WARREN - Frank Caputo is well aware of the problem of the Warren G. Harding girls basketball team.
The WGH coach said youth and inexperience was prevalent with one senior and three juniors on the roster.
On Wednesday night, it plagued the Raiders again in a 36-24 loss to Shaw in the Lake Erie League showdown.
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
Warren G. Harding’s Audreyonna Baldridge, center, tries to grab the loose ball away from Shaw’s Breauna Smith, left, Alexis Marion, right, and Fredniqua Walker.
"Our youth is really hurting us right now," Caputo said. "Just little mental mistakes, but they're going to progress and just keep getting better by playing in games."
The Raiders (0-5, 0-3 LEL) struggled on offense right from the start, going 1 of 10 from the field in the first eight minutes.
Along with the poor shooting numbers, the Raiders committed more turnovers than shots taken, recording 16 turnovers.
The miscues didn't stop there, as the Cardinals (6-2) forced the Raiders into 33 turnovers in 32 minutes of action.
"We've got to help our guards bringing it up a bit," Caputo said. "They're struggling with the pressure sometimes. Our other guards and posts got to step up and help them with pressure."
Despite all the problems on the offensive end in the first quarter, the Raiders found themselves down one point going into the second quarter.
That changed early in the second, as the Cardinals put together a 13-3 run in the period. Shaw's Sabrina McLin drained three 3-pointers in a 4-minute span.
Meanwhile, Harding's poor shooting form continued, keeping the Raiders out of contention for much of the game. Overall, Harding shot 25 percent from the field and 11.7 percent from beyond the arc.
"We're getting to the right place," Caputo said. "We're just not putting the ball into the hoop when it's all said and done. We've got to work on finishing around the hoop."
In the fourth quarter, Harding managed to find its rhythm by employing a full-court trap.
Harding's pressure got to the Cardinals, which committed seven turnovers in the final five minutes. Those turnovers led to quick baskets and eventually allowed the Raiders to climb back into the game, although Shaw held a 20-point lead with 6:23 remaining.
"(The press) made (Shaw) rush and get out of sort of what they wanted to do," Caputo said. "That's really what we want to do - we're not necessarily trying to get that first steal, but we want them to rush and do something they really don't want to do."
Caputo said that he was happy with the team's effort in the fourth quarter, but he's still looking for that effort from the start.
They showed a little desire to want to get after it and play," Caputo said. "They did a really good job of hustling. We just have to work on getting to the right place all the time."
Still, not everybody has an optimistic view of the loss.
Junior Patrai Murray, who led Harding with eight points from her forward position, described the team as being in disarray on offense.
"At the end of the game, I can kind of say that when coach (Caputo) was telling us to run our play, nobody was doing it right," Murray said. "We all didn't have our heads in the game."