Early in the second quarter of last Saturday night’s Family Pharmacy Panther Classic in Mountain Grove, things were not looking good for the top seeded Norwood Pirates in the championship game.
Marshfield finished off a 12-0 run in the first quarter and led the Pirates, 20-4, as Blue Jays’ star Zach Mings had already threw down a pair of dunks to give his team all of the momentum.
Fortunately, the experienced Pirates didn’t get rattled as their offense made just 1-of-10, 3-point shots in the first half. They picked up their energy and took advantage of Marshfield’s foul trouble to outscore the Blue Jays, 53-26, the rest of the way to win the championship, 57-46.
“(The key was) our energy coming out at halftime,” said Norwood head coach Shane Chadwell. “We started to shoot the ball well and got our shots to fall…We pressured them up front and got them out of rhythm.”
Down 16 points in the first half, Norwood’s Garrett Davault, the tournament MVP, hit a big 3-pointer to stop the bleeding. He added a dunk and led a Norwood charge to cut the lead to nine entering halftime.
The Pirates made just 5-of-20 shots from the field in the first half. Meanwhile, Marshfield made 9-of-22 shots from the field and all seven free throws.
With a need to set the tone for a comeback right away in the third quarter, Norwood opened the second half with 6-0 run.
The Pirates would end up having an 18-9 run as Davault made two 3-pointers, with his second one giving Norwood their first lead of the game at 34-33.
Davault made three, 3-pointers in the third and scored 13 points. Jacob Sinning added six points as Norwood had a 39-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Davault converted a big 3-point play with 3:22 left in the game to give the Pirates an eight point lead.
After being quiet offensively for most of the game, Max McGowan made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to help seal the nine point win.
As a team, Norwood made 15-of-26 shots from the field and 8-of-10 free throws in the second half.
Davault led Norwood with 28 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block.
Another All-Tournament selection, Jacob Sinning, scored 10 points in the win.
Gavin McGraw tallied eight points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block; Justin Chadwell had six points, six rebounds, one block and one steal; Payton McDaris had four points, four steals and three assists; and McGowan had three points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Beating Mountain Grove in instant classic
In their opening game of the tournament, fans packed inside Mountain Grove’s Arena were loud, providing players in a local rivalry game with the feeling of a district championship contest.
The host Panthers gave the No. 1 ranked team in Class 2 all they could handle, but fortunately for Norwood fans, their Pirates held on late for a 66-58 victory. It appeared early that Norwood might pull away for an easy win. Davault made four first quarter 3-pointers and had 16 of his team’s 20 points.
Up 20-9, Norwood was unable to stretch their lead as the Panthers scored 20 points in the second quarter. Kaden Bruce paced a comeback for the Panthers as he scored 11 points. After cutting the lead down to six, the Panthers found themselves down, 36-29, at the half.
Norwood made 15-of-23 shots from the field in the first half. They also had six different players score in the second quarter. Foul trouble hurt Norwood and the Panthers took advantage after making 11-of-14 free throws.
In the third quarter, Norwood’s offense struggled. The Panthers responded with a 6-0 run. Jase Dowden scored four points. McGraw’s two 3-pointers was all of Norwood’s offense in the frame.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers’ Bradley Henry had a steal and was fouled. He made his first free throw to tie the game at 44-44.
Davault scored no points and had just two shots from the field through 10 minutes in the second half.
After Sinning’s near 3-point play, Davault found the scoreboard with a put back. He would go on to make 15-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the eight point win.
Davault finished with 36 points, four rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals; McGraw had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals; Sinning scored eight points, three rebounds and two assists; McDaris had five points, two rebounds and one assist; Chadwell had four points, two rebounds and one steal; McGowan had three points, five assists and three rebounds; and Drake had two points and one rebound.
Bruce led the Panthers with 17 points, eight assists, two steals and one rebound; Bryce Stenzel had 10 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block; Henry had nine points, one rebound, one assist and one steal; Jase Dowden had eight points, eight rebounds and one steal; Drew Vaughan had eight points and four rebounds; Hollen Glenn scored two points and one rebound; Isiah Hellenbusch had two points and two rebounds; and Kyle Penner scored two points.
Davault scored 20 of his team-high 30 points in the first half to lift the Pirates to a 68-54 win over a good Forsyth program.
Norwood scored more than 20 points in each of the first two quarters to take a 13-point lead into halftime.
The Pirates held on late for the 14-point win.
Sinning scored 10 points; both McDaris and Chadwell had eight points; Drake scored six points; McGraw had four points; and McGowan had two points.
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