Ottawa overpowers Tonganoxie boys, 62-31
The Tonganoxie High boys basketball team looked to get on track Friday against Ottawa, but the Cyclones derailed any hope of that in a 62-31 road victory.
The visiting OHS squad jumped out early in an up-tempo first half. OHS led, 23-6, after the first quarter and 39-12 at the half.
“What really killed us in the first half was our transition defense,” said THS coach David Hillmon. “Their length and athleticism bothered us for sure at the rim.
“We got fairly clean looks but simply couldn’t score it, and (Gary) Carroll in transition made all the right decisions.”
Carroll finished the game with 10, while Isaac McCullough stole the show, scoring 24 in the victory.
“McCullough is simply a tremendous talent,” Hillmon said. “He made us pay for every single defensive lapse, and we had way too many of those.”
In the second half, Tonganoxie was able to get more production on the offensive end. The Cyclones still would have answers for any Chieftain rally, but THS had more success after the intermission. The teams both scored 11 in the third quarter, while Ottawa had a 12-7 advantage in the fourth.
Mac Thompson led the Chieftains in scoring with 10, while Dylan Kleidosty had five. Chandler Caldwell, Dakota Gray and Mason Beach each produced four points, while Keaton Rickard and Eric Neas each had two in the loss.
Thompson was pat of a strange play in the second half when he was fouled during a shot attempt at the bucket. Ottawa’s Drew Bones got the foul and, in frustration, slammed the basketball on the floor. The ball went sailing above the rim on the bounce and the technical foul ensued. Thompson made one of two shots on the shooting could before referees had a lengthy conversation about who the fouls were on. Thompson then sunk both technical foul shots.
“Our offense in the second half was exactly how we envisioned it coming into the game, and getting back on defense is much easier when the other team is taking the ball out of the net,” Hillmon said. “That being said, we still weren’t as alert as we need to be defensively. We are definitely improving though.”
Hillmon also praised OHS coach Clifton McCullough and the program he’s built in Ottawa.
“They are a phenomenal, senior-led team who have the pieces to play well into March,” he said.
Tuesday’s game against Bishop Ward has been moved to Jan. 27, so the Chieftains will try to finish out 2016 on a positive note Friday. Tonganoxie has a home game against Piper on Friday at the THS gymnasium.
There also will be raffles and a silent auction to assist THS’ Cortney Hamel.
McLouth still without victory in early going
The McLouth High boys basketball is still working toward the first victory of the season.
MHS lost Dec. 6, 44-26, to Horton.
The Bulldogs followed that game up with a 51-35 loss Friday to Immaculata.
The McLouth girls basketball team, meanwhile, dropped a game Dec. 6 to Horton.