PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg High School girls’ basketball team received a boost in momentum heading into Christmas break, as the Purple Dragons earned a 56-38 win over Joplin on Wednesday.
Pittsburg turned a three-point lead to a 18-point win by outscoring the Eagles 20-7 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we toughed one out,” PHS head coach Kris Crotts said. “We played four games in a little over five days. We also came into the game a little mentally drained because we just finished up finals, but the girls fought through it and persevered. I’m proud of them.”
Pittsburg jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead on the thanks to a pair of layups from Kaitlyn Kidd and Madden Petty, but took a 15-8 deficit into the second quarter after being outscored by the Eagles 16-3 in the following six minutes.
The Purple Dragons regained the lead at 18-17 halfway through the second quarter following eight unanswered points, which included four points apiece from Abbie Casper and Kidd.
A jumper by the Eagles swung momentum and the lead back in their favor, as they went on to take a 21-18 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Joplin extended the lead to five points four minutes into the third quarter, before an 11-1 run by the Purple Dragons gave them a 36-31 lead going into the final eight minutes of regulation.
Kassidy O’Dell put up four points in the run and her teammate Casper contributed three.
Joplin trimmed the deficit to three points at the beginning the fourth quarter with a layup, but a 12-1 run by the Purple Dragons extended the lead to double digits at 48-34.
PHS had control of the momentum in the remaining three minutes, capping off the win with eight consecutive points.
“I just think this gives us some confidence,” Crotts said. “Last night was the first time we had a lead going into the fourth quarter and we had to learn how to hold it. Tonight, we had another lead in the fourth and were able to extend it. I just feel like we’re maturing, growing and learning to win. Hopefully, we’re going to be able to keep it going.”
Petty had the hot hand for PHS in the win, putting up a team-high 17 points.
Kidd and Casper also scored in double figures with 15 points apiece.
PHS will host Fort Scott at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 5.