Truman gets back on winning track, routs Fort Osage

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner

Truman made sure the losing streak ended at two games.

The Patriots handled visiting Fort Osage 70-40 Tuesday to close out their regular season with a Suburban Middle Six victory and get back in the win column after scuffling late last week.

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Truman fell behind 11-10 early but then dominated throughout the rest of the game to pick up a third straight win against the Indians.

The victory was the 18th of the season for Truman, the most in more than a decade according to online records on MSHSAA.org.

“The last few games were pretty frustrating,” Truman senior guard Max Black said after the Patriots lost to Raytown and Grain Valley Friday and Saturday. “It was eye-opening. As a team we’ve got to get tougher and get better.”

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The Patriots (18-6, 7-3) led early but a technical foul turned into a one-point lead for Fort Osage after a layup by Zekiah Tucker with 3 1/2 minutes to play in the first quarter.

The next basket for the Indians (6-13, 1-8) didn’t come until early in the second quarter.

Truman went on a 13-0 run to take command and the surge featured three straight 3-pointers: Black, Najee Williams and Black again. The Patriots took a 25-15 lead after the first quarter.

The lead didn’t grow much in the second quarter despite Truman holding Fort Osage to only three field goals. The Indians, though, responded by hitting seven free throws – three players had two each – and trailed 39-28 at halftime.

The difference came in the third quarter. Coach Rod Briggs challenged his Patriots to play better defense. They did and in turn, the offense took off.

Runey Hernandez and Maddux Bristow had layups in the first minute of the third quarter and that led to Fort Osage coach Josh Wilson calling a timeout.

The respite worked briefly as Arthur Wyatt scored for the Indians, but Truman put together an even bigger run than it did in the first quarter.

Hernandez’s basket kickstarted a 14-0 run that put the game out of reach.

“It was important that we hit our groove as a team and we took off,” said Black, who finished with a game-high 18 points – 12 coming off 3-pointers. “And they couldn’t keep up.”

After Wyatt’s basket, the only other points scored by the Indians came on a free throw by Danny McArthur in the final minute. After three quarters, the Patriots held a commanding 57-31 advantage.

“When they turn it on, they can play with anyone in the city and we knew that coming in,” Wilson said. “The big thing, where we have gotten better lately, was during that 18-3 run in the third quarter. We have been able to keep our composure and make shots. We couldn’t and they were off to the races.”

Wyatt was the lone Indian to score in double figures, tallying 11. The Patriots had four, led by Black. Williams totaled 14, followed by 12 from Hernandez and a career-high 10 points from Quincy Scott. The 30-point win was the largest of the season for the Patriots, surpassing a 28-point victory over William Chrisman 

Fort Osage won’t have long to dwell on the loss as it travels to Raytown Wednesday night to wrap up the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Patriots are off until next Tuesday, March 2, when they host North Kansas City in a Class 6 District 15 semifinal as the No. 2 seed.

The victory kept Truman from having at least a three-game skid for the first time since late in the 2017-18 season – a year when the program won only four games.

“We haven’t been playing with enough emotion,” Briggs said of his team. “Things haven’t been going our way, and I felt like our kids needed to play harder and with more intensity.”