with it, never really panicked and found a way to win.
“We didn’t play very well, which you never do early in the year, but if you can find a way to win in games you don’t play well, that’s definitely a positive.”
This week, the Bison are playing in the Haskell Harmony Grove tournament. They were to open with the host team Tuesday. They’ll play again Wednesday. The tournament will conclude Saturday.
Goals for the tournament?
“We want to get used to playing,” the first-year Bison coach Slatton said. “It’s a whole new deal for them, and we want to keep getting better, keep moving in the right direction and build off what we’ve done. We’ve played one game, then had pretty much a week off and now we’re starting again, so it’s kind of like a first game again.
“I want us to come in and give ourselves a chance to win and do the little things it takes. That’s just a process, learning all that. I think they saw a little bit (against Des Arc) that we don’t have to play perfect to win. We just have to play.”
Following the Harmony Grove tournament, the Bison will travel to Abundant Life for a conference game on Tuesday, Dec. 5. At press time, the Owls were 0-10.
“We’re just taking care of our own business and trying to get better,” Slatton said. “We want to work through everything we need to work through right now.”