COLUMBUS – The Starkville Yellowjackets were able to play three decent quarters of basketball against Holt, Ala., on Saturday afternoon at the Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Invitational.
When the game consists of four quarters, only showing up for three isn't good enough for the Jackets right now.
Starkville only trailed Holt 31-30 at halftime, but saw its opponent score the first six points of the second half and continue on a 12-2 run to take a 43-32 lead.
The Jackets ended up losing a 58-51 decision.
"I don't know what it is lately, but we can't put a whole game together for nothing," SHS boys basketball coach Greg Carter said. "We'll go back, work on it and get ready for the tournament starting next week."
A put-back by Avonte' Amos closed the gap to 31-30 and he also ended Holt's 6-0 run to open the second half with another basket to shave the margin to 37-32 at the 3:40 mark.
Holt made another 6-0 run on the back end to get control of the game.
Ravonte' Gandy hit a 3-point field goal for the Jackets to close the gap back to five points at 43-38, but Holt scored the final basket of the third quarter to stretch it to 45-38.
A pair of free throws by Amos with 7 minutes left of the game brought SHS within 45-41, but that was as close as the game got down the stretch.
Carter continues to be concerned about the parts of the game where the Jackets find it difficult to score.
"We struggle to score and we need our defense to help us out with some easy baskets," Carter said. "In these two games, their guards have been good enough to where even though they turned it over, we didn't get easy baskets as a result. When we did get those easy baskets, it put us in a little rhythm on offense.
When we don't play consistent defense, we don't score very well."
Even though Carter believed Starkville played a little bit better than it did in Friday's 82-64 loss to Noxubee County, things are not where they need to be.
"It seems more mental than anything," Carter said. "We're better than we've been playing."
Amos had 14 points to lead the Jackets, but was the only player in double figures. Richard Evans, Caleb Wilson and Zeb Rice had eight points each.
"It'd be nice if one person was good enough to step up," Carter said. "We'd be able to ride them, but we don't have that luxury. We've got to have a lot of balance in scoring, rebounding and everything else."
After the Christmas break, Starkville hosts the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump Tournament on Dec. 26-28.