Host CHS methodically bests Savannah 46-31 Friday (Feb. 9, 2018), improves to 19-3 overall, 4-1 in Midland Empire Conference

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — A typical Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets defensive performance, supplemented by dominance on the backboards, produced another typical – and satisfying, if not thrilling – result Friday (Feb. 9, 2018).
In a game in which it took nearly three minutes for either side to score at the start and which produced only 10 total first-period points, the Hornets moved to the verge of their program’s first 20-wins season since 2003-04 by methodically muzzling the visiting Savannah Savages, 46-31.
The Midland Empire Conference triumph by the Hornets (19-3, 4-1 conf.) never seemed in much doubt after the middle of the second quarter.
After Savannah, winless thus far in MEC competition this season, tied the game at 6-6 just over a minute into the second period, C.J. Pfaff’s nifty, snaking drive from the right elbow of the lane to the rim broke the deadlock a minute later and the Hornets, who never trailed, were on their way.
That bucket began a 17-4 CHS run over the final 6:45 of the opening half, a surge sealed by senior guard Konner Sewell’s left-wing 3-pointer which made it 23-10, Hornets, with under two seconds remaining.
The teams played to a draw in a rather-nondescript second half, with the visiting Savages briefly bringing some intrigue to the proceedings with a 6-0 mini-run late in the third period and early in the fourth that cut the Chillicothe advantage to eight, 36-28. It could have been closer, but SHS missed three free throws in the midst of that stretch.
Faintly challenged, Chillicothe responded with the next five points, taking the gap back up to 13 points. The Hornets then throttled their opponent on one field goal and one free throw in the last 5:35 to prevail by their widest margin of the contest.
Statistically, the home club had its way on the boards, unofficially out-rebounding Savannah 27-13 behind seven apiece from Walker Graves and Adler Marshall.
Scoring-wise, CHS sophomore Westley Brandsgaard popped in a game-best 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Savannah had 15 from a 10th grader of its own, Braden Berry.
Next for the Chillicothe boys will be a Tuesday visit to MEC leader St. Joseph: Lafayette. If the Hornets could spring a surprise on the Fighting Irish, they could move into a tie for the league lead with only one game left.