The Pilot Grove boys basketball team scored more in two quarters than the first-three quarters combined for the Bunceton Dragons on Tuesday.
The only problem is that the Dragons outscored the Tigers 39-17 in the first and fourth quarters before bowing out in a back and forth battle 76-67.
While the win improved Pilot Grove’s record to 9-10 overall, head coach Derek Skaggs said he thought his team showed spurts of the defensive pressure they can create and how it can turn into points on the offensive end.
“Our second and third quarters were exactly what we are looking for,” Skaggs said. “We need to build on these last couple of wins as we travel to community for an anticipated matchup. They got us back in early January on a great shooting performance and we look forward to the rematch.”
But first, the Tigers had enough problems early on against Bunceton as the Dragons went on runs of seven and six points to lead 20-14 after one. The only thing that really saved Pilot Grove from being blown out in the first quarter was a 5-0 run over the final minute to cut the lead back to six.
Of course nobody could have predicted what transpired in the second quarter as Pilot Grove came out and reeled off 21 straight during a three minute stretch to lead by 13 at 35-22.
While scoring a season-high 34 points for one quarter, Pilot Grove also played a little defense during that span while holding Bunceton to 11 points to lead at the break 48-31.
Bunceton coach Dustin Ray said this was a game of the good, the bad and the ugly. “We played well the first and fourth quarters and very bad the second and third quarters,” Ray said. “It is very hard to win a game let alone compete when you turn the ball over 30 times in one game. Shooting percentage was below our normal, but not bad. Pilot Grove was the toughest defensive team that we have played all year and it showed.”
The Tigers showed little if any fall off from the half against Bunceton. Although it was slightly less than the second quarter, Pilot Grove still managed to outscore Bunceton 25-17 in the third period to extend the lead to 73-48. Of course 16 of those 25 points came on two different runs of eight points.
Meanwhile with the game well in hand up by 25, the Tigers opened the fourth with a three by Ethan Williams to make it 76-48 with 7:14 left. However for the rest of the game, Bunceton dominated Pilot Grove by reeling off 19 straight points to cut the lead back to nine.
Gavin Shepherd led a balanced scoring attack for Pilot Grove with 20 points. Bailey Quint chipped in 15, Cole Meisenheimer 11, Bo Vinson and Dorsan Hern each with eight, Phillip Brown five, Lucas Fahrendorf four, Ethan Williams three and Kealin Vinson with two.
For Bunceton, who dropped to 7-10 on the season, Jason Burnett finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Dillon Alpers added 16 points, nine rebounds and one assist while Brayden Doyle tallied 14 points, six rebounds, one steal and one assist, Hunter Shuffield 11 points, four rebounds, four steals and one assist, Dylan Flatt two points, two rebounds and one steal and Layne Maddex with one point, 11 rebounds and one assist.
The Dragons also finished the game shooting 39 percent from the field and 56 percent from the foul line.