Beginning with tie-snapping last two baskets of third frame, Hornets pull away from Nebraska club 61-49 Friday (Dec. 27, 2019)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Senior Westley Brandsgaard gathered in Bradley Riley’s well-placed lob pass to the low post and scored to snap a momentary 39-39 tie with just under two minutes left in the third quarter, igniting a 22-10 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS basketball Hornets finish to their 61-49 victory over Falls City, Neb., Friday afternoon (Dec. 27, 2019) in the opening round of the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament.
After We. Brandsgaard’s go-ahead bucket, classmate C.J. Pfaff scored nine of the remaining 10 points in what was a 12-4 CHS  surge that turned the game into always a multi-possessions oontest over the last five minutes. The Tigers from northeastern Nebraska still were within six with 2-1/2 minutes left, but were blanked by the Hornets the rest of the way, allowing CHS (5-2) to double its winning margin.
The victory, paced by We. Brandsgaard’s 23 points and Pfaff’s 20, sends the Hornets into the tournament’s 5:30 p.m. championship semifinal game against Kansas City: St. Michael the Archangel Saturday.
The two teams – mainly the same personnel for the KC squad and much the same for Chillicothe – played for third place in the tourney last year with St. Michael overcoming a 10-points halftime deficit to win going away, 69-61. St. Michael went on to advance to the Class 3 state tournament quarterfinals before having its season end.
Later Saturday’s other championship semifinal will pit the host Golden Eagles against East Buchanan. The finals will be on Monday.
Having led nearly since the late portion of the opening quarter, including by as many as nine points twice in the second stanza, the Hornets saw a pair of Falls City triples erase a 6-points gap in the middle-to-latter portion of the third period. However, once caught, they had a decisive response.
After We. Brandsgaard pushed his side back ahead, Pfaff scored on the next possession to leave Chillicothe holding a 43-39 lead going to the last quarter.
After Falls City scored first to halve that margin, a We. Brandsgaard free throw and two by Pfaff after he pulled down an offensive rebound moved the spread to five with just over six minutes to play.
The Tigers scored, but failed to convert the chance for a three-points play. They would score only once more from the floor over the last 5-plus minutes as their shooting eye totally deserted them.
Another stickback by Pfaff off of noe of his three key offensive boards of the last quarter was followed by, off Bradley Riley’s pass and Hayden Simmer’s screen, his right-wing trey that, somewhat suddenly, made it an 8-points game.
The Nebraska club’s last gasp came with just over two minutes left when, having rebounded another missed attempt to complete a three-points play, a driving shot that would have made it 55-51 was negated when Simmer was ruled to have drawn  a charging foul.
That was noly the latest of Simmer’s multiple notable contributions to the victory. He sank a 3-points try in each of the first three quarters without a miss to finish with nine points, grabbed three rebounds, and blocked a shot in addition to taking the charge and setting the screen that let Pfaff score the last three of his 20 points.
Statistically, the 52 total points generated by We. Brandsgaard, Pfaff, and Simmer came from highly-efficient shooting. The trio were a composite 19 of 32 from the floor, including the latter two combining to knock down six of the seven trifectas they tried while We. Brandsgaard burying nine of the 10 attempts he had inside the arc.
Falls City was powered by Kade Bredemeier’s 22 points, including five treys.