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  • Pittsburg boys, girls score 53 in wins

  • The Pittsburg boys overcame 24 turnovers with their defense, rebounding, interior play and some timely outside shooting during a 53-45 season-opening win Friday night over the Louisburg Wildcats.

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  • The Pittsburg boys overcame 24 turnovers with their defense, rebounding, interior play and some timely outside shooting during a 53-45 season-opening win Friday night over the Louisburg Wildcats.
    “I tell you what, they (defense and rebounding) have to be key when you turn over the ball as many times as we did,” Pittsburg head coach Kiley Roelfs said. “If you’re not guarding people and if you’re not finishing possessions by rebounding when you’re turning the ball over, you’re going to get beat. We were able somehow to get a lead and maintain it. For a while there, I was amazed that we were up by nine as bad as it felt offensively. That’s a credit to our kids for their ability not to blink with adversity and to stay with it, to stay the course and keep coming up with defensive possessions.”
    Senior big men FeDor Lomax and Stefon Rich combined for 22 points and 21 rebounds — Lomax 16 points and 11 rebounds, Rich six points and 10 rebounds. Tanner Ellis led Pittsburg with 17 points and Kaleb Owens scored nine points on three 3s.
    Louisburg perimeter defenders Patrick Storey, Garrett Lesher, Corbin Wertz and E.R. Steffy hounded Pittsburg with a combination of aggressive man-to-man defense and traps whenever Pittsburg ballhandlers picked up their dribble in the most opportune places for aggressive defenses.
    “I tip my cap to them because I think you’ve got to credit to them for our bad play on offense with the turnovers,” Roelfs said. “I thought they played extremely hard on defense. I don’t think our kids were ready. They put us back on our heels. I don’t think our kids were ready for the type of pressure they put on us in the halfcourt and that’s on me. I didn’t have our guys prepared enough to handle that kind of pressure. The best news about it is that we were able to learn a lot tonight and still win the game.”
    John Stambaugh and Garrett Lesher each paced the guests with 11 points and E.R. Steffy added nine.
    Pittsburg (1-0) visits Girard on Tuesday.
    Pittsburg girls 53, Louisburg 52
    The Purple Dragons opened their season with a last-second win, the last points a combination of the hustle of Lizzy Willis and Alaura Short for a loose ball and the layup by junior forward Bethanne Elliott as the picture became clearer after a scramble.
    Louisburg had taken a 52-51 lead with 37.6 seconds remaining on a Bailey Dvorak 3-point shot. Pittsburg held off Louisburg on the game final’s possession.
    “I was so proud of our team for the composure that they held all the way through,” Pittsburg head coach Kim Peterson-O'Bray said, “especially at the end of the fourth quarter. I felt like they stayed under control, never gave up, kept fighting tooth-and-nail the whole way through. I couldn’t be any happier.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Pittsburg had five players score at least six points and three finished in double figures — Katy Short 13, Elliott 12 and Willis 10 points. Willis scored eight first-half points and Elliott finished with eight second-half points. Alaura Short added seven points, Mercedes Vogel six, Katie Phalen four and freshman Ashlee Beitzinger one. Balance was the operative word Friday night.
    “We don’t want there to be any letdown when our subs come in,” Peterson-O'Bray said. “We don’t want there to be a drop off in ability, hustle, effort and play. I felt like all the players, freshmen through seniors, contributed in a positive way. We had three people in double-digit scoring and everybody but one who played tonight scored so it was great to see that.”
    The Wildcats led 30-28 at halftime, propelled by the 12 points of Brook Vaughan, including a pair of 3-pointers. Vaughan went scoreless after halftime and Pittsburg took over the lead for the majority of the second half.
    “That team seemed to live and die by the 3,” Peterson-O'Bray said. “They shot a bunch of them and she (Vaughan) was a good shooter but we tried to stay a little closer to her (in the second half) instead of helping out so much. We were able to contain her.”
    Pittsburg (1-0) faces Girard and these Crawford County teams from different leagues (Pittsburg SEK, Girard CNC) developed an intense rivalry last season with three contests.

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