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Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg boys handle Fort Scott

  • They may have struggled from the free throw line, but the Pittsburg Purple Dragon boys did not miss them when they counted the most.



    Coming off a two-game losing skid, the Purple Dragons made sure there was no late spoiler from the Fort Scott Tigers by making seven free throws in the final two minutes en route to a 58-52 victory.

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  • They may have struggled from the free throw line, but the Pittsburg Purple Dragon boys did not miss them when they counted the most.
    Coming off a two-game losing skid, the Purple Dragons made sure there was no late spoiler from the Fort Scott Tigers by making seven free throws in the final two minutes en route to a 58-52 victory.
    A pair of free throws by both Tanner Ellis and Stefon Rich put the Purple Dragons up 54-48 with less than a minute in the game before Pittsburg added two more plus a field goal to secure the win.
    “We played a good game, Fort Scott did a good job, (Jonathan) Stark is a good player and can be a lot for anybody to deal with,” said Pittsburg head coach Kiley Roelfs. “When things were tight in the second half, we found ways to get things done.”
    The Purple Dragons went 13 of 28 on free throws but over half of those came in the crucial moments.
    The Purple Dragons did have their hands full with Stark as the senior scored 24 points. Ellis and Rich both finished with 22 and 17 points respectively.
    They may have looked off on shooting from the charity stripe, but Roelfs is content with his team’s free throwing shooting this season as the Purple Dragons looked to be just having an off night in that category.
    “We did have some troubles shooting free throws but we’re still a good free throw shooting team,” Roelfs said. “We’ve got some good free throw shooters and we’ll knock those down.”
    Pittsburg jumped out of the gate to take an early 10-2 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers managed to close the gap to one point to close out the quarter. A 3-pointer by Kaleb Owens helped the Purple Dragons built a nine-point lead at halftime.
    But the Tigers would not go away in the second half.
    Fort Scott went on a 9-2 run. An outside shot by Jash Pytlowany made it a two-point game before the Purple Dragons answered with a slam-dunk by Rich.
    In the third, Rich collided with Stark and came crashing down on the floor. A questionable goal-tending foul was made by the refs, much to the ire of the home crowd as Rich limped off the court before returning shortly.
    Maybe there was a leak in the gymnasium from the rainfall earlier in the day, or perhaps the players were sweating more than usual but the court at times seemed more of an ice rink as over four official timeouts were called to wipe off parts of the floor. At one point, one of the refs slipped and fell down. But that didn’t seem to play a huge factor in the final outcome.
    Page 2 of 3 - After trading the lead several times, a 3-pointer by DeLaTorre tied the game at 42.
    A full court pass to Nick Vacca resulted in a lay-up before Fort Scott coach Jeff DeLaTorre screamed for a foul that was never called by the refs. His confrontation with the officials resulted in a technical foul with 4:23 left in the game.
    Ellis was sent to the line but missed both shots, keeping the score at 46-42, in favor of Pittsburg.
    Ellis later redeemed himself by scoring two free throws, keeping Pittsburg in front by four.
    A shot and a foul by Rich gave the Purple Dragons a seven-point advantage before missing his attempt. A 3-pointer by DeLaTorre made it a three-point game before Pittsburg used Fort Scott’s fouls to their advantage to close out.
    The Purple Dragons (7-6) will next take on Columbus on Friday night at home. Roelfs doesn’t know right away what are some of the areas of improvement for his team but he did include ball-control.
    “That’s a good question, I think we need to take care of the ball better, but a lot of the problems we’ve had this season, we didn’t have tonight,” Roelfs said.
    Fort Scott girls 57, Pittsburg 33
    Fort Scott came in riding a four-game winning streak. Pittsburg came in on a three-game losing skid. Something had to give.
    Unfortunately, it was the former.
    The Pittsburg Purple Dragons fell to the Fort Scott Tigers 57-33. Ashley Cook and Sidney Maycumber both scored 14 points as the Tigers proved to be too much.
    “Fort Scott played lights out. They were good from the free throw line, and they were tough to beat,” said head coach Kim Peterson-O’Bray. “Their girls were tougher than us mentally, and that’s something we have to do to get better at.”
    The Tigers scored three outside shots in the first quarter to jump to an 18-9 lead. They would continue to do the same stuff offensively in the second quarter. Katren Rienbolt and Cook both scored 3-pointers to build a 13-point advantage.
    The Purple Dragons struggled with turnovers throughout the night and could not get much going after the first quarter.
    “When the other team keeps hitting 3s, you just can’t keep turning the ball over,” Peterson-O’Bray said.
    Alaura Short led the Purple Dragons in scoring, finishing with eight points while Katy Short had seven.
    The Tigers held the Purple Dragons to only four points while scoring 18 in the third quarter. Nothing seemed to be going the Purple Dragons’ way. Pittsburg would not score a second half basket until 1:37 in the third after a free throw.
    Fort Scott were dominant on outside shooting, making six 3-pointers total.
    Page 3 of 3 - The Purple Dragons came out firing in the fourth quarter, going on a 6-0 run and bringing the deficit to 20.
    “We kept applying some things that we had been working on in practices but I felt like it was too little too late,” Peterson-O’Bray said. “It is what it is. We just didn’t perform.”
    Indeed, the damage had been done by the fourth.
    The Purple Dragons (8-5) can now turn their attention to Friday’s opponent against Columbus.
    “It seems like we have a lot we need to work on within ourselves,” Peterson O’Bray said. “We’re going to look at film from the first game and see what worked well for us, what adjustments we can make and hopefully that’ll help us and being on our floor for homecoming and hopefully we’ll have a better showing than we did tonight.”
     
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