Lawrence, Wood lead charge for Chisum in 58-50 win at Prairiland
On Saturday, the Prairiland Patriots hosted the Chisum Mustangs in the first of two meetings between local district rivals. The Mustangs (13-2, 2-0) got off to a hot start from behind the arc early and held the Patriots (9-5, 0-2) off down the stretch to secure a 58-50 win in Pattonville.
The key to Chisum’s win was its defense, per the team. The Mustangs’ ability to communicate and prevent points was a catalyst in the victory.
“I think we did a good job with our help-side on defense making sure we protected the rim and made them try to beat us from the perimeter,” Chisum head basketball coach Brian Temple said. “We did a good job of communicating and talking to make sure we were right where we needed to be and, when you’re taking care of the backside right there, the guys up top can be a little bit more aggressive. We had some lulls at times, but we played good defense overall — we just gave up too many offensive boards.”
Last season, the Mustangs held an eight-point lead at Prairiland but ultimately lost on a buzzer-beating jumper from then-senior post Connor Sessums. This season, the confident Mustangs squad remembered that stinging feeling and worked hard to avoid a similar demise.
“It’s a testament to coming to practice every day, working hard, and knowing how good we are,” Mustangs junior guard Evan Wood said. “There’s no reason that we should ever be down ourselves because we know we have all the talent in the world and can compete with anyone we’re on the floor with.”
Hard work paying its dividends
The attention to detail is not confined inside the boundaries of the basketball court. Chisum’s players are avid film watchers and use their opponents’ game tape to help the Mustangs in their game-to-game preparation.
“We watch a lot of film during practices and (Coach) Temple helps us out a lot with that,” Chisum junior point guard Keaston Lawrence said. “He knows plays well and knows what other teams are calling with their sets — we know what other teams are doing before they’re even going to do it. It just comes down to a lot of preparation and practice, and I put that on Coach Temple in helping us get to where we need to be as a team.”
Early in the first quarter, Prairiland junior guard Brooks Morrison swished a short jumper with 5:43 left to give his team a 5-4 lead. However, Lawrence swished a deep 3-pointer at the first-quarter horn to push Chisum’s lead to 22-9. Even though the scoreboard may have deflated some teams, the Patriots continued to fight and claw their way back into the contest.
“Some of these guys are still inexperienced and we had some early turnovers — I think we had seven in the first quarter,” Prairiland head basketball coach Steven Weddle said. “After we settled in, I think it was 25-9 at the worst, and then you look up and we’re within five. We played hard and got after it, and I’m watching my guys grow up. I’m watching some juniors who have never played varsity like Gage Bankhead and Mason Day, who have grown up right in front of us. As bad as it may have seemed early, we outscored them for three quarters, and that’s something we have to build on.”
Prairiland limited Chisum to just five second-quarter points while pouring in 12 of their own. The Patriots crept to within four points on multiple occasions in the final three quarters, but the Mustangs seemed to have an answer for whatever the Patriots threw their way.
Added significance to the victory
Despite playing the game without one of their starters, the Mustangs turned back every Prairiland comeback attempt with timely buckets both in the paint and beyond the arc.
“Without one of our starters, everyone had to step up. Brayden and Jett (Petkus) had to put in extra minutes. Jett’s defense was amazing tonight and was really able to slow down Brooks (Morrison) when he guarded him,” Lawrence said. “Brayden (Brown) hit a three which was crazy, but I’m really proud of the boys with this win — we all showed up to play.”
To say the least, the early contributions and added plays sprinkled in throughout the game helped propel Chisum to the finish line.
“We have eight guys and all eight of them had to play significant minutes,” Temple said. “Being down a starter and one of our best players, I think this allowed our guys who haven’t had as many looks on the court really helped them show their ability. Brayden Brown did a really good job for us coming in early in the first quarter scoring six points. He knocked down a three and made an and-one bucket and, any time we can get production like that off the bench, it makes us that much harder to defend.”
Lawrence scored a team-high 17 points while Wood scored 16 points. The Mustangs backcourt duo combined to splash in five 3-pointers. Jett Petkus contributed with 7 points and quality defense while Brayden Brown scored all 6 of his points in the first quarter. Rylan Boutwell also chipped in with 6 points while Espn Blyton and Levi Weems tossed in 4 points and 3 points, respectively.
Morrison played strong in the loss. He attacked the basket well and led all scorers with a game-high 18 points while Gage Bankhead poured in 7 points. Blake Ballard and Mason Day each recorded 6 points while Brylee Galloway added 5 points. Jeremiah Harrison had 4 points while Braydan Nichols and Eli Rolen contributed with quality defense on the perimeter and scored 2 points apiece.
In spite of the loss, Weddle was encouraged by his team’s level of play, specifically on the defensive end moving forward.
“The way we played defense was the most encouraging thing I saw,” Weddle said. “Those guys hti some three’s and what not, but they had a hand in their face every time they hit those shots. If you play defense like that, then you’re going to be alright. Our calling card is our defense.”
The Mustangs look to win again at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at home against Emory Rains. Meanwhile, the Patriots aim to bounce back at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Lone Oak. For more sports coverage, click here.