The Pirates were able to outscore the Vikings duo of Erik Durham and Nathan Reichert with their own scoring duo of Thatch Unruh and Chandler Hall.
“It basically came down to we weren’t taking care of the basketball,” said Branson coach Brian McTague. “We got loose with it a couple of times, and they touched some passes. But we got to the free throw line and, like most of the year, we made our free throws when they mattered.”
Parkview tried hard to overcome Branson’s lead in the fourth, but were unable to pull ahead. The Vikings came within four points several times throughout the quarter.
With less than 45 seconds left in the game, Thatch Unruh went to the free throw line three times and hit each one to help ice the game. Da’Quan Ervin hit the final two free throws to end the game at 58-50.
“Considering we were down one starter due to injury, I thought the young kids did a great job,” said Parkview coach Bill Brown. “It was disappointing, because we got to a point where we could break through, but we were unable to do it. I was very proud of Nathan Reichert who had a very strong second-half and of course Erik did what he did.”
With a steal by Branson’s Ervin, the Pirates (13-6) took a 6-2 lead. Durham tied the game for the Vikings with two consecutive layups, the second coming off of a steal.
With less than two minutes left in the first, Unruh knocked down a trey and then Hall hit a jump shot to give the Pirates an 11-6 lead. The lead didn’t last long. Durham struck back yet again with a steal and a layup. He was fouled and was able to knock down his free throw to knot the score at 11.
Durham scored to start the second quarter and then scored again off a steal to put the Vikings ahead 16-11. Unruh hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two, but Durham scored again on the next play.
With just over a minute to go in the second, Parkview’s Anthony Gilliland scored, making the score 23-18. Then Branson’s Hall got a steal and scored. With seconds left, the Pirates Drew Russell got the put back and cut the lead to 23-22.
The lead changed three times in the beginning of the third quarter before Branson got into a solid rhythm and took control. The Pirates established an eight-point lead with five minutes left when Hall scored off a steal. Unruh and Hall combined for a total of 19 points in the third quarter.
“We did a good job of moving the basketball against them and breaking them down and finding Chandler Hall on the weak side,” said McTague. “This opened some things up for us and Thatch made some shots. I thought we really picked it up in the second half.”
With a minute left in the third, Hall scored down low to increase the Pirates lead to 42-34.
Parkview plays again against Joplin at home on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Branson doesn’t play again until next Friday, Feb. 1, against Nixa at home.
Parkview 11, 12, 13, 14---50
Branson scorers— Thatch Unruh 24, Chandler Hall 19, Da’Quan Ervin 9
Parkview scorers— Erik Durham 26, Nathan Reichert 20