Ryan Messinger is used to seeing hot and cold shooting nights from his Pleasant Hill boys basketball team. But seeing both extremes in the same game?
Not so much.
That’s what made Pleasant Hill’s 52-41 victory over Harrisonville on Court Warming night Feb. 3 all the more unusual, and perplexing for Messinger. The Roosters came out on fire in front of a large and loud home crowd, went ice cold, warmed up again, and then sputtered at the end.
“We had really choppy individual performances which we really haven’t had,” Messinger said. “We’ve had guys that maybe have had bad games, but we’ve never had guys who’ve had a good game, and then a bad game, and then a good game all within the same game.”
Cole Ederer had the most up-and-down night for the Roosters. The 6-foot-3 junior forward swished a three-pointer in the game’s opening minutes and proceeded to make his first four shots and two free throws. Ederer made two threes in the quarter and half of his game-high 24 points.
“I was feeling it,” Ederer said. “It’s usually when I make that first shot, that’s how I can tell what the game’s going to be like.”
Ederer’s run propelled Pleasant Hill to a 17-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Roosters made six of 11 shots in the period, and for a team that lives and dies by getting perimeter shots and transition baskets, it was certainly a good sign.
Until they went into the deep freeze in the second quarter. Ederer missed his next four shots as the Roosters missed 10 straight and didn’t score a point for almost six minutes. Harrisonville, meanwhile, found its range and went on an 11-0 run, capping it with a three-pointer by Dalton Lee that put the Wildcats up 18-17.
Ederer made one of two free throws with 2:15 left for the Roosters’ first point of the quarter, and he added a basket along with Billy Ring to put them back up 22-18 at the half.
“(Ederer) was hitting from three, he was scoring inside … and then after that when he settled back down we started forcing some things, I thought,” Messinger said.
Harrisonville was still within 26-23 when Pleasant Hill heated up again and ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run. Ederer started it with a turnaround jumper, and Noah Kenyon ended it with a layup off a steal for a 36-23 lead.
“We were able to get their offense spread out farther away from the basket,” Messinger said. “We got points off turnovers right away off our pressure and we stretched it out real quick.”
Kenyon, who finished with 12 points, opened the fourth quarter with his second three-pointer and followed it with an assist on a transition basket Ederer for a 41-23 lead. Then the Roosters faltered again.
Eight turnovers and poor shot selection by Pleasant Hill helped Harrisonville chip away until a three-pointer by Bryce Jenkins and a basket by Nick Laughlin had the Wildcats back within 45-39 with 50 seconds left in the game. Pleasant Hill hit five of six free throws in the closing seconds to keep the Wildcats at bay.
“Our guys aren’t going to quit,” Harrisonville coach Todd Mercer said. “We struggled offensively but give them a lot of credit. I really like this group of kids we got. They’re going to work hard.”
Ryan Byrd scored nine points to lead Harrisonville, which fell to 7-10 overall and 0-4 in the MRVC West with the loss. Pleasant Hill, which followed the victory over the Wildcats with a 69-57 loss Tuesday against Grain Valley, is 9-10 and 3-2 in league play.
“It’s been a grind all year,” Messinger said. “We knew we were going to play in a lot of close games and that’s what’s happened.”