No. 7 Westran boys knock off No. 2 Sturgeon, 56-44

As expected, the No. 1 seeds in the 90th annual New Franklin Invitational Tournament cruised  in the opening round Saturday with Fayette boys winning 68-36 over Sweet Springs and Community R-6 girls prevailing 61-5 over Westran.
However the No. 2 seeded Sturgeon boys weren’t so lucky as the Bulldogs fell to No. 2 Westran 56-44. As for the No. 2 Pilot Grove girls, they improved to 9-0 on the season by turning back Prairie Home 62-32.
In other games, the New Franklin boys upended Prairie Home 56-28 while the Pilot Grove boys fell to Community R-69-60. On the girls side, New Franklin Lady Bulldogs dropped a 41-35 decision against Sturgeon while the Fayette Lady Falcons held on to beat Sweet Springs 42-39.
Tournament action will continue tonight on the loser’s bracket side, with the Westran girls playing New Franklin at 6 p.m. in the old gym and Prairie Home girls versus Sweet Springs at 6 p.m. in the new gym. Meanwhile, at 7:30 p.m., the Sweet Springs boys will play Pilot Grove in the new gym while Sturgeon battles Prairie Home at 7:30 in the old gym.
On Thursday, the same format will be held for the winner’s bracket games. At 6 p.m., Community R-6 will play Sturgeon in the new gym while Pilot Grove squares off against Fayette in the hold team. Meanwhile, at 7:30, Fayette boys will play Community R-6 in the old gym while Westran faces off against New Franklin in the new gym.
For the Pilot Grove girls, they led Prairie Home from the opening tip while taking a 39-17 lead into the half. The Lady Tigers also outscored Prairie Home 23-15 in the final two periods.
“We moved the ball well tonight,” said Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott. “We ran the floor the best of the year, which is a part of our game that we have been missing.”
Emily Schupp led the Lady Tigers with 27 points. Melanie Wolfe chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double while Grace Phillips added six points, Abby Schupp four points and 10 rebounds, Chloe Schlotzhauer three points, Reagan McFatrich, Danae Lammers, Natalie Glenn and Claira Roth each with two points and Aryn Lorenz and Leah Vollrath with one point each.
For Prairie Home, who dropped to 1-10 on the season, Kelsey Watson had 10 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three assists. Maggie Wood finished the game with 10 points, three steals, two assists and one rebound while Ashlyn Twenter added five points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist, Savanah Tracy three points, Paiton Williams two points, four rebounds, three steals and one assist, Kaelyn Crews two points and five rebounds and Madison Bishop with one rebound.
Prairie Home coach Shelly Rex said the team is improving each game but still working on their fundamentals.
As for the New Franklin boys, they also jumped out big against Prairie Home while leading the Panthers 21-10 after one and 43-21 at the half. The Bulldogs also outscored Prairie Home 13-7 in the second half.
“We started off with a lot of energy and effort and I am pleased to see that coming out of a long Christmas break,” said New Franklin coach Ross Dobson. “One thing we could’ve improved on is finishing around the rim and having the same energy level in the second half as the first.”
Gavin Bishop had 16 points to pace all scorers in the game for New Franklin, who improved to 8-2 on the season. Tyler Perkins and Kolby Anson chipped in nine points each while Tysen Dowell added seven points, Carter Bailey six points, Caleb Hull four, Tre’ Cowans three and Jackson Dorson with two.
For the Panthers, who fell to 8-3 on the season and had its eight game winning streak snapped, Blake Petsel finished the game with 13 points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist. Kassen Lock had five points, two rebounds and one assist while Blaine Petsel added five points, one rebounds, one steal and one assist, Clayton Pethan four points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist and Colton Searles and Ty Stidham each with one rebound.
Prairie Home coach Mark McLaughlin said this game was a bad loss for the Panthers.
“We really didn’t look like ourselves and didn’t respond well to the really fluid and disciplined New Franklin played,” McLaughlin said. “We started slow, it quickly became contagious. Not making shots, a step slow on loose balls, and not getting a lot of the bounces of the ball we normally get. Adversity makes you choose the tool you’re going to use to get out of the hole you’re in. We have two choices-a shovel or a ladder. Resiliency means you bounce back. If you’re constructed like a ball, the harder you fall, the higher you bounce back. If you’re a pumpkin, you splatter in pieces on the floor. I have a good sense that this team is made of stern stuff that will help them recover, and do so quickly. We have good opponents coming up. Good teams take what they’re given to stay in a game while great teams go get the rest.”
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they played a great first quarter and a not so good second quarter while trailing Community R-6 at the break 29-28. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they had nothing else to show in the second half as Community R-6 held a 40-32 advantage to win by nine.
“Community had the best duo threat that we have faces this season so far,” said Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs. “The Escamilla brothers combined for 48 of their 69 points doing most of their work behind the arc with 10 three-point field goals combined and shooting 16 of 19 at the charity stripe. I thought our defense did a great job defending them, but you have to credit their ability to put the ball in the bucket with little space. We knew they had a combo, but wasn’t expecting quite what we faced today. This is a team we will face again in February for our first conference matchup since they joined and we will make some adjustments to prepare.”
Caden Escamilla had 30 points and Blaze Escamilla 18 for Community R-6.
Cole Meisenheimer had the high game for Pilot Grove, who dropped to 5-4, with 21 points. Bailey Quint chipped in 14, Gavin Shepherd 10, Lucas Fahrendorf eight, Ethan Williams three and Kealin Vinson with two.
As for the New Franklin girls, they got off to a slow start against Sturgeon while trailing 21-14 at the half and 32-20 after three quarters of play. However, in the final period, the Lady Bulldogs rallied back with a 15-9 advantage to cut the lead back to six.
New Franklin coach Morgan Vetter said this was a tough loss but the girls battled back and stuck in the game until the end. “Many games ahead of us for the 2019 year,” Vetter said. “These girls are right on the edge of something special and I know through their continued hard work they will get there.”
Jahna Burris had 11 points and Emma Bright 10 to lead Sturgeon.
For New Franklin, who dropped to 2-8 on the season, Abby Maupin tossed in 15 points. Shelby Breshears had seven, Kristen Flick six, Lauren Evans five and Madelyn Chaney with two.
For the top-seeded Fayette boys, who led Sweet Springs 43-19 at the half, Kyle Schlecer had 17 points and Cale Poulsen 14. Sweet Springs was led by Colton Robb with 17 points.
As for the Community R-6 girls, who led 29-2 at the break, Natalie Thomas tossed in 14 points while Breanna Beamer added 12.
For the Westran boys, Ben Miller had 21 and Karter Koening 14 while Jake Brooks tallied 12 in a losing cause for Sturgeon.
With the game tied at 23-all at the half, Westran came out and outscored Sturgeon 33-21 in the second half.
As for the Fayette-Sweet Springs girls game, the Lady Falcons led by just three (22-19) at the break and then matched the Greyhounds with 20 points in the second half.
Abbey Conrow had 19 points and Emma Hoover 11 to lead Fayette. Sweet Springs was led by Sydney Vaught with 15 points.