TOPEKA — The hot shooting of the Pittsburg High School boys’ basketball team cooled off in the 51-46 loss to Salina-Central in the second round of the Kansas 5A state tournament on Friday.
After trailing for a majority of the contest, the Purple Dragons rallied back to take the lead in the opening minutes of fourth quarter, but couldn’t hang on for the win.
With the score tied at 11-all at the end of the first quarter, the Mustangs took control with a 10-3 run before ending the second quarter with a 3-pointer to give them a 26-21 advantage heading into the break.
A bucket by Marque English and a 3-pointer by Gavyn Elkamil narrowed Pittsburg’s deficit to two, where it stayed until the end of the third quarter with the score at 35-33.
Trent Austin shifted the momentum with an alley-oop dunk to begin the fourth quarter which tied the score at 35-all, and went on to hit a free throw to give the Purple Dragons a one-point lead with seven minutes remaining in regulation.
The Mustangs answered with a 3-pointer in the next possession and never looked back, as they slowly built the lead in the closing minute to put the game out of reach.
English finished as the leading scorer for PHS with 22 points and five rebounds in the loss.
Pittsburg will take on Shawnee-Mill Valley in the battle for third place at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
— 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.