Win fifth straight overall, 70-53 at Marshall, Thursday (Jan. 16, 2020)

MARSHALL, Mo. — Just as they were a year ago, the Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets were confronted by a 1-man gang in their non-conference clash with the Marshall Owls.
Just as they did a year ago, they used a multiplicity of single-shot weaponry to subdue the semi-automatic firepower of MHS top gun Jace Lance.
Lance, who entered Thursday’s game on his home court tied for Marshall’s all-time career scoring lead, nearly matched his 39-points output of the December 2018 contest in Chillicothe by pumping 36 tallies this go-around. However, just as in the 76-58 CHS triumph in Chillicothe 13 months earlier, he couldn’t do much more than keep the final spread respectable as CHS’ Hornets won their fifth in a row, 70-53.
Chillicothe (10-3) erased its only deficit of the night with a 10-3 first-period surge that gave it a 12-6 advantage. After the opening frame ended with only a 15-13 Hornets advantage, the visitors posted 10 consecutive points and were in front by at least seven the rest of the contest.
After holding a closer-than-expected 32-25 lead at intermission, the Hornets repeated their early-second-stanza dominance with a 9-0 run to begin the second half and stayed up by double digits thereafter. The gap grew as great as 21 points in the middle of the fourth frame before the last three of Lance’s six 3-pointers whittled the closing margin to 17.
“I thought we did a much-better job in the second half, offensively,” Tim Cool, Chillicothe head coach, opined during his post-game broadcast interview. “… I thought we were confident in the first half, but just a little sloppy. I felt like we fixed that in the second half.”
Statistically, beyond the Marshall scoring machine’s production, Chillicothe received its customary 40-plus points from the duo of Westley Brandsgaard and C.J. Pfaff. The former hit right at his season average with 22 points and the latter – credited by team statisticians with 10 rebounds, four assists, three shot blocks, and two steals, as well – was right with him, netting 20.
They continued to score big with relatively-few shots, hitting a combined 15 of 23 shots from the floor (65 percent) and seven of 10 free throws.
Joining them in twin-figures scoring was junior guard Mason Baxter, who tallied 11, all after halftime.
In addition, junior guard Hayden Simmer’s best game to date saw him approach a double-double, ringing up eight points – all in the opening stanza – and snaring seven rebounds officially. An unofficial count had had him with nine grabs.
“We had guys helping (on Lance) and we rebounded well, so, if they did miss, we got the rebound and it was our turn to play offense,” Cool noted, concerning the rebounding effort which produced 32 CHS snares altogether.
According to CHS stats, the Hornets shot 60 percent from the field as a team, including a razor-sharp 8-of-13 showing from beyond the 3-points line. Simmer and We. Brandsgaard both sank two of three tries from “downtown.”
Chillicothe also won Thursday’s junior-varsity game, 55-22. Freshman Griff Bonderer popped in 17 points and classmate Wyatt Brandsgaard 15, each in only two quarters of action to keep them fully available as varsity reserves.
CHS’ basketball boys will be at home for their next outing, welcoming Hamilton: Penney Tuesday.
While Hamilton hasn’t had much success this season, the CHS coach said he believes his club will find a worthy foe on the floor with it.
“They had a good game against Trenton (Wednesday). They beat Trenton by 20 or so,” he related. “They’re a capable team. They’ve got some athletic kids.”
Cool said he trusts his team’s seniors to make sure they and their younger teammates are on task.
“Those guys aren’t going to take games off. They’re going to be ready to play,” he predicted.
“That’s a comforting thing for a coach, to know your leaders are going to be leading their teammates every game and expect them to show up and be ready.”
Channeling his inner Carl Spackler (Caddyshack greenskeeper), the coach continued, “So, we’ve got that going for us, which is a good thing, and that’s really helped this little run we’re on right now is those guys are ready every game.”