In terms of performance, it wasn’t a complete 180 from Tuesday for the William Chrisman boys basketball team.
But Friday’s 74-70 surprise win at Fort Osage certainly produced the opposite postgame feeling.
A few days after too much standing around and 29 turnovers on offense resulted in a 30-point loss to Lee’s Summit, the Bears gouged the Fort Osage defense numerous times with dribble penetration and effectively crashed the offensive boards to win their Suburban Middle Seven opener and improve to 2-2 overall.
“My biggest thing I told the team is, ‘We have so much to improve on, and we still competed and won,’” first-year Chrisman coach Chad Wright said. “We attacked the rim a lot better. We didn’t settle for 3-pointers, and we got them in foul trouble. We did a much better job in defensive transition.”
After Brian Starr’s three 3-pointers helped Fort Osage (4-2, 1-1 Middle Seven) to an early 12-4 lead, Chrisman outscored the Indians 14-4 the last half of the first quarter, eight of those points coming from Randall Horn.
In the second quarter, a 10-0 run highlighted by Chris Horn’s fourth-chance basket had the Bears up 28-18, while the Indians went about five minutes without scoring and trailed 40-32 at halftime. Early in the third, Brett Pendergist’s putback and Alex Ball’s free throws after a Randall Horn offensive rebound pushed Chrisman’s lead to its highest at 58-45.
“There was a lid on the basket, and that’s where they padded their lead,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “Our motto is ‘stop-score-stop.’ We weren’t able to do that tonight, and that’s a credit to Chad’s kids.”
At one end, Fort Osage’s struggles to contain Chrisman’s dribble drives led to some multiple-shot possessions for the Bears, Wilson said, while at the other end the Indians’ close-range misses piled up, and they shot just 9 of 20 on free throws.
“We went 4 of 12 in the third quarter and missed eight layups. We have to convert those chip shots,” Wilson said. “If we don’t, that’s when bad things happen, especially when the defense is struggling.”
Chrisman led 52-42 and didn’t let the deficit drop below six until consecutive putbacks by Skyler Thompson and Brian Starr, the latter resulting in a three-point play, made it 65-62 with 1:44 left.
But Pendergist and Chris Horn made a combined eight free throws over five trips to the line to keep victory in the Bears’ grasp. Also during that span Fort Osage had consecutive possessions end with a turnover and Ball block.
“We were able to stop their runs by getting a board or having a good possession, things like that,” Wright said. “I think we had a better attitude going into tonight, and the guys bought into what we’re trying to do as a team.”
Chris Horn netted 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Chrisman, which did not make a 3-pointer in 10 attempts but finished 25 of 52 shooting from the field and 26 of 33 at the foul line. Pendergist had 16 points and three assists; Ball added 15 points and grabbed six of his 10 rebounds at the offensive end; and Randall Horn and Eli Henderson chipped in 10 and eight points, respectively.
“Tonight it was about playing as a team,” Chris Horn said. “We had two good days of practice, and we played as a team. That’s what won it down the stretch.”
Though Chrisman committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter, Horn said Wright kept the Bears from unraveling.
“He calmed us down, and we executed down the stretch,” Horn said.
Thompson’s 22 points and Starr’s 21 led Fort Osage, and the pair combined for five steals. Bailey Williamson pitched in 13 off the bench.
Chrisman’s junior varsity won 59-39, led by 11 points from Parker LaRoche and 10 each from Tra’Quan Bland and Khenen Counce.