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Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg hands Chanute a sweep

  • In the nightcap of a Southeast Kansas League doubleheader Tuesday night between host Pittsburg and guest Chanute, it took an extra period for the Purple Dragons to claim a 64-60 win over the Blue Comets.

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  • In the nightcap of a Southeast Kansas League doubleheader Tuesday night between host Pittsburg and guest Chanute, it took an extra period for the Purple Dragons to claim a 64-60 win over the Blue Comets.
    Early on, Pittsburg broke away from Chanute and held onto its lead until the fourth quarter when the Blue Comets went on a tear due to the offensive pyrotechnics of Jordan Richards and Trey Ellis, who helped Chanute gain a seven-point edge in the middle of the quarter.
    Pittsburg clawed its way back late in regulation and senior forward Tanner Ellis tied it up at 55 with a pair of free throws and forced overtime.
    “We were in an awful spot late in the fourth quarter,” Pittsburg head coach Kiley Roelfs said. “They were really executing on their end. No. 10 (Jordan Richards) kind of put them on his shoulder for a little while. I thought we were guarding pretty dang well but he just found ways to get it done and that’s when they got their lead. We were in dire straits and he had a lot to do with it. Obviously, we’re really pleased with our kids. We found a way to get our energy back and create some chaos defensively on their end. It allowed us to get to the rack some and finish and get us back in the game.”
    Once in overtime, senior guard Kaleb Owens gave Pittsburg a 58-55 lead on a 3, his first points since the first quarter. Pittsburg took advantage of poor free throw shooting by Chanute and once the Purple Dragons went ahead 60-58 on a Lomax basket, Ellis made four straight foul shots to close it out.
    “Overtime is like starting the game over,” Roelfs said. “Obviously, those first 3 minutes of a game, a half and then in overtime are always important. Hitting that 3 right away and getting that little cushion . . . there’s still 4 minutes left in the game but it gives you a little bit of wiggle room and I thought our guys responded well. Chanute came right back at us but we never faltered.
    “We took good enough care of the ball to get to the line and we knocked them down. That’s how you finish games and fortunately, we were the ones able to finish it tonight.”
    Ellis, who scored nine first-half points all on 3s and who left the game for an extended period upon a nasty collision with Caleb Dietsch of Chanute for a loose ball, scored all six of his points in the second half and overtime at the foul line on perfect 6-6 shooting. Ellis finished with 15 points.
    Lomax paced the Dragon attack with 17 points and 10 rebounds, a double-double highlighted by a basket late in regulation and the go-ahead 60-58 basket in overtime.
    Page 2 of 3 - Stefon Rich and Owens, both transfers from Joplin, finished with 12 and eight points, respectively.
    Richards led all scorers with 23 points and Trey Ellis added 14. Chanute senior Brock Gilmore fouled out with 2:50 left in the third quarter after drawing his fourth personal and then a technical for his disagreement with the call. Gilmore fouled out having scored only two points.
    Pittsburg improved to 10-7 overall and 4-5 in the Southeast Kansas League. The Purple Dragons host Coffeyville on Thursday night — gym reserved on Friday for the start of Class 4A wrestling regionals — and Thursday will be the final home night of the regular season for Pittsburg.
    “It’s a big win,” Roelfs said. “There’s no doubt. Against a good basketball team. At this time of the year, that confidence and that momentum are always a good thing. We grabbed some of it tonight and now we’ve got to try and carry it over and build some off it. We’ll be ready for the next one.”
    Pittsburg girls 43, Chanute 41
    Having been hampered with two personal fouls in the first two quarters herself, Pittsburg senior forward Alaura Short quickly drew personals No. 2 and No. 3 on Chanute sophomore center Macy Flowers.
    Flowers, a 6-foot-3 presence and tallest player on the floor, went out with 3:50 of the third and stayed out until 5:31 of the fourth quarter.
    During her absence, Chanute outscored Pittsburg 10-2 and this span proved to be a microcosm of the wild swings after halftime.
    Short made a basket as she drew No. 3 on Flowers to give Pittsburg a 26-24 edge but the Purple Dragons went cold at the end of the third. Chanute senior Brenna Olson made her second 3 of the game and found Madi Rollins for a layup and 29-28 advantage, the first lead of the game for the Blue Comets and the score at the end of the third quarter.
    “Our big key tonight was mental aggressiveness,” Pittsburg head coach Kim Peterson-O’Bray said. “Being in attack mode from the very beginning of the game all the way through. I felt like there were times where we started feeling a little bit let down if we weren’t winning or if they were catching up or if we had a dry spell in terms of our shooting or our free throws.
    “We were feeling dejected or deflated but we talked about how we’ve got to play with that same intensity and that same attack mode you did when you came out at the beginning of the game. We did a better job of bringing that back and we never gave up.”
    Chanute scored the first five of the fourth (Olson hit her third 3) and gained a 36-30 lead but the aggressiveness of the Shorts (older sister Alaura, younger sister Katy) resulted in five straight points and then Bethanne Elliott put the Purple Dragons back ahead 38-36 with a big 3.
    Page 3 of 3 - During a series of possessions, Flowers helped Chanute go back ahead 41-38 — offensively with a layup and defensively with her fourth blocked shot.
    However, like the rest of the second half, that lead proved to not last for long as Pittsburg senior Lizzy Willis buried a 3 at the top of the key for a 41-all score in the final minute.
    “We’re not known for taking a lot of 3-pointers but it’s not that we can’t make those,” Peterson-O’Bray said. “Sometimes our girls will start looking for that. I’m glad that tonight we had several different ones step up and shoot those. That makes us more of a threat offensively and each of our individual players more of a threat if they have to respect us outside.”
    Pittsburg finished with four 3-point shots.
    With 10.1 ticks on the clock, Alaura Short calmly gave Pittsburg a 43-41 lead with a pair of free throws. Short missed her first two free throws after halftime but came back with three consecutive makes, especially big her pair in the final seconds.
    Short netted all seven of her points in the second half.
    “She had missed a few earlier on and was pretty dejected about it,” Peterson-O’Bray said. “She was feeling very frustrated and so for her to step up and hit those to win the game, that was huge. Overall, our free throw shooting was terrible (42 percent) but Chanute was 41 percent. Somehow, we caught a break in terms of our free throw shooting.”
    On its final possession, Chanute did not get a shot, as the ball went out-of-bounds off Flowers as time expired. This was the sixth turnover of the quarter for Chanute.
    The story of the first half was Pittsburg missing four consecutive free throws in the second quarter, helping Chanute work its way back to 22-20 at halftime after being down 17-10 with 3:30 remaining. Pittsburg also committed seven turnovers in the second quarter, including a stretch of four straight possessions marred by miscues.
    Pittsburg scored the first seven points of the contest and the Blue Comets of Chanute did not reach the scoring column until the 4:30 mark of the first and started the first three quarters slowly.
    Elliott led Pittsburg with 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Willis had seven points, six rebounds and five assists. Katy Short added six points and five boards.
    Olson finished with 12 points, the lone Blue Comet in double figures. Flowers ended with eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
    The win improved Pittsburg to 11-6 overall, 5-4 SEK. Chanute dropped to 15-4, 8-3 SEK.
    Chanute won the JV contest 25-18 and the freshman contest 20-14. Sam Bollinger and Ashlee Beitzinger led the Pittsburg freshmen with seven and six points, respectively.
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