The Pilot Grove boys and New Franklin girls had the perfect bounce back game Wednesday night in the consolation semifinals in the 90th annual New Franklin Invitational Tournament.
After dropping close games last Saturday in the opening round, the Lady Bulldogs came back with a strong first half and even better fourth quarter to beat the Westran Hornets 43-11. As for the Pilot Grove boys basketball team, they had an even bigger first half while leading Sweet Springs 31-16 en route to a 51-41 victory.
In other games on Wednesday, the Sturgeon boys defeated Prairie Home 72-37 while the Sweet Springs girls upended Prairie Home 53-36.
The New Franklin girls, improving to 3-8 on the season, jumped out to stay against Westran and led 23-7 at the half and 30-11 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, with a 19 point lead going into the final period, the Lady Bulldogs put the clamps on Westran defensively while outscoring the Hornets 13-0 to win by 32.
New Franklin coach Morgan Vetter said she thought it was a good team win for the girls. “I thought everybody stayed confident even when we missed some shots; I thought people bounced back and didn’t let it get to them,” Vetter said. “Honestly it’s just something we really needed was a win under our belt. Hopefully on Friday we have everybody back and healthy and are ready to go.”
Lauren Evans and Abby Maupin each tallied 13 points to lead all scorers for New Franklin. Shelby Breshears chipped in eight while Madelyn Chaney added four, Kristen Flick three and Kayce Hundley with two.
Haley Untiedt led all scorers for Westran with five points.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they pretty much owned Sweet Springs-at least for the first two periods-while leading the Greyhounds 18-9 after first period’s end and 31-16 at the break. Meanwhile, after Sweet Springs rallied back with a 12-7 advantage in the third quarter, Pilot Grove came back and matched the Greyhounds with 13 points in the final period to win the game by 10.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the boys came out with some intensity and established an edge in the first quarter. “We were able to maintain that throughout most of the game and get several guys some playing time off the bench early,” Skaggs said. “Late in the game we had to fight to secure the win as they tried to grab momentum and fight back, but the guys adjusted and did a good job of keeping separation on the scoreboard.”
Bailey Quint led three players in double figures for Pilot Grove, who improved to 6-4 on the season, with 13 points. Cole Meisenheimer tossed in 12 while Gavin Shepherd added 10, Bo Vinson eight, Lucas Fahrendorf and Phillip Brown each with three and Kealin Vinson with two.
Colton Robb and Grant Knipmeyer each had 11 points in the game for Sweet Springs.
As for the Prairie Home girls, they had their best quarter in the fourth by outscoring Sweet Springs 11-4. However by then it was too little too late as the Lady Greyhounds already had a sizeable lead while going in at the half on top 25-16. Sweet Springs also outscored Prairie Home 24-9 in the third to extend the lead to 49-25.
Michaela Malters had 22 points and Sydney Vaught 14 for Sweet Springs.
For Prairie Home, Maggie Wood finished the game with 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist. Ashlyn Twenter tallied eight points, two rebounds and one assist while Kaelyn Crews added five points, two rebounds and two assists, Paiton Williams four points, five rebounds and one steal, Kelsey Watson four points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist, Savannah Tracy two points, two steals, two assists and one rebound and Madison Bishop with three rebounds.
As for the Prairie Home boys, they trailed Sturgeon 18-12 after one and 30-19 at the break and then were outscored 42-18 in the second half.
Kenny Stone had 21 points to lead all scorers for Sturgeon.
For Prairie Home, who dropped to 8-4 on the season, Clayton Pethan finished the game with nine points along with four rebounds and two steals. Kassen Lock had seven points and two rebounds while Luke Stewart added seven points and one steal, Blaine Petsel four points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist, Ryan Small four points and two rebounds, Oliver Lock three points and one assist, Gabe Turner three points, Blake Petsel two rebounds, two steals and two assist, Ty Stidham two rebounds and two steals, Colton Searles two rebounds and Austin Small with one rebound.
“This year, our kryptonite has been the big, physically strong team that was as quick as we were-Kenny Stone is the best pure high school point guard I’ve seen and he had an answer for every guy we put on him,” McLaughlin said. “Jacob Brooks is superb on the inside. Our team didn’t lack effort at all-they took it at them but we had a lid on the basket and drive lanes were problematic. We’d play a great defensive position, get one miss, and they’d outmuscle us for the rebound. They were an excellent team capable of disrupting us in transition and within our half court looks. I took heart in our reserves coming off the bench and making some things happen in the last quarter. Basketball is a long season and there is a lot we can learn, and a lot more for us to do.”