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Rangers can't trip up Tritons down the stretch
"BREMERTON - The fact that it was a close, entertaining game against stern opposition was lost on Olympic College men's basketball coach Barry Janusch.I'm tired of good shows. We need wins, Janusch said after his young Rangers fell short against Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Northern Division favorite Edmonds 73-64 Saturday night at a packed Bremer Center.We're in league now, and we've got to get it together before we get left behind, said Janusch.The close-but-no-cigar finishes just aren't doing it, for the Rangers' playoff chances or for the veteran coach, who saw his team drop to 0-2 in Northern Division play and 4-10 overall.Janusch was willing to concede, though, that OC played much better against the 13-1 Tritons than it had in last Wednesday's 74-61 loss at Everett, which opened the division schedule with a dull thud.We were the complete opposite team, he said of the two games. We were the Jekyll team Wednesday, and we were the Hyde team tonight. But then, I thought we'd play well. We seem to do better against the better teams.Unfortunately, another thing the Rangers seem to do this season is shoot themselves in the foot at some point at some point in each game.For most of Saturday's game, though, OC kept the heat on the Tritons. When Bremerton's Mike Crozier dropped a 3-pointer from the left baseline with 11 minutes, 9 seconds to play, the Rangers trailed by just one point, 54-53, and had led on several occasions.They couldn't get over the hump against Edmonds, however.There were a couple of possessions where they scored and we didn't. We just had a couple of misfortunes, and they took advantage, Janusch said. We just didn't' respond a couple of times, Janusch said. In a game that close, each possession means so much more.The two Tritons Olympic didn't seem to have an answer for - guard Terry Thompson and 6-foot-9 post T.J. Williams - seemed to come up with key buckets to keep Edmonds on top. Following Crozier's trey, it was Thompson who drove the lane for a layup to give his team some breathing space.And when OC's Casey Gribble nailed another 3-pointer to make it 60-58, Thompson responded with four straight points on two free throws and a 17-footer from just outside the lane.Barson Collins, who had 19 points for the Rangers, hit a turnaround jumper, but Williams countered again with a layin off a deep lob. OC missed its next two offensive opportunities, but Edmonds cashed in each time - another acrobatic layin by Thompson and a drive by Stafon Lawson. That made it 70-60 and put a chill into OC's offense for the remaining 2:39.Thompson's a tough matchup for us, Janusch said of the 6-foot-3 sophomore from Seattle's Ingraham High School, who scored a game-high 22 points. And we tried at the beginning to take the ball (at Williams) and get him into foul trouble.Indeed, Williams played only about half of the game. But he was still available to clog up the middle and supply clutch points during the key stretch drive.Janusch was pained, and puzzled, that the Rangers also wasted several possessions by converting just nine of 18 free throws.It worries me, because we've got good shooters, he said. We haven't shot (free throws) well all season. It was big tonight, because if we had made more of those, when we had our little lapse near the end it might not have been as big a deal. Instead, we got down 10, and that was it. "