Man to man defenses came out to start the second day of the Tournament of Champions in Dodge City. The Maize Eagles and the Wichita Heights Falcons started the days activities with a Falcons 58-40 victory over the Eagles. Then the Campus Colts took on the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds. The Colts were victorious 71-45 over the Thunderbirds.
In the first afternoon game, the Eagles were off to a quick lead but the Falcons used some good speed to level the score half way though the first period.
The Eagles wasted no time in bringing out the full court press to try and control the fast paced Falcons.
Each team brought in wholesale substitutes halfway through the first quarter to keep fresh legs on the floor.
The Falcons' Bronxon Frierson took a steal the full length of the court to hit a layup and then hit a foul shot to keep the game a one point affair.
The Eagles held a slim 13-12 lead with five players from each team scoring in the first.
The Eagles continued the full court pressure and kept up their perimeter shooting while the Falcons worked on their inside game, working shots close to the basket.
Falcons' aggressive defense resulted in a couple of steals that gave their biggest lead of the game so far at 23-18.
They continued to run at the Eagles and work down low to advance their lead. Score at the half was Wichita Heights 32, Maize 20.
For the Heights Falcons, Bronxon Frierson led the team with 9 points and 3 rebounds and Alex Norris had 8 points and 3 rebounds.
As a team they had 20 rebounds with 14 on the defensive end. Two Falcon starters Lamon Payne and Alex Norris had two fouls.
Leading the Eagles was Kyle Grill with 7 points and 1 rebound. The team had 11 rebounds with 10 of those on the defensive end. Three Eagles, K.J. Hampton, Jacob Hanna and Jaden Gustafson started the second half with three fouls.
Maize continued their full court press to start the second half, causing Heights problems getting the ball over the time line.
Heights continued to work the ball inside and the teams traded baskets for a third quarter score Falcons 39, Maize 29.
The Maize long ball wasn't falling but they traded baskets through the 5 minute mark of the fourth quarter.
The Falcons continued to press hard down low and got a pair of steals that led to fast breaks for a quick six points. The Eagles continued to work their full court press as they tried to slow down the Falcons game.
In the end, the Falcons prevailed with a 58-40 victory over the Maize Eagles.
Falcons Coach Joe Auer said this game was one of their better games of the year. But it didn't start that way. The Eagles made them uncomfortable and it took until the third quarter to get on track. The defense was able to limit Heights and deny them rebounds. Freshman Marcus Ziegler has been very impressive this season and been in double figures consistently.
Alex Norris had a very productive night with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Auer said they have one of the best defensive teams in the state. One of their strengths on offense is their willing ness to take that extra step, take that extra pass, take that extra pivot to make the good play happen.
"We were determined to not take the first shot," Auer said.
The team could get better in their offensive stance. They did hold the Eagles to just 10 free throws and they only made 5.
Auer said their team will leave this tournament better for the experience and its one of the finest high school tournaments in the state.
The second game of the Tournament of Champions on Friday pitted the Campus Colts against the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds. Campus came out in an aggressive full court press and took an early point lead. Heights countered with some outside shooting. Both teams pushed the ball down the floor aggressively.
A double technical foul put players from both teams on the line with Heights getting possession afterwards.
With just over three minutes left in the first quarter, Shawnee Heights' Marquis Barksdale committed his third personal foul and their starter took the bench.
Heights continued to work the outside perimeter and work for the shot down low. With a mid court steal, Heights worked the ball for a lay up that brought them within 2.
Campus countered with a pair of shots to end the first half with a 19-14 lead over the Thunderbirds.
Both teams hit the boards hard and contested every rebound as they started the second quarter. Campus was able to connect with long range three pointers and continued to pressure the Heights defense. Both teams managed steals in a high tempo game.
Campus kept up the pressure on defense, contesting every pass and fighting for every rebound on offense.
With a late 3-pointer in the second quarter, the Campus Colts took a 40-19 lead over Heights at half time.
The second half started with the same face paced court action for both teams. Teams traded shots until Campus responded with an emphatic slam dunk. But Heights responded with a basket of their own. Campus was relentless as the fought for every rebound.
Heights continued to work the outside shot and had some success. Campus countered with full court pressure resulting in turnovers. Thomas King found the range with a 3-pointer for the Colts and Jayden Hall took a steal the length of the court for a two point layup.
Heights kept pushing the ball down low resulting in points and challenging Campus at the timeline.
Team points scored were almost identical in the third with a score of Campus 56, Shawnee Heights 36.
The game came to an unexpected stop at 6:08 in the fourth quarter when the lights in the arena suddenly went out. After a delay of 22 minutes, play resumed.
Campus got things going when Sterling Chapman hit a 3-pointer for Campus followed by one from Keither Florence and Ty Johnson who then connected with 2 points for an 11 point run. Steele Chapman added another 3-pointer to extend the Colts lead.
The Colts unrelenting offense and fast paced defense proved to be too much for the Thunderbirds and Campus took the 71 to 45 victory over Shawnee Heights.
For the Colts, Sterling Chapman had 15 points while Tai Jackson, Shawn Warrior and Steele Chapman each had 11 points. As a team, they had 37 rebounds and went 8/12 for free throws.
The Thunderbirds were led by Isisah Johnson with 13 points and 3 rebounds. The team had 25 rebounds and was 9/14 from the free throw line.
Coach Chris Davis said the Colts were locked in from the start of the game. The defense went to work and started creating offense opportunities.
"We pursued the ball really well," Davis said. "And we shared the ball from the get go."
As a team they had 19 assists on the game and 37 total rebound. Everyone was involved. When the team does that, they are very, very good.
Rebounding was strong on both ends of the court and they went after ball with a lot of energy. The team shot the ball well. Tai Johnson came off the bench and had 11 points. The team hit for 50 percent of their threes, 9/19 and when that happens, its a good day, Davis said.
The assistant coaches did a good job of scouting had us ready to play.
Coach Davis said the team played like street dogs that have to work hard in life and not pet store dogs that get things handed to them.
When the electricity went out, the kids handled it well. The seniors and juniors knew how to handle the delay and helped keep the team focused.
As they head into the championship game Saturday, they have one goal in mind.
"We're here to play for a championship," Davis said.
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