PITTSBURG — It was an anticlimactic conclusion to the 2018 Border Classic on Saturday, as Blue Valley Northwest blew out the Pittsburg boys’ basketball team 68-41 in the championship game.
The Huskies any ended any potential drama by quickly building a double-digit lead in the early going before holding the Purple Dragons to two points in the third quarter en route to the win.
“We didn’t do a lot of things well today and they capitalized on everything by making shots,” PHS head coach Kiley Roelfs said. “We tried to do a few things to get their shooters out of a rhythm, but it didn’t work. They were feeling it, and when you knock down shots at that rate, it’s tough. Add that on top of a lot of a lot of empty possessions on our end and that’s the outcome you get.”
Blue Valley earned the win on the strength of 12 3-pointers in contest, with five coming from Christian Braun.
“Christian Braun is a heck of a player,” Roelfs said. “We wanted to limit his touches, but it was tough to do because they do a really nice job of finding ways to get him the basketball. When they don’t get it to him, they like to swing the ball to Sam Ward, who is also a really good shooter. We just didn’t play well enough. That’s a really good basketball team and a well-coached one. They played really well today and we didn’t”
Scoring against the Blue Valley defense proved to be a difficult task, but Gavyn Elkamil and Marque English managed to finish in double digits, posting 13 and 11 points respectively.
The PHS boys’ team punched its ticket to the championship game with a 64-56 win over Carthage in the semi-final round on Friday.
A double-digit lead for the Purple Dragons dwindled to three points after the Tigers opened the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run, but PHS managed to hang on for the win, out scoring Carthage 9-4 in the final four minutes of regulation.
“I thought the effort from both teams was extremely high,” Roelfs said. “I thought coach [Steve] Ray had his guys well prepared and ready to compete. I thought both teams were scratching and clawing to find a way to win that game. That’s what a semi-final game in a good tournament should look like. It was a good high school basketball game where both teams really got after it. We were just able to create enough space in a couple different spots during the game to end up on top. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”
English led the way for Pittsburg on offense with 23 points in the game.
Drew Roelfs was also feeling it, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers en route to scoring 18 points.
PHS GIRLS TAKE SIXTH
It was a rough way to conclude the weekend for the Pittsburg girls, as the Purple Dragons fell 54-29 to Blue Valley Northwest in the consolation championship game on Saturday.
After falling behind in the early going, the Huskies out scored the Purple Dragons 15-5 in the second quarter and 16-3 in the third to get the win.
“I think they just played really good defense,” PHS head coach Kris Crotts said. “We couldn’t get anything going and turned the ball over. That just allowed them to get some easy points in transition and they ran a nice offense in the halfcourt. They’re a really good team.”
Casper led the way for PHS on offense, putting up 11 points.
Petty and O’Dell came in close behind with seven points apiece.
“I thought we played hard for the most part,” Crotts said. “To be honest, it seemed like our defensive principles grew worse as the weekend went on. Hopefully, having a full week of practice next week will allow us to sure some things up defensively. We still have a lot to work on.”
In Friday’s game, the Purple Dragons hit their stride in the second half to pull away for a 62-46 win over Wichita West to earn a spot in the consolation championship game.
What started out as a back-and-forth affair turned to a double-digit win for the Purple Dragons after they out scored the Pioneers 19-7 in the third quarter.
Petty was the offensive catalyst with 20 points in the win.
Casper also had a big hand in the win, contributing 19 points of her own.
Pittsburg will host Desoto at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
— 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.