PITTSBURG — Action in the Border Classic heated up on Friday night, with the Pittsburg High School basketball teams earning a pair of wins to advance in the respective brackets.
PHS BOYS ADVANCE TO CHAMPIONSHIP
The Pittsburg boys’ team punched its ticket to the championship game with a 64-56 win over Carthage in the semi-final round.
A double-digit lead for the Purple Dragons dwindled to three points after the Tigers opened the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run, but PHS managed to hang on for the win, out scoring Carthage 9-4 in the final four minutes of regulation.
“I thought the effort from both teams was extremely high,” PHS head coach Kiley Roelfs said. “I thought coach [Steve] Ray had his guys well prepared and ready to compete. I thought both teams were scratching and clawing to find a way to win that game. That’s what a semi-final game in a good tournament should look like. It was a good high school basketball game where both teams really got after it. We were just able to create enough space in a couple different spots during the game to end up on top. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”
Pittsburg fell behind in the opening minutes of the contest, but fought back to take the lead at 21-16 early in the second quarter on the strength of a 14-2 run which was highlighted by six points apiece from Trent Austin and Marque English.
The Purple Dragons went on to take a 35-29 advantage into the break at halftime following a jumper by English which beat the buzzer at the end of the second quarter.
Carthage opened the second half with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 35-32, but fell behind by double digits at 49-37 after a 12-3 run by PHS.
The run began with a layup by English and was capped off by a pair of layups from Austin.
The Tigers rallied back with a 10-3 run to begin the fourth quarter, but a layup by English sparked a 7-2 run which lifted PHS to the win.
English led the way for Pittsburg on offense with 23 points in the game.
Drew Roelfs was also feeling it, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers en route to scoring 18 points.
PHS GIRLS EARN SPOT IN CONSOLATION CHAMPIONSHIP
The Pittsburg girls’ team hit its stride in the second half to pull away for a 62-46 win over Wichita West to earn a spot in the consolation championship game.
What started out as a back-and-forth affair turned to a double-digit win for the Purple Dragons after they out scored the Pioneers 19-7 in the third quarter.
The Purple Dragons jumped out to an early 12-6 lead on the strength of six points by Madden Petty.
Wichita West rallied to tie the score at 14-all at the end of the first quarter before taking a 28-25 lead at the end of the second quarter after putting up 11 consecutive points.
Pittsburg regained the momentum in the second half, going on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter en route to building a 44-35 advantage.
The run included points from Petty, Kaydn Matlock and Abbie Casper.
The Purple Dragons went on to close out the win with a 9-2 run in the fourth, which included four points apiece from Petty and Casper.
Petty was the offensive catalyst with 20 points in the win.
Casper also had a big hand in the win, contributing 19 points of her own.
The PHS girls’ team will compete in the second-place game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, while the boys will compete in the championship round at 3:15 p.m.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.