It wasn’t the game Prairie Home boys and girls basketball teams wanted to play in Friday in the 90th annual New Franklin Invitational Tournament.
But after dropping their first two games in the tournament against higher seeds, the Panthers and Lady Panthers bounced back to win the seventh place games on Friday by beating the Sweet Springs boys 57-42 and Westran girls 36-27, respectively.
In other games on Friday, the New Franklin girls fell in the fifth place game against Sweet Springs 52-43 while the Pilot Grove boys lost to a red-hot Sturgeon team 83-43.
The Prairie Home boys, improving to 9-4 on the season, outscored Sweet Springs in three out of the four quarters of play and led 16-9 after one, 33-20 at the half and 44-37 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, the Panthers outscored Sweet Springs 7-5 to win the game by 15.
Prairie Home coach Mark McLaughlin said this game is proof that whether a team is 2-7 or 8-4, one of that matters when you play. “You have to play the game,” McLaughlin said. “Our kids played a really solid basketball game against a good shooting, well coached team. We had a 13 point lead at halftime and they cut the lead to five at 49-44 in the late stages of the third quarter. This was a storm to weather and they did that, bore down and stayed calm. Clayton (Pethan) was a monster on the glass and we forced 20 turnovers. Ty Stidham had a big game in being an unselfish distributor of the ball-he did a brilliant job of that from the high point creating some really critical shots. Blake had a great floor game, and with Clayton, Kassen and Blaine all in double figures, our balance was great. We have a big week coming up with two more road trips against Santa Fe on Tuesday and then the game of the year Friday at Jamestown. Huge game with district implications. We look forward to that challenge.”
Clayton Pethan finished the game with a double-double for Prairie Home with 17 points and 15 rebounds. He also had four steals and two assists.
Kassen Lock tallied 13 points, five steals, two rebounds and one assist while Blaine Petsel added 13 points, four steals and two assists, Luke Stewart six points, two rebounds and one steal, Blake Petsel five points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists and Ty Stidham with three points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals.
For Sweet Springs, Colton Robb had 17 points and Nick Ortzian nine.
As for the Prairie Home girls, they also led Westran from start to finish by taking a 18-12 lead into the half. The Lady Panthers also outscored Westran 18-15 in the second half to win the game by nine.
Prairie Home coach Shelly Rex said this was a good win. “We’re start to move the ball and play defense,” Rex said.
Ashlyn Twenter had the game high for Prairie Home, who improved to 2-11 on the season, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kelsey Watson finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds, five steals and two assists while Maggie Wood had eight points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals, Savanah Tracy three points, one rebound and one assist, Kaelyn Crew one point, seven rebounds and three steals, Paiton Williams six rebounds, three assists and two steals and Madison Bishop with one rebound.
For Westran, Chase Perry had nine, Caylin seven and Emily Eitel with five.
As for the New Franklin girls, they trailed Sweet Springs 12-8 after first period’s end before rallying back with a 14-11 advantage in the second quarter to cut the lead to one-23-22-at the half. The Lady Bulldogs never got any closer as Sweet Springs came out in the second half and outscored New Franklin 29-22 for the victory.
New Franklin coach Morgan Vetter said the girls are right in all of these games, they just need to finish them out. “We will continue to work on that as we learn and grow as one,” Vetter said. “We have a turnaround game against Glasgow on Tuesday and then pick up conference games again.”
Sweet Springs was led in the game by Michaela Malter with 22 and Sydney Vaught with 14.
For New Franklin, who dropped to 3-9 on the season, Shelby Breshears tossed in 13 points while Abby Maupin and Madelyn Chaney chipped in eight points each, Kristen Flick with six and Campbell Cooper and Lauren Evans each with six points.
As for the Pilot Grove Tigers, they ran into a buzzsaw in the way of the Sturgeon Bulldogs Friday night in the consolation finals. While losing to the Bulldogs earlier in the season in a close game at Sturgeon, the Bulldogs left little doubt this time while leading Pilot Grove 56-22 at the half and 71-32 after three quarters of play. Sturgeon also outscored Pilot Grove 12-11 in the final period.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the boys suffered a tough loss. “Just a disappointing performance tonight,” Skaggs said. “I know the kids were disappointed with themselves as well. We need to find ourselves going forward and this next two week stretch in January is going to be a battle. We face two of the top teams in conference this week and I look for us to respond after Friday night’s performances.”
Kenny Stone had 22 points and Logan Flashpoler 20 for Sturgeon.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 6-5 on the season, Bo Vinson tossed in 11 points. Gavin Shepherd chipped in six, Bailey Quint, Cole Meisenheimer and Kealin Vinson five points each, Dorsan Hern four and Dylan Schupp and Lucan Fahrendorf each with two points.