The Robinson boys basketball team hasn’t made it to a playoff game since 2016, when they lost to Jesuit 45-41 in the regional semifinal game.
But as of Thursday, Feb. 22, the Knights (7-17) made their post-season return with a 72-54 loss to Booker (27-2).
“I thought we played with a lot of intensity. We played together,” Head Coach Steve Smith said. “But ultimately, in the end, we just couldn’t sustain that effort through four quarters.”
The Knights caught everybody off guard with their zone defense, compared to their regular man-to-man. But after a couple shaky possessions, their defensive rotations were sharp, which led them to a 32-31 lead over Booker at the half.
“[Coach told us at half time] just don’t come out flat, still have that aggressive motive in us,” Cameron Lockridge (’19) said. “I guess we just lost it in the third quarter.”
And they did lose it.
The Knights’ inability to find an offensive rhythm immediately showed as they were outscored 19-8 in the third quarter.
The Knights had 13 destructive turnovers and with John Garrett (’18) being held to only three points, the boys couldn’t manage to close the gap.
“We beat ourselves up in the second half because of our mistakes,” Garrett said. “…not passing the extra pass and stopping the ball.”
The 72-54 loss ended a long season for the Knights, and four years of high school basketball for the three seniors: Garrett, David Jean-Louis, and Max Kinley.
“[The seniors] lead by example,” Lockridge said. “They taught me how to be a better person…[I hope they] keep striving to be a better person, not only a basketball player.”
As the Knights send off leading scorer Garrett, they are looking to fill the offensive absence that will surely be felt next season.
“Obviously, we need a scorer, so we need guys to step up,” Smith said. “Hopefully somebody will rise to that challenge.”
Lockridge, who averaged 11.2 points per game, is looking to fill that need after being the second leading scorer this season.
But on Thursday after the loss, Lockridge waved to the Robinson fans in attendance as if to say thank you, Knights.
But he’ll be back.
“We’re going to states [next season],” Lockridge said. “We’re beating everybody.”