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The Hornets executed a match-up zone defense that left the Pirates confused during much of the first quarter, to place them behind 13-7. Pirates coach Jeremy Nicholson credited the Hornets for their strategy.
“We started off really struggling. Fair Play did a good job in their match-up zone. We actually hadn’t seen that all year. We were standing their looking at each other the first quarter. Once we finally got some movement, we started making some shots,” said Nicholson.
The Pirates’ Cody Allhands led his team’s comeback with nine points in the second quarter. Ben Weinreis brought the Pirates within a point of the Hornets at 27-26, and Kaleb Blackwell turned the tide for the Pirates with a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the half, 29-27.
The Hornets tried to regain the lead, led by Jalen Wakefield, who scored 8 of his total 9 points in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets’ efforts to prevent Allhands from baskets sent him to the foul line instead, where he converted all 10 attempts. Allhands scored a total of 33 points on the night.
The Hornets’ Lance Schaffer scored 9 of his 19 points in the first quarter.
Ash Grove 7 22 20 18 - 67
Fair Play 13 14 11 14 - 52
Ash Grove: Cody Allhands 33, Ben Weinreis 15, Kaleb Blackwell 9, Joseph Christensen 4, Garrett Cline 2, Trey Dollens 2, Alex O’Brien 2
Fair Play: Lance Schaffer 19, Brody Wicklund 9, Jalen Wakefield 9, Brian Smith6, Tristen Williams 5, Zach Murphy 4