The Wildcats ability to sink free throws came in handy in their 60-55 victory over Missouri River Valley Conference West rival Pleasant Hill Jan. 3 at Harrisonville.
Harrisonville flew to a 9-2 advantage quickly in the first quarter but a three-pointer and basket by Pleasant Hills Josh Shewmaker tightened the score to 9-7. The Wildcats surged forward again with a three-pointer and free throw by Matthew Prindle and a free throw by Dallas Stackhouse. Harrisonville led 17-12 going into the second quarter.
I thought our kids competed very well and I was proud of the way we kept our composure, Harrisonville head coach Todd Mercer said. Both teams played extremely hard and it was a great environment for a high school basketball game.
In the second quarter, Harrisonville scored first on a basket from Mason Saffels, but the Roosters responded with a shot by Brad Smith and a three-pointer from Hunter Mounce to close the gap to 19-17. The Wildcats got a basket from Luke Cooper, but Pleasant Hill came back with a shot from Josh Griffith.
Cooper hit two free throws followed by a basket from Kenny Baker and then Griffith sunk another shot. But Harrisonville had the last say before halftime with a free throw from Stackhouse and two points from Cooper to lead 28-21.
Pleasant Hill outscored the Wildcats 17-14 in the third quarter, rebounding early in the quarter from a 32-23 deficit with two baskets from Griffith and a three-pointer from Nate Watson to close the gap to 32-30. Harrisonville still clung to a 42-38 advantage going into the last eight minutes of play.
The Roosters struck first with a shot by Griffith, but Harrisonville responded with a three-pointer from Prindle to lead 45-40. After a bucket from Shewmaker, the Wildcats got a free throw from Zach Davidson to lead 46-42. Later in the quarter, with the Wildcats ahead at 50-45, Shewmaker sunk two shots from the charity stripe to close the gap to 50-47.
But Harrisonville put in 10 out of 11 free throws in the rest of the quarter, as both Mounce and Trenten Roach fouled out for Pleasant Hill to seal the Wildcats 60-55 victory.
We played one of our more complete games of the season and really competed, Pleasant Hill head coach Ryan Messinger said. Harrisonville is a good team with a lot of talent, both teams played well but they were able to make a few more free throws and hit one big three pointer late. Every time we had the momentum and needed a big possession to get over the hump we didnt take advantage. It was a big game for both teams and was another typical Pleasant Hill-Harrisonville game, but they were able to finish. We are disappointed with the outcome but look forward to moving on to our next game.
Harrisonville was led in scoring by Cooper with 17 points and Prindle with 14 points. Saffels and Jacob Gibbs both sunk nine points and Stackhouse had eight points. Baker added two points and Davidson had one point.
Pleasant Hill was led by Griffith with 21 points and Shewmaker with 15 points. Smith had eight points and Mounce, Watson and Roach had three points each. Josh Alaniz added two points.
For more photos of the game, visit www.demo-mo.com/sports/galleries/.