PITTSBURG — Shots were falling for the Pittsburg High School basketball teams on Friday, as the Purple Dragons came away with a pair of wins over Girard 56-25 in the girls’ game and 66-51 in the boys’ contest.
DRAGONS TROUNCE LADY TROJANS
Points came early and often for the PHS girls’ team in the 56-25 win over the Lady Trojans.
The Purple Dragons put the clamps down on defense, holding the Trojans to two points in the second quarter and 25 in the contest to earn the win.
“I was really proud of our intensity on defense,” PHS head coach Kris Crotts said. “We put good pressure on the ball and played solid, team defense. We had quality backside help and communicated well. It’s nice to see our defense coming together. It was a good defensive outing tonight.”
A quick start for the Purple Dragons saw them jump out to an 8-0 lead before going up 18-6 by out scoring the Trojans 10-4 in the final four minutes of the first quarter.
Madden Petty had a big hand in giving Pittsburg the early lead, scoring six points in the opening eight minutes.
The Purple Dragons began pulling away in the second quarter, as they held Girard to two points en route to taking a 33-8 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
The second quarter was highlighted by seven points from Petty and included six points from Kaydn Matlock.
PHS kept pressure on in the second half, beginning the third quarter with eight consecutive points — four coming from Kaitlyn Kidd — to expand the lead to 41-10.
Girard gained some offensive momentum halfway through the third following a layup by Sydnee Crain which sparked a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 43-16.
A 3-pointer by Petty ended the scoring drought for PHS and sparked an 8-3 run which pushed the score to 51-19 at the end of the third quarter.
With the running clock in effect during the final eight minutes of play, the Purple Dragons coasted to the win.
“We’ve faced quite a bit of adversity lately and I don’t think we responded very well to that here tonight,” GHS head coach Brad Herlocker said. “Sports provide an opportunity to help kids become stronger people, so we’re going to go back to the drawing board and, hopefully, come out a better, stronger team next time.”
Petty led the way offensively for PHS in the win, scoring a team-high 22 points along with seven rebounds and one assist
Kidd also finished in double digits with 10 points and five rebounds.
Crain was the leading scorer for Girard with 13 points and four rebounds.
DRAGONS TOP TROJANS
It was a 15-point victory for the PHS boys’ team in game two, but the score was close throughout in an intense battle, as the Purple Dragons went into the fourth quarter with a one-point advantage before pulling away in the end.
“We tip our caps to coach Rod Westcott and that Girard team,” PHS head coach Kylie Roelfs said. “I thought they played extremely hard and extremely well. We were fortunate enough in the second half to get some shots going and regain some momentum, but it wasn’t because they didn’t make us earn it. They have a really good basketball team and are really well coached. We feel fortunate to walk out of here with a win. I felt like our guys responded well in the second half and we didn’t panic. We just found a way to make a run late which made the difference.”
Girard fell behind in the early going, but stayed within striking distance before taking the lead at 26-16 following 11 consecutive points to start the second quarter.
The 11-0 run was highlighted by five points from Evan Troike and included four points from Carter Doherty.
Girard held the lead for the remainder of the first half, but the Purple Dragons regained it at 37-36 halfway through the third quarter on the strength of a back-to-back 3-pointers from Drew Roelfs and Gavyn Elkamil.
The Purple Dragons went on to expand the one-point lead to double digits following nine consecutive points en route to out scoring the Trojans 21-7 in the final eight minutes of regulation.
“They made plays down the stretch,” Westcott said. “They got hot from outside late in the third quarter and they knocked shots down when we were trying to take the inside away. We did some good things there, but they got hot and made a few more plays than we did down the stretch. I was proud of our guys for battling hard tonight. Hopefully, we can take some lessons away from this and be better down the road.”
Marque English led the Purple Dragons in scoring with 21 points, while his teammates Roelfs and Elkamil posted 14 and 12 points respectively.
Caleb Muia was the offensive catalyst for Girard with 16 points.
Ethan Goff and Troike were also feeling it, finishing with 10 points apiece.
The Trojans will head to Fredonia to compete in the Wilson County Tournament starting on Monday, while the Purple Dragons will host the Border Classic beginning on Thursday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.