Pilot Grove boys basketball coach Rick Grunden didn’t know what to expect in its inaugural season for the Tiger Classic.
With four teams making up the round-robin tournament, Grunden saw a little bit of everything on all three nights as the Tigers prevailed over a tough Prairie Home team on Tuesday 64-54 and then followed it up with a 35-point win on Thursday against Tuscumbia by a score of 80-45. Meanwhile, on the final night of the tournament on Saturday, Grunden thought it could go either way against the Stover Bulldogs.
As it turned out, the Tigers wound up winning by double digits against Stover 70-42 to improve to 5-0 overall.
Pilot Grove wound up finishing 3-0 in the tournament, followed by Stover at 2-1, Tuscumbia at 1-2 and Prairie Home at 0-3.
Of course the win didn’t come easy, at least for the first quarter anyway as the Tigers led Stover by just one at 13-12. However, Pilot Grove pulled away from Stover after that while holding a 57-30 advantage for the victory.
Grunden said in the past four games he has seen bits and pieces of some things that they are capable of going. “Until the game against Stover, we hadn’t put more than one piece together at a time,” Grunden said. “Offensively, we did some things well, but our greatest effort tonight came from defense. We used our press effectively and we read the floor better. Our goal this week was to keep the first-place boys plaque in Pilot Grove and we achieved that.
“It was a totally new experience for us to host our own tournament,” Grunden said. “It is our hope that we can make this tournament better and better each year. I would like to take this time to thank our administration, faculty and staff, the Pilot Grove Sports Boosters, all the participating teams, the parents, and our sponsor Citizens Community Bank for a great 1st Annual Pilot Grove Tiger Classic.”
Jake Leverton had the game-high for Pilot Grove with 17 points. Mason Schlotzhauer chipped in 14, Dylan Twenter 12, Colton Glenn eight, Kendall Kraus six, Regan Meisenheimer four and Ben Glenn two.
Stover was led by Garrett Goetze with 12.
As for the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers, they finished second in the tournament behind Tuscumbia. The Lady Lions finished 3-0 in the tournament, followed by Pilot Grove at 2-1, Stover at 1-2 and Prairie Home at 0-3.
While beating Stover 44-37 in the final game, head coach Landon Daniel said this was a big win for the Lady Tigers.
“We struggled a little in the first half and didn’t play as aggressive or as fast as we would have liked to but made some adjustments at halftime and really picked it up in the second half,” Daniel said. “I’m really proud of the girls for being able to mentally stay in the game and not get frustrated because of turnovers or missing a shot. Melissa Schlotzhauer and McKalie Lorenz really stepped it up tonight by hitting shots, taking care of the ball and playing good defense against two girls that outsized both of them. We had a really successful 1st Annual Pilot Grove Classic by taking second place with our win tonight and look forward to making this tournament bigger and better next year.”
Melissa Schlotzhauer finished the game with a double-double for Pilot Grove, 3-2 on the season, with 15 points and 15 rebounds. She also had two assists and two steals.
Kerigan Wessing had 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal while McKalie Lorenz added 10 points and three rebounds, McKenzi Schuster with five points, three rebounds and two steals, Cynthia Brumback with two points, six rebounds and three assists, Rachel Lorenz with two points and Allison Weekly with two rebounds and one assist.
Stover was led by Amy Schroder with 13 points.
As for the Prairie Home Lady Panthers, they scored enough points to win two out of three games but finished on the short end of the score in both games.
Such was the case Saturday night against Tuscumbia. Despite losing the game by a score of 80-50, the Lady Panthers scored in double digits in every quarter but still trailed 49-22 at the half and 66-35 after three.
Prairie Home coach Linda Scott said the girls picked a bad time to play their best game of the year against Tuscumbia.
“They showed us what speed can do for you on the basketball court, plus they had seven shooters,” Scott said. “We beat their press, but could not stop their fastbreak or three-point shooters. We passed the ball really well, attacked their press and basket and got to the free-throw line a lot. Tuscumbia made us play at a fast and high level every play. They never let up the pressure on either end of the court. This game really showed the girls the level you have to play at, if you want to be a good team. I thought our girls worked hard each play at a pace they have never been forced to play. This game shows us we can play much harder and faster than we thought we could.”
Tempany Gunter led three players in double figures for Tuscumbia with 21 points. Makayla Vaughan chipped in 17 while Summer Rush added 15.
For Prairie Home, who dropped to 1-4, Josie Flood had 13 points, six rebounds and one steal. Kendra Stinson finished the game with 11 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists, while Brooke Emmerich added nine points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal, Makayla Zey with six points, seven rebounds, one steal and one assist, Ally Small with six points, two rebounds and two assists, Katlynn Watson with two points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal, Kim Hettinger with two points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal and Amber Carmichael with one point.
For the Prairie Home boys, they had a little closer game while falling to Tuscumbia 62-49.
The Panthers, also 1-4 on the season, led Tuscumbia 11-8 after first period’s end but was outscored 54-38 the rest of the way to suffer the loss.
Prairie Home coach Jesse Oswald said this game really capped off a bad week for the Panthers.
“We were outplayed for most of this game,” Oswald said. “We had a very poor shooting night and gave a lot of open looks to them. It didn’t help that we shot 6 for 20 from the free throw line. Hopefully we can learn from these past few games and move forward and try to make ourselves better. We need to understand what we did or didn’t do and make some steps forward and correct them in order to make our basketball team better.”
Zane Humphreys had 26 points to lead Tuscumbia.
For Prairie Home, Trever Huth finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Sam Distler added 13 points, eight rebounds and one steal while Rayce Kendrick chipped in 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, Kody Utterback with four points, six rebounds and one steal, Jonathan Brandes with four points and one steal and Klay Holliday with two points, one rebound and one steal.