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The Chanute Blue Comets edged out the visiting Pittsburg Purple Dragons in a low-scoring senior night matchup on Tuesday, 29-22.
“It was bad basketball, that’s the reality of it,” Chanute head coach Dustin Fox said. “It wasn’t a well-played game, but I was proud that we figured out a way to win. That’s not something I would’ve been able to say earlier in the year, and definitely not last year.”
Senior Braylee Peter, typically a bench reserve player for the Blue Comets, was honored on senior night with her first career start.
Chanute jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter. Juniors Peyton Shields, Jaye Smith and Kelsey Haviland each knocked down a 3 to amp up the crowd early.
The Blue Comets extended their lead to 11-2 in the second quarter, before Pittsburg scored eight unanswered to finish the half.
“We seemed out of sorts, for whatever reason. We weren’t in any sort of flow,” Fox said of the first half.
Chanute had plenty of chances to pull away from a struggling Pittsburg offense who shot just 20 percent on the night, but the Purple Dragons pulled down 13 offensive rebounds while getting to the free throw line 10 times to stay close.
“We didn’t rebound, and we turned the ball over too much. We gave them a lot of extra opportunities,” Fox said.
Pittsburg took a brief lead to start the second half, before Shields and junior Kynleigh Chard started to take over. The duo combined for seven points to hold an 18-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“It was good to see different kids stepping up at different times,” Fox said. “In that third quarter, Peyton got more aggressive and Kynleigh was able to get some buckets inside for us. In the fourth, Kelsey and Kierny (Follmer) had their opportunities and made the most of them.”
Haviland and junior Kierny Follmer matched the third quarter performance of their teammates, combining for 10 points en route to the victory.
After dropping 30 points against Parsons on Friday, Pittsburg’s Jacqueline Hall was held to 10 points on very inefficient shooting. Fox was glad to see his squad step up to contain, in his opinion, the best player in the league.
“We wanted to make it as difficult for her as possible, and make the other kids make shots,” Fox said. “I thought limiting her opportunities — and contesting the opportunities she did get — was a big factor in us being able to pull out the win.”
Shields tallied five assists to go with a team-high seven points, matched by Haviland. Follmer added six points and four rebounds, Chard had four points and Bogle had a team-high six rebounds with her pair of points.
The night marked the final home game for Peter, Bogle and Preston Keating.
“Our three seniors are maybe the best group of human beings you could ever ask for,” Fox said. “They’re great students, great friends, great teammates. They’re really in it for our team, and I can’t say enough about the positive contributions they’ve made over the last three years.”
Chanute (5-12) finishes out the season on a three-game road trip, beginning with a matchup against Coffeyville (5-11) on Friday.
“We’ve gotta play a lot better than we did tonight if we’re gonna be successful going forward,” Fox said.
Pittsburg: 2 8 3 9 — 22
Chanute: 9 2 7 11 — 29
Pittsburg: Jacqueline Hall 10, Onna Jorge 5, Erin O’Connell 2, Gabrielle White 2, Alyssa Hotze 2, Dessie Gorley 1
Chanute: Peyton Shields 7, Kelsey Haviland 7, Kierny Follmer 6, Kynleigh Chard 4, Jaye Smith 3, Tyra Bogle 2
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