The Pilot Grove boys basketball team couldn’t have asked for a better start at home Friday night against the Bunceton Dragons.
Although the conference season won’t officially start until February for teams in the CCAA conference, the Tigers still wanted to make a statement just the same against the Dragons and for the rest of the teams in the conference. As it turned out, Pilot Grove did just that while leading from start to finish for a 63-30 victory.
As for the Pilot Grove girls, they had a little tougher time while losing by 16 against the No. 1 team in the conference in the Bunceton Lady Dragons by a score of 49-33.
The Tigers, improving to 14-3 on the season, outscored Bunceton in three out of four quarters of play and led 20-8 after one and 41-16 at the half. Meanwhile, after Bunceton rallied back with a 10-9 advantage in the third, Pilot Grove came back and held a 13-4 scoring edge in the fourth to win the game by 33.
Pilot Grove coach Rick Grunden said the game was important to come out and set the tone early.
“Bunceton is capable of getting on a hot streak offensively and we needed to control the rhythm of the game,” Grunden said. “We did well to start the game off, the press was slowing them down and we were executing well. During the third quarter we had some hiccups, but managed to hold our lead. Tonight Kendall Kraus, Colton Glenn, and Mason Schlotzhauer each gave us a solid game. As a team, we had some really solid moments in a game that could have quickly gotten out of control. The time when we hit our spark happens when we decide to play our most aggressive ball. We will need to bring all the momentum we can to the table when we take on Fayette in the first round of the Slater Tournament.”
Kendall Kraus had the high game for Pilot Grove with 15 points. Mason Schlotzhauer chipped in 13, Colton Glenn 11, Dylan Twenter nine, Adam Newell five, Brandon Brown and Jake Leverton each with four and Scott Blank with two.
For Bunceton, who dropped to 5-8 on the season, Kyler Tucker had 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Ashton Campbell finished the game with seven points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal while Jacob Clevenger added four points and seven rebounds, Kyle Held with two points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal, Will Twenter with two points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist and Dylan Cosfer with one rebound.
The Dragons also finished the game shooting 23 percent from the field and 25 percent from the foul line.
Page 2 of 3 - Bunceton coach Yancy Cody said the boys didn’t play fundamentally sound, disciplined basketball. “It really opened my eyes to our weaknesses.”
As for the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers, they also led Bunceton after the first quarter by a score of 13-12. However it was pretty much all Bunceton after that while leading 22-17 at the break and 34-27 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, Bunceton outscored Pilot Grove 15-6 to win the game by 16.
Bunceton coach Mike Arnold said it was a very emotional game for the girls. “Under the circumstances I was very proud of the way they played,” Arnold said. “As a team they showed a lot of heart.”
For Bunceton, Rachel Emde had 25 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double. Emde also finished the game with five steals and four assists.
Erica Kahle added 13 points, four steals, two rebounds and two assists while Sam Brandes chipped in six points, nine rebounds and four steals, Maddie Berwanger with four points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three assists, Julia Kahle with one point and three rebounds and Deanne Emde with three rebounds.
The Lady Dragons also finished the game shooting 28 percent from the field and 72 percent from the foul line.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said it was a tough shooting night for the Lady Tigers, who dropped to 4-10 overall.
“Tonight was just one of those nights you have where you wonder in the back of your mind what could have been,” Daniel said. “We played an extremely well executed game for the most part on both ends of the floor. We did what we had to do on offense to get the shots, but we couldn’t throw it in the ocean if we were standing on the beach, nothing fell for us. The girls played really great defense and had one of our better rebounding nights on the year playing against a team that outsized us tremendously. I’m proud of the girls’ effort and really believe we are moving in the right direction. McKalie Lorenz had good game for us tonight hitting double digits and Kerigan Wessing and Cynthia Brumback each had a solid night.”
Kerigan Wessing paced all scorers in the game for Pilot Grove with 15 points along with six rebounds, three assists, three steals and one blocked shot.
McKalie Lorenz finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds while Melissa Schlotzhauer added three points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, Cynthia Brumback with two points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal and McKenzi Schuster with two points, four rebounds and two assists.
For Bunceton, Rachel Emde had 25 points and Erica Kahle 13.
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