Senior's pair of triples in 80-62 MEC rout of KC: St. Pius X Tuesday (Feb. 4, 2020) breaks Hayward's CHS mark of 124 3s in career
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Although it had received no advance fanfare, the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS basketball Hornets’ career record for successful 3-points shots was broken by senior star Westley Brandsgaard during Tuesday’s (Feb. 4, 2020) easier-than-the-score 80-62 home victory over Kansas City: St. Pius X.
When the multi-talented, 6’3” senior pulled up his dribble and drained a right-wing trey – his 31st of the season – about two minutes before halftime, he moved past recent Hornets guard Mason Hayward (2012-16) to the top of the CHS triples chart with his 125th.
That shot was part of another sensational personal and team shooting and passing performance which belied the 18-points final spread.
With We. Brandsgaard shooting 67 percent from both 2-points and 3-points distances and being perfect on seven free throws, he rang up a team-leading 21 points. However, that was only part of overall team excellence in the Midland Empire Conference victory.
As a team, CHS shot 70 percent from the floor (31 of 44), including 55 percent from outside the arc. The Hornets’ adjusted field goal percentage (points from all field goals divided by two and then by the total number of shots attempted) was a whopping 77 percent. Oh, and Chillicothe also was 80 percent successful at the foul line.
The scorching shooting rate was facilitated by many precision passes which dissected St. Pius X’s defense and resulted in point-blank shots, a number of them effectively undefended.
According to official team stats, 22 of the Hornets’ 31 baskets were set up directly by passes. Leading the fashioning of that assist assault was a current CHS Mason – junior guard Mason Baxter, who officially earned five, although the C-T’s unofficial count had him at seven. No less than six Hornets had multiple “helpers.”
The conference victory – the Hornets’ 10th in a row since losing to Kansas City: St. Michael the Archangel during the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament at St. Joseph in late December – pushed Chillicothe’s MEC mark to 3-0. As the conference race enters its middle stage, the Hornets are one of three league squads without a loss; defending champion St. Joseph: Lafayette and Friday’s CHS home-court foe St. Joseph: Benton are the others, both at 2-0.
The current double-digits winning streak matches one the 2017-18 Hornets amassed, a skein which is the longest since the 1997-98 state runnersup won 22 in a row before losing to Washington: St. Francis Borgia in the state-championship game.
As referenced, the final score of Tuesday’s game does not do the host’s domination justice.
Generating a 17-2 run from 5:41 in the first period to 7:21 of the second, CHS reversed an early 8-2 SPX Warriors advantage into a 20-8 Hornets spread.
To close the opening half, Chillicothe outscored its guest 21-8 in the final 6:19 to hold a commanding 41-21 advantage. Then, including the final six tallies of the second quarter, the Hornets smoked the Kansas Citians’ ribs for 16-consecutive points that left them holding a 51-21 lead with 4½ minutes remaining in the third stanza.
At that point, CHS head coach Tim Cool replaced We. Brandsgaard and cohort C.J. Pfaff, who not only double-doubled in the contest with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but also rejected six shots and earned four assists.
With mostly underclassmen, who rarely are without the security blanket of either Pfaff or We. Brandsgaard being on the court with them, taking on St. Pius X’s regulars, some of the huge lead decayed, but not alarmingly.
When the fourth quarter began with the Hornets’ lead down to 21, the two senior standouts returned to the action for a few more minutes to make sure things stabilized before reserves handled the last several minutes.
While getting 20 or more points from both headliners, Chillicothe also flashed a potent supporting cast, having four other players ring up eight or more points. That included 6’7” senior transfer Joe Tullos, who had two putbacks and eight points in the final half.
Joining him with eight was Hayden Simmer, while Baxter and Bradley Riley netted nine each.
Chillicothe dominated the much-shorter Warriors on the backboards, unofficially out-rebounding them 36-18. By C-T tracking, the Hornets’ offense was so efficient with its shooting – in combination with committing 10 or 11 turnovers – in the second half that SPX had only two defensive boards after halftime, although it did snare its own misses 10 times.