The evening session of the Tournament of Champions on Thursday, featured the Dodge City Red Demons and the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds followed by Bishop Miege vs Wichita Heights.
In the first game, the Demons were outplayed by the Thunderbirds who took a 59-36 victory.
In the second game, Bishop Miege came on strong in the second half and took a 47-38 win over Wichita Heights.
The pace was fast and furious as the Demons took on the Thunderbirds. Both teams pressed the ball quickly up and down the floor.
The Thunderbirds face pace and quick hands caused ball control problems for the Demons who had turnovers leading to points.
The fast pace continued through the first quarter that ended with Shawnee Heights leading 14 to 9.
In the second quarter, the fast pace continued with the Thunderbirds taking advantage of Demon miscues. The Thunderbirds were having some control issues too. The Demons kept pressing and scrapping as they stayed with the Thunderbird and kept it close, matching Heights almost point for point in the second quarter. Dawson Taylor came off the bench and added some spark to the team with some long distance shots to keep the margin close as the Thunderbirds led 26 to 19 at the half.
For the Demons, John Johnson and Dawson Taylor each hit 6 points in the first half. The T-Birds Marquis Barksdale had 6, Harvey Davis had 5 while Carter Olson, Andrew Rantz and Nasire Anderson each added 4.
The fast pace continued to start the second half and the Thunderbirds hit the boards hard, getting fast points to increase their lead. The Thunderbirds hit the boards hard on both offense and defense and were able convert those rebounds to points against the younger Demon team.
The Thunderbirds relentless pace kept increasing the point margin making the score at the end of three Heights 43, Dodge 25.
The Demons went on a run to start the fourth quarter hitting six as they tried to cut into the Heights lead but the gap was just too much for the Demons to overcome.
The Demons tried to keep pace but the T-Birds continued to force turnovers to score unanswered points.
In the end, T-Birds fast pace and strong play on defense led to a 59-36 victory for Heights.
For the Red Demons, Dawson Taylor led the way with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Josh Harshberger only had 2 points but pulled down 12 rebounds of the team total 35.
The Thunderbirds' Carter Olson had a big night with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Johnson had 11 points and 2 rebounds while Marquis Barksdale had 10 points and 5 rebounds.
For the Demons, it was a frustrating night. Coach Tony Starnes said there was a big lack of communication among the team, players were out of position and the players weren't doing what they needed to do. They didn't front the post and were just not hitting the boards. The Demons have a lot to do to improve.
Heights coach Ken Darting said defensive intensity was the key for his team.
At first, they weren't ready to play and were a little slow and missed layups. They were starting but not completing plays. In the second half, the defense was turned up and started making traps and steals that led to easy baskets.
"We were able to create a lot of opportunities," Darting said.
In the second game of the night, it took a while for Bishop Miege to get on the board against Wichita Heights, about three minutes, in their opening round game at the Tournament of Champions Tuesday night but a couple of 3-pointers and a 2-pointer late, they had taken the lead. The game stayed close through the first half that ended in a 21-21 tie.
Then the Miege Stags found their stride in the third quarter and never looked back finally winning the game 47-38 over Wichita Heights.
At first, the game went back and fourth with both sides hitting baskets that kept the game close with ties and lead changes. In a fast first quarter, both teams hit their defense and created turnovers. At times, Heights took their time with a more deliberate pace on offense as the first quarter ended with Wichita Heights Leading 11 to 10 over Bishop Miege.
Heights continued to play a more deliberate offense taking more time to set up plays.
Miege took a faster pace and following a long outlet pass, Meige's Mark Mitchell finished the play with a slam dunk to take the lead but Heights quickly answered to tie the game at 14 all.
The teams continued to trade baskets and as the teams headed to the locker rooms at half time, the teams were tied at 21 all.
For the Heights Falcons at the half, Marcus Ziegler led the team with 8 points and 2 rebounds and Alex Norris had 7 points with 4 rebounds.
Leading the Miege Stags was Mark Mitchell with 11 points and 3 rebounds and Christian Bowen-Webb with 8 points.
Team strategies stayed the same at the start of the second half. The Stags put together a 6 point run half way though the third quarter to take the lead. Heights answered with a three pointer.
Both coaches took a stand and hold the ball tactic for a play while they worked out plays.
For several seconds, both teams, on both ends of the court, just stood there until their play was ready.
The third quarter ended with Bishop Miege leading 37 to 26 over the Heights Falcons.
The Falcons came out in a full court press to start the fourth quarter as the Stags took a double digit lead. Miege took on a spread offense and kept the ball outside until they got an easy layup. Heights continued to apply full court press but the Stags would not be denied and came away with a 47-38 victory over the Heights Falcons.
Marcus Ziegler led the Falcons with 14 points and 2 rebounds while the team had 30 rebounds. For the Stags, Mark Mitchell had 25 points and 6 rebounds. The team had 20 rebounds.
Miege Coach Rich Zych said at first, they struggled against the Wichita Heights zone defense.
They put five guys in the paint so Zych switched their defense from man to man over to a zone style and that did the trick. They also slowed down their offense.
While the team wanted to attack, they held off and used up valuable clock time.
Zych said the game was ugly to watch and when it came down to it, the stags hit some shots and the Falcons didn't.
The team needs to get into a better rhythm. They have had three games cancelled because of snow and they missed a lot of playing time.
"We just need to compete," Zych said.
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