The top-seeded Pilot Grove boys basketball team made it look almost too easy last night in the opening round of the Class 1 District 8 Tournament at Northwest of Hughesville.
While outscoring Kingsville 41-5 in the first quarter, the Tigers put it on cruise after that for a 78-55 victory.
Of course the Bunceton boys basketball team wasn’t so lucky, as they fell to Leeton 53-37.
In other games last night in the tournament, No. 3 Otterville defeated sixth-seeded Calhoun 67-52 while fourth-seeded Chilhowee held on for a 55-52 win over Northwest of Hughesville.
Tournament action will continue tonight with all four semifinal-round games. Bunceton girls will take on Northwest in the first game starting at 4:30 p.m., followed by Otterville girls versus Pilot Grove at 6 p.m., Pilot Grove boys versus Chilhowee at 7:30 and Leeton versus Otterville at 9.
The Tigers, improving to 21-6 on the season, opened the first half with a 52-25 lead against Kingsville. However, in the final-two periods, Kingsville outscored Pilot Grove 30-26.
Pilot Grove coach Rick Grunden said the Tigers took on a new opponent in their district for the first time.
“Our main goal was to come out and use our press to take the air out of the game quickly,” Grunden said. “We did just that in the first quarter. The rest of the game we utilized our bench. At times we did some good things while pushing the ball. However, defensively we lacked and that affected us greatly. It was good to have the non-starters play the majority of the game. Those kids work very hard all season and deserve the win. We will turn right back around on Wednesday for round two and take on a Chilhowee team that is both athletic and scrappy.”
Jake Leverton led 11 players in scoring for Pilot Grove with 15 points. Kendall Kraus chipped in 13, Mason Schlotzhauer 12, Colton Glenn and Alex Twenter eight each, Brandon Brown six, Regan Meisenheimer and Ben Glenn each with four, Adam Newell and Scott Blank with three each and Dylan Twenter with two.
Kingsville was led by Christian Brooks with 21.
As for Bunceton, they had a tougher road against Leeton while trailing the Bulldogs 29-16 at the half and 45-28 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, the Dragons rallied back with a 9-8 advantage.
Bunceton coach Yancy Cody said the boys played one of their best games. “I am very proud of them,” Cody said.
Dylan Swabby had the game-high for Leeton with 16 points.
For Bunceton, who closed out the season at 8-16 overall, Jacob Clevenger had 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Kyler Tucker added 10 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists while Will Twenter chipped in five points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two assists, Kyle Held with four points, eight rebounds and one assist and Ashton Campbell with two points, three assists and two rebounds.
Page 2 of 2 - The Dragons also finished the game hitting 13 of 49 shots from the field for 27 percent and 6 of 12 from the foul line for 50 percent.
As for Otterville, they trailed Calhoun 31-30 at the break but outscored the Eagles 37-21 in the second half for the victory.
Ryan Benny had 21 points and Justin Halgren 17 for the Eagles, who improved to 17-7 on the season.