Hornets bolt to 14-2 lead over hosts, prevent any 2-points field goals in taking third place in 2019 Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament 60-36 Dec. 30
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Fast – often blistering – starts to games have been a virtual staple, both pro and con, in the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS basketball Hornets’ season through the 2019 portion of it. In eight of the nine contests to date, either CHS or the opponent has built a significant lead in the first four or more minutes, more often than not setting the stage for, contrary to Aesop’s tortoise and hare fable, eventual triumph by the team with the quick getaway.
That trend continued Monday evening (Dec. 30) when the Hornets bolted ahead of the host team 14-2 and never were threatened in what concluded as a 60-36 romp in the third-place game of the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament at St. Joseph.
The contest clandestinely matched a Chillicothe boys’ hoops record and equaled a world record when the Golden Eagles failed to make any 2-points basket. Their scoring output was evenly split between a half-dozen trifectas and 18-of-20 free-throw sharpshooting.
Way back in 1922, CHS’ Hornets defeated long-since-vanished Chula High School in a game in which Chula tallied only a single free throw.
Mason Baxter’s 3-points shot on the game’s opening possession got the Hornets (6-3) off on the right foot, at which point the CHS combo of seniors Westley Brandsgaard and C.J. Pfaff began doing their usual “thing.”
A We. Brandsgaard trey, his free throw, and Pfaff’s patented pass-interception and runout for a dunk made it 9-0, Chillicothe, before Bishop LeBlond got on the “Bill” Grace Gymnasium scoreboard. When We. Brandsgaard followed two Golden Eagles free throws with a second triple and Pfaff tacked on a driving deuce from the right wing, the Hornets possessed a 14-2 lead before Bishop LeBlond got its first field goal.
After doubling the Golden Eagles in each of the first two periods to take a 30-15 advantage to the locker room at halftime, Chillicothe extended that ratio of dominance several minutes into the fourth quarter, owning a 51-24 lead after a couple of Baxter charity tosses early in the last segment.
Statistically, when the final horn sounded, We. Brandsgaard had virtually matched his season scoring average by putting up a game-best 22 tallies on, officially, 7-of-9 overall shooting from the floor, including a 3-of-5 showing beyond the arc. The points total inched his season average up to 21.4 per game on a team-leading 54 percent shooting rate from the field.
Pfaff concluded Monday’s game with 15 points, sinking all seven 2-points shots he triggered, including two breakaway “flushes.” His season scoring average slipped a smidgen to 16.9.The long-armed, 6’4” guard made a team-best four steals and leads the club with an average of three a contest heading into 2020.
Junior 5’9” guard Baxter, who had a very good tournament, seasoned the entire Chillicothe performance. He netted five points, led the team in rebounds with seven, had two assists, two steals, and two shot blocks, according to team stats.
Fellow 11th grader Hayden Simmer shared the CHS lead in assists with Pfaff with four and also equaled Pfaff’s half-dozen rebounds.
Bishop LeBlond’s scoring in Monday’s blowout was paced by junior guard Isaac Ferguson’s 10 points.
Chillicothe will return to Bishop LeBlond’s gym next Thursday, Jan. 9, for its Midland Empire Conference opener. Before that, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Hornets will get to play at home for the first time, weather permitting. Lawson will be the opponent for a girls’/boys’ varsity twinbill that night.