Morning Sun
  • Fort Scott shooters score win over PHS

  • During a crisply-played first quarter of a Class 4A substate semifinal game Friday night between the Pittsburg Purple Dragons and the Fort Scott Tigers, it became apparent the game would be a study in contrasting methodologies.

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  • During a crisply-played first quarter of a Class 4A substate semifinal game Friday night between the Pittsburg Purple Dragons and the Fort Scott Tigers, it became apparent the game would be a study in contrasting methodologies.
    The inside punch of Pittsburg vs. the perimeter attack of Fort Scott.
    Fort Scott overcame an 24-10 interior deficit with a crucial substitution and made the big plays in the fourth quarter to come out with a 54-49 victory over their rival from the south.
    The Tigers (9-12), No. 7 seed, play Anderson County tonight in the championship game.
    Pittsburg made their first eight field goals inside-the-paint and its first points outside the paint came on a 3-pointer by senior Tanner Ellis.
    Meanwhile, the home team did not score their first points in the paint until the second quarter on points No. 8 and No. 9 for Fort Scott senior Johnathan Stark.
    Pittsburg led 28-26 at intermission, thanks to 18 points inside-the-paint. Senior book ends Stefon Rich and FeDor Lomax performed most of the damage — Lomax with 10 first-half points and Rich nine. Rich dished out three assists.
    The Southeast Kansas League rivals came out gunning in the first 1:56 after halftime — Stark opened the scoring with a 3 and Ellis drained back-to-back treys for a 34-30 Pittsburg advantage.
    Ellis knocked down his third 3, Lomax scored back-to-back interior baskets and Kaleb Owens made his first 3 of the game as Pittsburg stretched its lead to 44-35 late in the third. The Purple Dragons’ lead was 44-38 after three.
    With 6-foot-11 junior post Jack Olin brought in off the Fort Scott bench, Pittsburg found it tougher sledding inside and within 53 seconds of the fourth, a pair of driving baskets from Stark cut the Dragon lead to 45-42. Out of a Pittsburg timeout, Lomax persisted after being first rejected by Olin and edged the lead back to five.
    Seven quick points by the Tigers, five straight by Jash Pytlowany, and Fort Scott took back a 49-47 lead with 4 minutes left in the game.
    Ellis knocked down a mid-range jumper for a 49-all score but with 45 seconds remaining, a double team of Stark left Olin for the go-ahead layup, 51-49.
    On the subsequent Pittsburg possession, the Purple Dragons came up empty, Fort Scott took possession and with 12.2 ticks on the clock, Stark drained both ends of the double bonus for a four-point lead, 53-49. Stark finished with a game-high 22.
    Fort Scott outscored Pittsburg 16-5 in money time.
    Ellis led Pittsburg with 18 points and Lomax added 16. Rich finished with 10.
    Frontenac girls 55, Girard 50
    Points were at a premium for most of the game during this Class 4A semifinal showdown Friday between Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League arch rivals.
    No surprise given the situation: a playoff game only 10 days after Frontenac and Girard faced off in a heated game for a share of the league title.
    Page 2 of 3 - Girard leading scorer Hadyn Herlocker did not reach the scoring column until late in the second quarter and the Trojans were still down only 17-15 at intermission.
    Hannah Jones led Girard with four points and five other Trojans scored at least two.
    Meanwhile, on the Frontenac side, Ryleigh McCartney led the way with five points, followed by Haley Wilson and Libby Warrick each with four. Bailey Flora, seasonal leading scorer, had none the first 16 minutes.
    Frontenac verged on extending its halftime lead in the third, especially with Warrick scoring nine points in the quarter. However, turnovers and big shots from Girard interior players MaCahla Leslie and Morgan Herlocker earned the Trojans tie scores at 26-all and 28-all.
    Wilson gave the Raiders some momentum with a 3 in the final seconds of the quarter.
    The Raiders pushed their lead to 39-28 in the first 2:45 of the fourth, with a Flora basket and six made free throws. Frontenac entered the single bonus at 6:59 and the double bonus at 6:33. Within a period of 26 seconds, Frontenac scored five points all on free throws.
    Of course, Girard would not go away quietly and scored a flurry of points to make it 39-35 with 4:15 remaining. Jones made a basket and two free throws, Herlocker split a pair of foul shots and made a layup off a steal to wrap up a 7-0 run.
    Frontenac had enough free throws in them as the game was extended and the teams combined for 46 points in the final quarter. Wilson alone made 11 free throws down the stretch, including 10 straight.
    Wilson led all players with 18 points and Warrick added 14. McCartney and Flora each had seven for the 18-4 Raiders.
    Hadyn Herlocker, one of the premier hoops players in the area, closed out her high school career with 17 points and Jones added 10 for the Trojans, which ended their season 15-7.
    Frontenac will play Fort Scott (16-5) tonight for the substate title. Fort Scott defeated Frontenac 56-45 in the Kansas National Guard Invitational in January.
    Anderson County boys 61, Girard 52
    Top seed Anderson County parlayed a 24-16 third quarter advantage into a nine-point semifinal victory.
    A shift in the Anderson County defense helped Girard find more of an offensive flow than a first quarter which saw only four points and 10 turnovers for the Trojans.
    Anderson County defenders Tanner Lickteig, Zach Hilliard and Spencer Walter all took shifts shadowing every move Girard sharpshooter Devin Alters made in the first 8 minutes. Alters only managed two shots in the first, both misses — at 2:15 and with 45 seconds remaining.
    In the second, Anderson County shifted into a zone and Alters found himself open for consecutive 3s to earn Girard a 10-all score. When the junior guard set himself up for a steal and a score, Girard led 16-11 with eight points from Alters.
    Page 3 of 3 - The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead at intermission due to a 7-0 run. Spencer Walter knocked down a trifecta as Girard continue to collapse its defense around the 6-foot-4 Eric Tastove. Drew Mechnig scored off an offensive board and Steve Dial gave Anderson County its 18-16 halftime lead on free throws, including a banker.
    Girard came out with its guns blazing, hitting back-to-back 3s for a 22-18 lead out of the locker room. The Trojans led at 24-23, their last advantage of the contest, and only four 3s kept Girard within 42-32 headed into the fourth.
    Anderson County benefited from a 9-2 advantage in fouls called, proving a more aggressive team than the more perimeter-oriented Trojans.
    Alters heated up in the fourth, knocking down back-to-back trifectas for a 46-42 deficit and his basket cut the Bulldog lead to 50-47. However, the Bulldogs answered with six consecutive, easy baskets from Tastove, Hilliard and Jack Rickabaugh. Mechnig was perfect at the line and helped Anderson County push its lead to 61-49 before Davied closed out the scoring with a 3.
    Alters led all scorers with 24 points and Davied added 17. The duo combined for eight 3s — Alters six. In his final career game, senior Cody Grilz scored nine.
    Tastove led a more balanced Anderson County offense with 18 points. Walter joined Tastove in double figures with 10 and Hilliard added nine, Mechnig eight, Dial six and Rickabaugh six.
    Anderson County improved to 16-6 and Girard ends its season 11-11.

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