A midseason slump continued for the Francis Scott Key boys basketball team last night.
The Eagles let another possible victory slide through their hands, losing to Walkersville, 67-64, in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game that gave Key coach Jeff Cook all kind of nightmares.
It was the third straight setback for Key and the ninth in the last 12 games after a 4-0 start.
The Eagles (7-9, 5-7 in the league) were a picture of inconsistency last night against the Lions (8-8, 6-7) making a couple of beautiful plays back-to-back and then botching simple plays on offense and defense.
Cook was so angry after the game that he took his team to the locker room for a stern talk.
It was that kind of evening for Cook, who called timeout late in the first quarter when Walkersville jumped to a 11-6 lead and gave his players their first lecture of the night.
Walkersville was led by the scoring and rebounding of 6-foot-7 junior Dan Ogg (16 points, 10 rebounds) and the shooting of Chris Abbott (17 points), Lucas Matesa (16 points) and John Grable (15).
Key's high-scoring Topher Casserly (20-point average) was limited to nine points by the Lions, who played a box-and-one on him most of the night.
Dan Stephenson and Chris Richardson each scored 13 points to lead the Eagles, and Steve Wright and Mike Crawmer each had 12.
A tough two minute, 38-second stretch for Key midway through the fourth quarter was a microcosm of the Eagles' recent problems.
Key was down 54-53 with 4:28 left in the game when the Eagles went into another one of their funks, failing to get off a good shot in four straight possessions.
First, Wright threw a pass away trying to feed the ball across the lane to Crawmer who was open on the right side.
Then Crawmer forced a shot in the lane, Robbie Greene tossed up an air ball, and the Eagles got a five-second call trying to get the ball in-bounds.
Walkersville took advantage of those mistakes to score two baskets on Matesa's 10-footer in the lane and his 16-foot jump shot for a 58-53 lead with 2:04 on the clock.
"I'm at a loss to know what to do about this," said Cook. "It's a lack of concentration. We talked about it after the game and we decided it is probably something we're not going to solve overnight. Some of the guys who are making our mistakes are supposed to be our leaders."
L Cook said he believed Key had more talent than Walkersville.
"We also had more talent than Boonsboro and Williamsport [the first two losses in the 0-3 skid], and look what happened," said the coach.
In spite of everything, Key had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds when Stephenson got off a buzzer-beating three-point shot from the left corner.
Stephenson's shot fell short, sealing Key's fate.