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Lankford's 'energy' sparks Bears past Indians

By Michael Smith
Associated Press
William Chrisman's Say'V'on Lankford (21) goes up for a shot over Fort Osage's Arthur Wyatt, right, and Danny McArthur (10) in Friday's game. Lankford finished with 11 points to help lead the Bears to a 70-57 win.

William Chrisman boys basketball coach Jake Kates and the rest of the team had to give Say’V’on Lankford a tough time after his performance against Fort Osage Friday.

“We were giving him a hard time in the locker room about the double-double,” Kates said. “We don’t know if he got it, but we told him we’d get him a double Quarter Pounder.”

The sophomore played well enough for one of his teammates to treat him to McDonald’s at some point. He scored 11 points and grabbed a handful of rebounds in a 70-57 home win over the rival Indians.

Lankford was just promoted to the varsity squad last week and has provided a spark for the Bears. Against the Indians, he crashed the boards effectively and gave his team an inside presence despite being an undersized forward at 6-foot-2.

Fort Osage's Ed Estepan (2) draws a charge on William Chrisman's Sir'Rahn Felix in Friday's game at Chrisman. Felix and the host Bears went on to claim a 70-57 win.

“He brings excitement, energy and passion,” Kates said of Lankford. “He did a great job for us tonight. It doesn’t surprise me. He practices hard every day.”

Lankford was excited for the opportunity and he said he had a feeling he’d have a good game against Fort Osage.

“I knew my time would come sooner or later,” Lankford said. “I go hard in practice. When I came out here, I knew I was going to drop some buckets.”

Even though Lankford isn’t as tall as most forwards, he hasn’t been afraid to get physical in the paint.

“I’ve just got more heart than everybody,” Lankford said. “It doesn’t matter about the size, just have to box out and get the rebound.”

While Lankford did the dirty work down low, junior guard Dayne Herl provided Chrisman (5-8) the scoring punch it needed with a game-high 26 points. Herl has emerged as the No. 1 option on offense. Last season, The 6-foot-4 guard played on the junior varsity team for most of the season before being a part of the varsity rotation off the bench. Now, he’s a leader for the Bears.

William Chrisman guard Dayne Herl (23) is tied up by Fort Osage defenders Arthur Wyatt, left, and Dylan Lair in Friday's game at Chrisman. Herl scored 26 points to help lead the Bears to a 70-57 victory.

“It was a smoother transition than I thought it was going to be,” Herl said. “I knew I was going to have to step up in the offseason. I had some great guys above me (on last year’s team). One big one was Isaiah Jackson. He worked with me and helped me be a good defender and that helped with my offensive ability.”

Added Kates: “Dayne played some pretty good minutes for us down the stretch last year. He’s our leader, he competes in practice and he’s a warrior. The team is picking up pieces of that from him.”

The first quarter ended in a 16-16 deadlock. Chrisman led 34-26 at halftime thanks to a strong defensive effort in the half-court on traps and double-teams that led to Fort Osage turnovers out of the zone defense.

William Chrisman's Say'V'on Lankford (21) is fouled by Fort Osage's Zekiah Tucker, left, and Dylan Lair (42) in their game Friday at Chrisman. Lankford totaled 11 points to help the Bears to a 70-57 win.

That defense carried over into the third period. Chrisman outscored Fort Osage 23-17 to carry a 57-43 lead going into the fourth. Chrisman led by as many as 17 in the fourth. Sir’Rahn Felix got a steal and a fast-break layup to make it 66-49. The Indians (2-5) were unable to get back within single digits for the entire period.

“We were able to create turnovers and get out on the fast break,” Kates said. “Even when I had my big guys in like Alex Atagi, Say’V’on and Dayne, we were still able to push the ball up the floor. It started with the defense tonight.”

Fort Osage's Arthur Wyatt, center, snags a rebound from William Chrisman's Sir'Rahn Felix, left, and Say'V'on Lankford in Friday's game at Chrisman. The host Bears went on to claim a 70-57 win.

Fort Osage was hindered by poor shot selection and turnovers.

“Things started to get away from us when Coach Kates went to a zone,” Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson said. “We started shooting 3s after that. We were looking for those quick shots. Were they OK shots? Yes. But could we have got better shots? Yes.

“Turnovers have been an Achilles’ heel for us all year. We’ve been trying to work on that. It’s something we have to get through mentally and physically.”

Trent Hogland led the Indians with 15 points. Zekiah Tucker added 12, Braden Pottberg had 11 and Arthur Wyatt 10.

Antonio Rodriguez-Urena was the other Bears player in double figures with 10 points.

Fort Osage's Trent Hogland (1) shoots a fadeaway jumper under pressure from William Chrisman's Dayne Herl, right, and Trey Kates (15) Friday. Chrisman claimed a 70-57 win.