By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Springfield, Mo. — All season long, counter-punching Purdy found ways to limit and answer opposing runs.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Friday’s Class 2 third-place game presented a hurdle too great to overcome.
Mid-Buchanan’s 31-point outburst, sparked by a Hunter Scraggs dunk midway through the second quarter, helped propel the Dragons to an 83-63 victory. Following the 6-foot-4 senior’s dunk, Mid-Buchanan went on a 14-2 tear that included a pair of 3-pointers and a conventional 3-point play.
Scaggs finished with a game-high 29 points and was 10-12 from the field.
Dragons head coach Bryce Kemper felt the dunk keyed a huge momentum shift for his players and allowed them to finally loosen up.
“That was big,” Kemper said. “That dunk — I think when we got that down, it just kind of opened everything up and it just looked like everybody decided, ‘We’re going to go,’ and they fed off that energy.”
While Purdy senior Colt Keeling finally halted the Dragon run with a layup, the Eagles weren’t able to counter.
Purdy trailed 45-27 at the half.
“Big plays — we’re poised not to get rattled by that,” Purdy head coach Jeremy Dresslaer said. “But when we don’t go do our job on the other end, it makes it really tough when other teams are feeling really good.”
After the game, Dresslaer focused on Purdy’s unprecedented run to its first final four in school history.
“It’s kind of hard to summarize this game, because it wasn’t our best showing, but there were three other quality teams up here.” Dresslaer said. “We’re going to celebrate being here. The other teams we played had much better athletes than what we’ve got, and I felt like that made it hard for us to really get into the flow of what we do.”
Reflecting on his final game, Keeling credited the town for its unwavering support.
“When you look up into the stands at the whole town of Purdy, whether we win or we lose it’s just an honor.” Keeling said. “They still have our backs even though we lost. They all appreciate that we gave them something that’s never been done. It just meant a lot that the whole town supported us.”
Keeling led the Eagles with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
While the loss was disappointing, Dresslaer was quick to put things into proper perspective.
“There’s going to be one state champion and there’s going to be three final four teams,” Dresslaer said. “Ten years from now, no one really cares whether you got second, third or fourth. They’ll just remember you as a final four team.”
Class 2 3rd Place Final: Mid-Buchanan – 83, Purdy – 63
Mid-Buchanan 14 31 23 15 — 83
Purdy 12 15 10 26 — 63
Purdy scoring: Colt Keeling – 13, Kole Rea – 9, Scotty Henry – 8, Osiel Aldava – 7, Tyler Keeler – 6, Carl Hughlett – 6, Jose Sanchez – 3, Joby Young – 3, Fernando Garcia – 3, Clay Henderson – 3, Harley Stephens – 1, Kyler Propps – 1
Mid-Buchanan scoring: Hunter Scaggs – 29, Austin Budine – 11, Drew Boller – 10, Austin Molloy – 9, Reed Black – 8, Colton Rich – 5, Collin Wyatt – 3, Ethan Steiner – 3, Riley Brill – 3, Christian Scaggs – 2