Never trailing, CHS takes 12th win in a row, 52-39, at St. Joseph over Bishop LeBlond Thursday. Willard, Marshall lead balanced scoring with 14 points each; Graves has 14 rebounds

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — No triskaidekophobia here.
Chillicothe (Mo.) High School’s basketball Hornets needed only one attempt to rack up their “lucky” 13th victory of the 2017-18 season Thursday, never trailing as they captured their Midland Empire Conference schedule opener 52-39 over the St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond Golden Eagles.
After needing the better part of two minutes to score the contest’s first two points, the Hornets (13-1, 1-0 conf.) needed less than two minutes to tack on six more in a row, prompting a Golden Eagles timeout.
While the hosts soon carved away most of that 8-0 deficit, they never were closer than the 2-points margin Jack Harvey created with a 3-pointer that brought Bishop LeBlond within 10-8 with just over two minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Jack Willard’s pull-up jumper from around the left elbow of the lane gave him bookend buckets for the period and CHS a 12-8 advantage through eight minutes.
Konner Sewell’s triple from right of the key off Adler Marshall’s kick-out feed from the block and two Walker Graves free throws jumped the Hornets’ lead back up to beyond the initial eight points to 17-8 early in period No. 2 as the Hornets maintained their multiple-possessions control the final three periods.
At halftime, the gap still was those same nine points, 23-14. A mid-third-stanza, 9-2 surge by the small, but quick Golden Eagles eased them back to within six at 31-25, but Chillicothe shot down their comeback hopes from long range.
Trifectas from Sewell and then Willard twice, along with two Marshall free throws in the final four minutes of the third frame catapulted CHS’ lead to 15, 42-27, and it never slipped back into single digits thereafter. Twice in the last segment, the Hornets had a game-best margin of 16 points before settling for the 13-points spread for win No. 13.
Statistically, Chillicothe’s 10th win in succession featured scoring contributions the length and breadth of its starting lineup.
While Willard was netting a season personal-high 14 points and Marshall was equaling that, Sewell, Graves, and the team’s leading scorer for the season – Westley Brandsgaard – were providing eight more each.
Graves was well into double figures on the backboards, the burly 6’2” senior ripping down a season-high 14 – all on the defensive end. The Hornets out-rebounded their much-smaller and shorter foe by about 10 and both sides walled off the offensive window. CHS snared only three of its own misses and Bishop LeBlond unofficially only four.
The Golden Eagles’ Harvey led all scorers with 19 points.
In addition to his scoring, Willard shared the team lead in aasists with three – same as Sewell and Marshall, according to team statisticians, and had four of the CHS rebounds. Fellow guard Sewell had a career-best five caroms collected.
Next on the Chillicothe boys’ docket is one of their key MEC games. They’ll host Maryville next Tuesday.