Solved the sluggishness in the first quarter, and the commander also said, “The game content was good”
The Busan KCC Aegis, whose shaky start to the game seemed to be a “chronic disease,” played well in the first quarter for the first time in a long time. The head coach, who has pointed this out every game, also expressed satisfaction.
KCC head coach Jeon Chang-jin said after the home game against the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus in the fourth round of the 2023-2024 Korean Professional Basketball League at Sajik Indoor Gymnasium in Busan on the 9th, “We played well in the first quarter and maintained it until the end. We always have a lot of turnovers in the first quarter, which leads to easy points and no offense. Today, we had a good first quarter.”
The next day, KCC won 91-86 against Hyundai Mobis. After snapping a seven-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak in their previous game (against Sono on Nov. 7), KCC reeled off two straight wins to improve to 15-12 (.556 winning percentage) on the season and move within 2.5 games of fourth place. They also swept all four games against Hyundai Mobis this season to solidify their dominance of the series.
KCC has struggled a bit in the first quarter this season. Turnovers early in the game have put them at a disadvantage, which has hindered their ability to get into a rhythm, and disorganization on the defensive end has put them at a disadvantage as well.
Coach Jeon Chang-jin has always pointed this out in every game. Before the home game against Goyang Sono on the 7th, he said, “We always play too badly in the first quarter. We have seven or eight turnovers in the first and second quarters, so it’s not good, and we need to reduce that.” Despite winning the game, he was bitter, saying, “Our first-quarter performance, our turnovers, has been the same since the beginning of the season, even today. I think the players need to realize that we can’t be a strong team until that is fixed.”
The players were also deeply troubled. “It’s true that we’re off to a bad start, but we need to create a situation to focus on, and we don’t have our colors yet,” said guard Heo Wong. “With these good resources, we can only play 2v2 with Laguna like last year, so we need to increase our offensive options, so the opponent will have a hard time.”
So, ahead of the match on the 9th, Jeon came out with a new lineup. KCC fielded Lee Ho-hyun, Heo Woong, Song Kyo-chang, Lee Seung-hyun, and Laguna. “When (Heo) Ung goes in, we need a screener, so Ragan-ah and (Lee) Seung-hyun have to come in and help,” Jeon explained. Looking forward to Heo’s early offense, Jeon said, “I think we just need to check for mismatches in the defense.”
It was a long process to come up with the variant lineup. “Usually, we practice with the coaches the day before the game to come up with a lineup, but this was the most difficult lineup ever,” Jeon said. “The meeting didn’t last three hours. There were a lot of different opinions,” he confessed.
KCC came out fully prepared and shook their opponents from the first quarter. They opened with fast-break points in transition and pressured their opponents without making mistakes on defense with Heo Woong. Lee Ho-hyun, who played as the leading guard, had a good shooting touch and made some outside shots.
After the middle of the quarter, it was time for Song Gyochang. After making a three-pointer to extend the lead, he followed it up with a one-handed dunk to set the tone perfectly. Song scored 10 points in the first quarter to take control. When KCC faltered at the end of the quarter, Lee Seung-hyun’s good work on defense reopened the gap. KCC ended the first quarter with an eight-point lead, 29-21.
In the end, KCC was able to use the advantage to win the game. After a 25-25 tie in the second quarter and a 19-18 lead in the third, KCC struggled defensively in the fourth quarter with Lagana in foul trouble and found themselves trailing 89-86 at one point. In the fourth quarter, KCC was outscored 18-22 by Hyundai Mobis and could have lost the game if not for the huge lead in the first quarter.
After the game, Coach Jeon said, “We played well in the first quarter and kept it until the end. We always have a lot of turnovers in the first quarter, which leads to easy points and bad offense. Today, we had a good first quarter.” “I think it was a positive game because I saw the guys wanting to play, and when we played good defense in the first quarter, our offense came through.” Lee Ho-hyun, who scored 15 points, including three three-pointers, said, “We haven’t played well in the first quarter lately, but it was good that we focused on the first quarter.”