Pilot Grove boys basketball coach Rick Grunden said after watching the Slater Wildcats last week, he knew they were going to be athletic, quick and able to surprise teams at a moment’s notice.
So after taking a 15-11 lead at the end of the first period last night in Slater, Grunden still felt the Wildcats were still capable of making of game of it. But that was quickly put to rest after the Tigers held a 67-40 scoring edge for the rest of the game en route to a 82-51 victory.
As for the Lady Tigers, they were right there with Slater for two quarters while trailing by a score of 25-24. However, in the second half, the Lady Wildcats pulled away with a 35-21 advantage for a 60-45 victory.
While the win improved Pilot Grove’s record to 8-1 overall, Grunden said he knew his Tigers would have to control the tempo of the game if we wanted to win.  
“Midway through the first quarter we finally started to carry out what we needed to do,” Grunden said. “Our press created turnovers deep in the front court which accounted for some easy buckets on our end.  In the second half we made some changes which caused us to go on a scoring run.  Dylan Twenter was our leading scorer with 21, he did a much better job tonight of finishing around the basket. Before we head into the Christmas break, we will begin the first round of the New Franklin Tournament against the host team on Friday night.”
Dylan Twenter led four players in double figures for Pilot Grove, who led 34-22 at the half and 61-39 after three quarters of play, with 21 points.
Jake Leverton chipped in 19 while Mason Schlotzhauer added 15, Colton Glenn 12, Brandon Brown seven, Kendall Kraus six and Adam Newell two.
Slater was led by Casey Pemberton with 15 points.
As for the Lady Tigers, they trailed 12-11 after one, 25-24 at the half and 40-34 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, Slater outscored Pilot Grove 20-11 to win the game by 15.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said the girls played well for the most part, but they have got to cut down on turnovers and be more aggressive on offense.
“We missed way too many lay-ups in this game and got out rebounded by twofold, which can not happen if we expect to win basketball games,” Daniel said. “We have one more game before break and need to get some momentum going with a win.”
Mary Rose Gonzalez had 18 points and Mary Anne Boston 13 for Slater.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 3-6 on the season, Melissa Schlotzhauer finished the game with 21 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Kerigan Wessing chipped in 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot while Cynthia Brumback added four points, four steals, three rebounds and two assists, McKalie Lorenz with three points, two rebounds and one assist, McKenzi Schuster with five assists, five steals and two rebounds and Allison Weekly and Katelyn Renfro each with one rebound.
The Pilot Grove boys and girls basketball teams will play in the opening round of the 84th annual New Franklin Invitational Tournament on Friday. The Lady Tigers will play Sweet Springs at 4:30 p.m. while the Pilot Grove boys face New Franklin at 6.