Mix and match, Purdy still reloading

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
James Hughlett drives to the paint for Purdy in varsity action on Friday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Team looks to solve rebounding issue

A No. 1 seed in the Sarcoxie Tournament this week may be the needed medicine to help the wounded Purdy boys basketball team.

As heavy media favorites to claim the crown, the Black and Gold (7-9) enter the tournament field that contains Sarcoxie, Billings, Wheaton, College Heights and Exeter.

"We just need to get back to what we do," said Tommy Egan, Purdy coach. "We are playing well, but we have got to solve our problems rebounding."

The Eagles' roller-coaster season went from a Miller Tournament championship the first week of this year to suffering to tight losses to Seneca and Pierce City last week, games in which Purdy had leads in the fourth quarter that slipped away.

"I'd like for us to quit doing that, [blowing late leads]," Egan said. "It's great we got guys that can fight and make baskets in pressure situations, but it is those small one or two details that kill us."

Purdy has used a deep rotation this season with as many as 10 players seeing the floor when all are healthy.

Against Pierce City, Egan used nine players, but the problem was solving a height issue that centers on the bulk of his team being 5-10 and playing against 6-4 post players.

Speed is how Purdy usually compensates, but Egan says the team needs an extra push.

"We have got to get some confidence," Egan said. "We have got to get the rebounding thing figured out. Part of it is who we are and part of it is the style that we play and then there are times that we just don't box out, and that is going to have to stop."

Against Pierce City, the Eagles turned a 46-34 deficit two minutes into the third quarter into a 59-55 lead with 4:27 left in regulation.

However, they surrendered eight offensive boards, four of them coming after missed free throws in the final four minutes, and allowed Pierce City to claim a 67-62 win.

Scoring for Pierce City: Donell Kleiboeker, 18; Cox, 12; Mason Moreland, 12; Dallas Kleiboeker, 7; Hunter Tindell, 6; Aaron Garner, 5; Kevin Abramovitz, 4; and Hunter Hatfield, 3.

Scoring for Purdy: Tyler Keeler, 27; Hunter Cook, 11; Matt Wilson, 10; James Hughlett, 6; Kyler Propps, 5; Logan Easley, 2; and Joby Young, 1.

"You tell me last July that we'd play with the top teams in our district this year, especially losing all the guys we lost, I'd be thrilled to death," Egan said. "Our guys are doing a great job, we're not disappointed at all. These guys can do some things."

Purdy plays Wheaton Thursday at 6 p.m. in Sarcoxie

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