By SEAN McCARRELL
(PLEASANT HILL, Mo., digitalBURG) – For the second straight game, the Tigers’ opponent used a furious second half to defeat Warrensburg.
The Roosters of Pleasant Hill used an offensive onslaught in the second half Tuesday night, coupled with a tough shooting night for the Tigers, to pull away and defeat Warrensburg 65-58.
The game started slowly for the Tigers, as they quickly fell behind 4-0. For the remainder of the first half, the Tigers and Roosters were locked in a tight battle. Although the half was low scoring, the pace was frantic, as each team pressured defensively, and looked to run on offense. Pleasant Hill led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
While Pleasant Hill led the entire second quarter, Warrensburg was able to hang around and keep the lead from extending. The Tigers’ turnovers cost them throughout the frame, but they were able to keep the game close before making a run to end the half. The Tigers used jumpers by Kye Denker and Dakota Jones to propel them to an 8-4 run, and they went into the locker room trailing by two, 27-25.
Much like the Tigers’ loss to Bolivar just three nights before, the second half was dominated by the opposition. After the Tigers were able to tie the game at 29, the Roosters took advantage of Warrensburg’s cold shooting from the field to take a 16-point lead, 45-29.
The Tigers were unable to knock down open looks in the third quarter, and full-court zone pressure by Pleasant Hill led to easy transition baskets. The Roosters led 45-33 at the end of the third quarter.
“We had good looks, but the underlying theme is we were relying too much on the three-point shot,” said Tigers head coach Chris Nimmo. “We’re trying to hit the big shot, and we have guys that can get to the rim against a lot of defenders.”
The fourth quarter saw the Roosters control much of the action. Pleasant Hill continued to force Warrensburg turnovers and hit open shots as Pleasant Hill extended its lead to as many as 18 in the period.
Brad Smith, senior post player for the Roosters, was able to catch the ball under the basket and score routinely in the second half.
“That’s a credit to him,” Nimmo said. “He’s been a four-year starter for them.”
As far as his team’s overall struggles in the second half, Nimmo said the defense needed to step up.
“It’s not that we weren’t guarding, but we were giving them too much room,” he said.
The Tigers’ Dakota Jones nailed three consecutive 3-pointers late to make the score 61-53 with less than one minute left in the game. The Tigers then had to foul in order to get the ball back, and the Roosters made critical free throws down the stretch.
The Tigers’ comeback attempt late in the game was valiant, and made the final score respectable, but in the end, the Roosters held on to win, 65-58.
“We were on the ropes, and it could’ve gotten ugly,” Nimmo said, “but our kids were able to dig down and generate some turnovers.”
Dakota Jones led the Tigers with 24 points, while Kye Denker chipped in 17.
With the loss, the Tigers fall to 2-2 on the season. Warrensburg is back in action Friday night, as they play on their home hardwood for the first time this year against Nevada.