Drexel only put up 10 points in the third quarter against Osceola of the championship game in the Western Missouri Conference Tournament Dec. 1 at Archie.
But that didn’t really matter because the Bobcats had a 37-16 halftime lead and easily won the game 63-40.
“We did good,” Drexel senior guard Trevor Cooley said. “We have a problem coming out in the third quarter really slow. It kind of makes up for things because we come out in the game really hot. In practice, we work on it all the time, sitting down and being on the bench for awhile and then coming back in, just trying to get back into that third quarter.”
It is a good thing that Drexel came out hot. The Bobcats started out the first quarter with a 7-0 lead after a three-pointer from senior point guard Cody Russell, and a basket each from Cooley and senior forward CJ Bolton. Drexel kept building on that lead to take a 20-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, after an Osceola basket, junior forward Javyn Johnston hit a bucket, followed by four free throws from Bolton and another shot from Johnston to put the Bobcats up 28-11. The Indians sunk a three-pointer, but Cooley found Bolton without even looking, firing off a pass so Bolton could retaliate with two buckets in a row.
“We probably spent more time in the gym then we have with our own family, with each other,” Cooley said of their teamwork. “Osceola has kind of the same thing, everywhere we go, they are there, literally everywhere. It made it a really fun game because we have the upmost respect for each other.”
After two Osceola free throws, Cooley hit a basket and Johnston put in a three-pointer to end the quarter and give the Bobcats a 37-16 lead at halftime.
Osceola outscored Drexel 14-10 in the third quarter, but the Bobcats still had a 49-30 advantage. In the fourth quarter, Cooley started things off with a basket and a free throw, followed quickly by another basket to put Drexel up by 54-30.
In the final minutes of the game, Cooley sunk three of four free throws, two from a technical foul to give the Bobcats a 61-37 lead. He put in another basket, prompting head coach Dennis Bolton to put in his bench to finish out the game.
“This was a great start to our season,” Drexel head coach Dennis Bolton said. “We have been talking about ‘right here, right now’ and the kids did a great job of executing what we wanted to do. We need to play four quarters as intense as we do the first two.”
Cooley and Bolton led with 22 points apiece. Johnston had 14 points, Russell added three and Trevor Stewart had two.
The Bobcats, 3-0, blew past Miami 81-19 in the first round of the tournament Nov. 26 and defeated Adrian 68-29 in the semifinals Nov. 29.
“We kind of had it in our head that that’s the way it should be,” Cooley said of starting the season undefeated. “I mean, we don’t feel special. We are really happy about it, but it doesn’t feel like it’s not meant to be.”