In his first games with the White Pine High School boy’s basketball team, coach Charlie Hall said that he learned a lot, both about his team and about what he needs to emphasize going forward. The three games the Bobcats competed in over the weekend in the Truckee Basketball Classic didn’t go their way.

It’s not the way Hall wanted to start his season, but he admits the preseason losses could prove to be a useful coaching tool.

“Well I think it was an eye opener for us,” Hall said. “For myself and for the boys too, we really need to focus on making our practices more intense and focus on making more game-time situations in practice.”

In the first few weeks of practice leading into the games against Colfax, North Tahoe and Dayton, Hall emphasized conditioning. He wanted his new-look Bobcats to be able to run the floor with whoever they played, a strategy aimed at closing the competitive gap with teams that hold significant size advantages.

The result seemed to pay dividends in keeping certain games close, such as the Bobcats 57-49 loss to the North Tahoe lakers on Dec. 5.  Now that the team’s athleticism is up to the task however, Hall said he needs to do a better job of getting his players to become more comfortable mentally with the stresses of game-time scenarios.

“Physically we were right there with those three teams we played with even if we didn’t match their size. Running wise, we outran them all, so we are going in a good direction there. But we need to focus on reversing some of the mental breakdowns right now,” the coach continued.

To do so will require a retooling of how practices are structured Hall said. He wants to get each player into different plays that they might experience during the game so that when the time does come, they can act more off of memory and “not be surprised by the intensity of the game speed.”

The first-year coach said that his staff is aware that with such a young team (the squad only has four seniors on its 11-man roster) will become more comfortable on the court as they mature and get more minutes in games.

But Hall is ready to win games now, and to do that will require some fast growing up.

“With such a young team, when they get going at a varsity pace, they tend to kind of panic and we made a lot of errors. I think that all comes around to being nervous and anxious,” Hall said. “It is going to take a lot of guts. If we want to win ball games, and we do, then we are going to have to do what it takes to win.”

The Bobcats will travel to Las Vegas on Dec. 12 to take on Lake Mead High School in their first conference game of the season.