By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
In a battle of unbeaten teams, the 7-0 Crane Pirates kept their 2019-20 slate perfect with a 77-50 win over the now 6-1 Miller Cardinals on Thursday night in Crane.
The Class 2 fifth-ranked Pirates got 35 points from senior point guard Ty Campbell in grabbing the victory.
The game appeared to be headed for a close finish as both sides traded baskets in the opening frame of play. Crane held on to a slim three point lead, 15-12, as the first quarter came to an end.
But the Pirates turned up the heat defensively as second period play got underway forcing the Cardinals to turn the ball over numerous times and to hurry their shots.
Crane outscored Miller 26-10 in the frame and grabbed a commanding 41-22 lead at the half.
Pirate senior point guard Ty Campbell led the Pirate first half offensive effort with 19 points.
“I felt good tonight,” said Campbell. “My teammates kept feeding me the ball when I was open and as confident as I felt about my shot, I kept shooting it.”
The Pirates went on to outscore the Cardinals 36-28 over the final two frames to pick up the 77-50 win.
“We wanted to measure them right away and then figure out what adjustments we needed to make to get control of the game,” said Pirate head coach Kevin Smith. “Our boys did a great job with the adjustments, especially in the first half.”
Cardinal coach Josh Kleine, who watched his club take a loss for the first time this season, gave credit for the win to the Pirate’s defensive effort.
“We knew it was going to be tough to come over here to Crane and play tonight,” Kleine said. “I felt our kids played hard but Crane was very good at what they do best. They pressured us into turning the ball over and taking quick shots.”
Leading all Cardinal scorers was Miller’s Nick Johnson with 19 points.
For Crane the victory was a huge one. It was a victory that, according to coach Smith, saw several of his kids step up big to get the win.
“Ty played some great defense besides scoring 35 points,” said the Pirate head coach. “Seth Steele came off the bench to grab a lot of boards and Wes Branstetter, Jacob Woodward, Aidan Vaught and Seth really controlled the middle for us. Overall though I was really pleased with all our kids tonight.”
Campbell may have summed up the Pirate effort the best though.
“We knew two 6-0 teams were tipping off tonight and that one of them would have to go home with a loss,” said Campbell. “We didn’t want that to be us.”
The Pirates will be at Ash Grove on Friday night (12-20-19) and then move on to the Blue & Gold Tournament which is set to tipoff on December 26. Miller takes on Walnut Grove in the Walnut Grove Tournament on Saturday night.
Scoreboard 1 2 3 4 F
Miller 12 10 16 12 50
Crane 15 26 20 16 77
Crane: Ty Campbell 35, Wes Branstetter 14, Jacob Woodward 6, Isaiah Smith 7, Brecken Vaught 5, Zander Mayne 3, Seth Steele/Aidan Vaught 2, Aric Spyres 1.
Miller: Nick Johnson 19, Parker Myhre/Joel Kleeman 8, Presten Ricardson 7, Jeff Lung 6, Neilson Hadlock/Kaul Kleeman 1.