After very sloppy start, CHS boys pull away from St. Joseph: Benton in second half of 62-46 win in Savannah tournament Tuesday (Nov. 28, 2017)

SAVANNAH, Mo. — Upgrading their ball security after a very sloppy start and reining in their foul frequency, the Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets pulled away from a 4-points lead they had at halftime to best St. Joseph: Benton’s Cardinals 62-46 Tuesday.
Highlighted by senior reserve guard Konner Sewell’s career-high 19 points, CHS’ second victory in as many 2017-18 outings was sewn tight when it scored the last nine points. The Hornets blanked the short, inexperienced Cardinals the final 3:44.
With the win, Chillicothe sets up a Thursday 7 p.m. duel with St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond to determine which of them competes for the 6-teams tournament’s title at 4 p.m. Saturday. Bishop LeBlond edged Benton in their 3-teams round-robin pool play Monday.
Chillicothe’s girls also will try to advance to Saturday’s championship contest Thursday when it faces Savannah right after the CHS boys’ action. That also will pit teams which won their first “pool” game over Bishop LeBlond’s girls, Savannah doing that Tuesday.
The girls’ title game is slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Chillicothe’s boys settled in after intermission Tuesday after a halting start to the game and faltering finish to the opening half.
Although it actually trailed only twice – at 1-0 and 4-2, CHS committed five turnovers before it attempted its first field goal or free throw of the afternoon, had nine turnovers in the first 3:40 of the game, and then – after twice establishing 10-points leads in the middle of the second period – slipped back into its error-prone ways to enable Benton to score the last six points of the first half.
Up only 27-23 as the third period commenced, the Hornets scored on the opening possession, setting up Sewell for a trey from left of the key. After Benton countered quickly with a deuce, CHS rang up 10 of the next 12 points over a 3:10 stretch to take its then-biggest lead, 40-27. Traditional three-points plays by Walker Graves and Sewell spiced the surge.
After two Westley Brandsgaard free throws with four seconds to go in the third boosted the margin to 47-33, the Hornets’ defense yielded a buzzer-beater from the paint to see their lead be an even dozen going into the fourth stanza.
When Benton tallied in the first minute of the last period, the margin was 10. When two Jack Willard’s foul shots were countered by a 5-0 BHS mini-spurt, the largest previous Chillicothe had been cut in half at 49-42 with 4:45 remaining in regulation time.
The squads swapped 2-points possessions twice over the next 90 seconds before CHS’ defense shuttered the Cardinals for the evening.
The Hornets’ closing surge included four Adler Marshall markers, three Graves free throws, and the last two foul shots of sophomore Brandsgaard’s perfect 4-for-4 night at the stripe.
Statistically, Chillicothe had both good and bad numbers.
With starting guards Willard and C.J. Pfaff in mild foul trouble fairly early, Sewell played much of the rest of the way and capitalized in a big, big way. He made four of six shots he tried from inside the 3-point arc and three of seven outside and made both of his charity tosses to net his game-high 19 points.
With Benton playing most of the game without anyone taller than 6’ on the floor, the 6’3” Brandsgaard didn’t trigger at all from beyond the arc. Instead he muscled his way to 6-of-9 shooting around the rim and, with his perfect free-throw work, rang up 16 points.
Joining those two in double digits in scoring was Graves, who double-doubled with 12 tallies and 11 rebounds.
Willard paired six assists with six steals and Brandsgaard supplemented his scoring with seven boardsd and three helpers. As a team CHS was 12 of 14 from the foul line.
On the down side, the Hornets were guilty of 24 turnovers – 11 of those in the first period and 16 before intermission. The only saving grace was that they made 13 steals among the 22 Benton giveaways.
The Cardinals, who don’t have any 2016-17 starters back, were led in scoring by 6’ sophomore Choi Ater’s 17 points – 12 of which came in the second stanza