Ultimately, the Fort Osage boys basketball team didn’t get the help it needed to grab a share of the Suburban Middle Seven title Friday, as Raytown handled William Chrisman at home to win it outright.
After the first half at Staley High School, the visiting Indians weren’t a good bet to help themselves, either, as the Falcons ripped them for 42 points and led by 11 at halftime.
But in a complete turnaround, the latter number also proved to be what Fort Osage yielded in the second half as it posted a 64-53 Suburban Middle Seven win to close the regular season.
“We’re a pretty good second half team,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said after his team improved to 17-6 and finished 10-2 in the conference, one game behind Raytown. “We pulled off the press, because when we’re not playing that hard (with the press), we give up layups.”
The turnaround could be traced to two big factors. The Indians stopped making passes into Staley’s 1-3-1 zone defense that got picked off, and they scaled back their defense and focused on locking down in the half-court.
Will Penamon, who scored eight points in the first quarter, opened the third with a 3-pointer from the wing. Later, Brandon Hoeppner knocked down a 3-ball from the top of the key and Brian Starr swished a pair from same spot on the left wing. When Hoeppner stuck a putback at the 3:10 mark after Penamon’s steal, Fort Osage led 45-44.
Skylar Thompson’s layup off a Josh Alt inbound and Penamon’s assist to Starr gave Fort Osage a 51-47 lead for the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t settling for jump shots the whole time,” said Thompson, who led all players with 23 points and added four rebounds and two assists. “On defense we hustled back, and that let to getting stops and getting out in transition.”
In the fourth, Thompson’s seven points and Logan Haugmo’s turnaround jumper pushed the margin to 60-49, and Staley (12-12, 5-7) had no answer. After snaring six steals in the first half with their zone defense, the Falcons had just one in the second half and committed seven turnovers while shooting just 4 of 15.
Thompson’s three 3-pointers and 12 points helped Fort Osage to a 22-20 lead after one quarter, and Staley trailed 26-22 before it put together a 12-0 run in the second quarter.
The Falcons shot 19 of 27 in the first half, including 9 of 11 in the second quarter. Trevor Lamb came off the bench and scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the second, including a three-point play, a steal and another three-point play in the final 20 seconds to produce the 42-31 halftime score.
“Basically to rebound,” Thompson responded when asked about what Wilson told the Indians at halftime. “Our defensive rebounding wasn’t very good, and we weren’t buckling down and playing very good defense.”
Starr scored 10 of his 17 points in the third quarter, and Penamon had eight of his 11 in the first quarter. The two guards also combined for six assists and five steals, and Starr’s 10 rebounds keyed a 28-18 advantage for the Indians in that department.
“I’m not a big rah-rah guy at halftime,” Wilson said. “I tell them to just get it done, and if not, we’ll find somebody that will. With this group, with the experience we’ve got, they know what they’ve got to do.”
Beau Baker backed Lamb with 12 points for Staley, all but two of them in the first quarter.
Staley’s junior varsity overcame Fort Osage’s fourth-quarter rally to post a 73-68 overtime win.