CHS boys bolted to 14-2 lead, prevented any LeBlond 2-points baskets, take third in tourney Dec. 30, 2019

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Fast – often blistering – starts to games have been a virtual staple, both pro and con, in Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets play through the 2019 portion of their season.
That trend continued – positively, this time – Monday, 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.
When the last second ticked off, the contest had clandestinely matched not only a CHS boys’ hoops record, but a world record, too, as BLHS’ 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, when games featured limited scoring, CHS’ Hornets defeated long-since-vanished Chula High School in a game in which Chula tallied only a single free throw.
Presumably thousands of times in the century-plus since James Naismith first nailed peach baskets to a wall, one team in a game – possibly, on occasion, both – completed the contest without having scored a basket. However, over the past 70 years or so – and likely even less often since the advent of a 3-points shot caused defenses to guard farther from the rim, the number of times a team was blanked from 2-points range figures to be relatively small.
“Pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve seen a team go an entire game without a 2-point basket,” Chillicothe head coach Tim Cool, in his third decade of coaching high school teams and having seen his share of games before then, acknowledged.
The Hornets (6-3) will return to Bishop LeBlond’s gym next Thursday for their Midland Empire Conference opener. Before that, on Tuesday, they will get to play at home for the first time, weather permitting (see related story on preceding page). Lawson will be the opponent in what will be CHS’ annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game.
In the final-round game of the LeBlond-hosted tourney, Mason Baxter’s 3-points shot on the game’s opening possession got the Hornets off on the right foot, at which point the CHS combo of seniors Westley Brandsgaard and C.J. Pfaff began doing its usual “thing.”
The former’s trey and free throw and latter’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. An upgrade in Bishop LeBlond’s offensive performance in the remaining time then nibbled a few points off the final spread.
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, like We. Brandsgaard sinking all of the 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 CHS 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 team lead in assists with Pfaff with four and also equaled Pfaff’s half-dozen rebounds.
Bishop LeBlond’s scoring was paced by junior guard Isaac Ferguson’s 10 points.