Pioneer boys work overtime for win
Finally, the Leavenworth boys’ basketball team finished what it started.
A blistering rally by the Pioneers in the game’s final quarter would be rewarded as the Pioneers held on for a 64-61 overtime win over the North boys.
LVHS (3-6, 2-3) was led by Zach Thiel (16 points), Tah-Ji Pinch (11 points) and Reece Williams (eight points, eight rebounds).
“Why do we get down by that? That was the big question,” LVHS head coach Larry Hogan said. “We play extremely well in spurts, but we aren’t maintaining that intensity level. We get good looks, but we miss them. We talked about during one of our runs (that they have to keep playing at a high level). When you get a team down, you kick them. Hopefully we are starting to get that mentality.”
LVHS trailed by a few buckets early in the second quarter only to see North explode out to a 13-point lead.
Then the Pioneers would launch one of their two big rallies and pull within 28-25 at halftime on a Julian Williams jumper.
“Halftime kind of broke our momentum,” Hogan said. “They won the Hays Tournament and beat St. Thomas Aquinas. (North) is a very good basketball team.”
North would explode out of the halftime break to go up 16, before LVHS started its true rally with six points to cut the deficit to 47-37 with the fourth quarter looming.
Then LVHS went on a 15-2. run to go up 50-49 with three minute left on a Kevin Payne layup.
Williams hit a baby hook to give the Pioneers another lead, 52-51, with just under 2:30 to go.
North went back up 55-52, but Thiel rang up a 3-ball to tie it at 55 with 32 seconds left and the Eagles flubbed a chance to win in regulation, setting up the extra four minutes of play.
Baskets by Thiel, Pinch and Payne staked the Pioneers to a 61-57 lead and then they held a scant 62-61 edge with 27.4 seconds and the ball.
Two free throws by Mike Sauer made it 64-61 eight seconds later and then a mad dash in the final seconds for North led to one badly missed 3-point attempt and a scramble for a loose ball wrapped up the Pioneer win.
“This is very important after losing a really good game recently by two (Tuesday against Olathe Northwest) and we had to redeem ourselves,” Pinch said. “We played like a team and we have faith in each other. Sometimes we aren’t there mentally, get hesitant and get too satisfied. We got to be up with no time left on the clock to be satisfied.”