TOPEKA — The Pittsburg High School boys’ basketball took third-place finish at the Kansas 5A state championship on Saturday after defeating Shawnee-Mill Valley 58-56 in the consolation game after losing to Salina Central 51-46 on Friday.
PURPLE DRAGONS CLAIM THIRD
A late rally by the Jaguars cut their double-digit deficit to two points late in the fourth quarter, but the Purple Dragons managed to hang on in the end to earn the win.
Shots weren’t falling for PHS in Friday’s loss, but the Purple Dragons had it going from deep on Saturday, jumping out to a 10-point lead with points coming from Marque English and Trent Austin.
Mill Valley cut the deficit to single digits in the second quarter to narrow the gap to single digits at 31-24 at the half.
Pittsburg responded with a strong third quarter, which ended on a 3-pointer by Drew Roelfs to push the PHS lead to 47-35.
The Purple Dragons went on to protect the lead in the fourth quarter, with strong free throw shooting down the stretch.
DEFENSE STRONG FOR MUSTANGS IN WIN
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 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.
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.