The Southwest Trojans blitzed the Purdy Eagles early in their Ozark 7 contest at Washburn on Friday night, and the Trojans went on to avenge their earlier loss at Purdy, 60-49.
That 51-46 loss to the Eagles has been on the minds of Jason Horn and his Trojans ever since they filed out of the Purdy gym and loaded the bus that night of Dec. 13, 2011. Southwest and Purdy are huge rivals in the Ozark 7, so much so that Southwest observes "blackout" whenever the Eagles come to town.
The Purdy fans held their own in the stands though, with their bright gold shirts and hoodies. The Southwest student section moved to the visitors side for the game, ceding their usual area to the Trojan band.
Devon Bennett scored the opening basket of the game to give Purdy a 2-0 lead. It was the only lead the Eagles would enjoy all night. Skylar Knoll, Southwest's senior center, scored in the paint and added a free throw to give the Trojans a 3-2 lead. Twice in the period, Knoll accepted inbound passes and then kicked the ball out to Tyler Ferguson for wide open jumpers.
Jordan Epling raced coast to coast in the final seconds of the quarter, and his driving layup gave the Trojans an 18-7 edge at the horn.
Knoll and Purdy's Cody Hall waged a war in the early going, but Hall took a seat on the pine when he picked up a pair of charging fouls. Without Hall to contest Knoll, the big center took over the paint, finishing the night with a game-high 19 points. Knoll is not one to score off the dribble, but his power and finesse usually result in points when he gets the ball close to the rim.
James Pettit opened the second quarter with a trey from the top of the arc to give Southwest a 21-7 lead. Pettit hit four treys on the night, as the Trojans raced to the big lead.
Southwest led by 29-17 at halftime, extended the lead to 16 points in the third period and led by as many as 19 in the final stanza. Purdy gained some ground in the final minutes but never got the lead under double digits.
Southwest improved to 16-4 overall and 6-1 in Ozark 7 play. The Trojans have five conference games remaining, with huge showdowns coming up against Thomas Jefferson and Wheaton. Purdy fell to 9-8 overall and 4-3 in the conference race. The Eagles also have five Ozark 7 games remaining and need some help to win the conference title.
Southwest scorers: Skylar Knoll, 19; Jordan Epling, 15; James Pettit, 14; Tyler Ferguson, 7; Travis Hayworth, 3; and Jeff Elkins, 2.
Purdy scorers: Cameron Terry, 17; Drew Williams, 16; Devon Bennett, 5; Alex Haworth, 5; Cody Hall, 4; and Garen Nelson, 2.