Will play Drexel in sectionals Tuesday at Smith-Cotton
After having their season cut short last year in the district playoffs, the Pilot Grove Tigers basketball team returned to the scene of the crime Saturday in the championship in the Class 1 District 8 Tournament at Northwest of Hughesville.
Except this time, the Tigers took care of business by beating the Leeton Bulldogs for the title 62-47.
Pilot Grove, 22-5 on the season, will play Drexel, 19-8, in the sectional round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, March 4th at Sedalia Smith-Cotton High School starting at 7:45 p.m.
Of course the Tigers didn’t always lead in the game against Leeton. While trailing 16-14 after first period’s end, Pilot Grove rallied back with a 16-11 advantage in the second quarter to go up 30-27 at the half. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, the Bulldogs outscored Pilot Grove again 13-6 to make it 40-36. However, the Tigers saved their best for last by rallying past Leeton with a 26-7 advantage for the victory.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the game was a complete team effort.
“We connected on 19 of 21 free throws, our defense was outstanding and our guys were able to get to the glass and rebound,” Skaggs said. “Leeton’s focus was to take Mason away and we had guys ready to step up. Reagan was able to hit some big shots behind the arc along with Trenton getting some big offensive putbacks in the first half. In a neck and neck game we were up for the most part, but Leeton went up by six to start the fourth quarter. We answered with a 14-0 run and timely steals and back-to-back threes by Jake Leverton to go up by eight with four minutes remaining and never looked back. We closed out the game by going 12 for 12 from the charity stripe to finish.”
Jake Leverton led three players in double figures for Pilot Grove with 20 points along with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Trenton Young had 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals while Reagan Meisenheimer added 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal, Mason Schlotzhauer with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal, Colton Glenn with four points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal, Ben Glenn with four points and two rebounds, Alex Cooper with two rebounds, Alex Twenter with one steal and Scott Blank with one blocked shot.
The Tigers also finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field and 90 percent from the foul line.