You might say that Pleasant Hill played lights-out basketball against Clinton – in every way possible. After a 30 minute power delay earlier in the evening, the Roosters did exactly that.
It took Pleasant Hill a couple of quarters to find their groove, which it finally did in a 56-43 home win.
Trailing 20-16 at the half, the Roosters needed a spark. During the first half, the Pleasant Hill offensive effort was poorly executed and missed opportunities. It took the Roosters 7 minutes and 40 seconds before they hit their first bucket.
The second quarter was sluggish as well. The Clinton Cardinals went on a 10-0 run, putting the Rooters in a precarious situation before half. Even coming out of the locker room after half time, Pleasant Hill appeared tired.
“We just played tight. We missed several open looks on the inside and threw up some slop shots. We didn't take our time and finish in the first half, ” said Pleasant Hill coach Ryan Messinger.
The Roosters needed a wake up call.
“We knew it was going to be a battle coming in and obviously we didn't live up to what we wanted to do in the first half. We just had to come out in the second half and adjust. The way we played the first half was unacceptable and somebody had to do something,” Senior Josh Shewmaker said after the game.
Shewmaker responded with a 19 point third quarter effort. Battling foul trouble in the first half, Shewmaker put those concerns aside and owned both ends of the court in the third quarter as he single handily took Pleasant Hill from a six point deficit at half to a nine point third quarter lead.
The Cardinals, while down, were not about to give up. With 1:55 to play they had pulled back within four points.
The inspired Pleasant Hill squad made one final surge putting, the game out of reach with a 10-4 run ensuring Clinton didn’t spoil the Shewmaker performance.
“Trent Gilbert really created a presence inside for us tonight on both ends of the court. Riley did a really good job against the press late, finishing plays, and making good decisions,” Messinger said.
Pleasant Hill begins conference play on Jan. 10 at Excelsior Springs.