Eagles emboldened by Invitational tournament title

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Tyler Keller spies and opening in the Verona defense on Saturday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Purdy takes down Verona to claim Pierce City crown

A tournament title was something Purdy expected when it began the Pierce City Invitational Tournament a week ago.

Of course, seven other teams also had visions of taking home the tourney trophy as well, but only the Eagles were able to claim the title of champion with a 46-39 win over Verona on Saturday.

“We have a lot of grit,” said Jeremy Dresslaer, Purdy coach. “It is not going to always be pretty, and we have a long way to go in our development, but we have talent.”

The Eagles held off two late charges from Verona, who whittled a 15-point advantage down to 4 points with three minutes remaining in the game.

“Luckily, we have a lot of learning points through this championship,” Dresslaer said. “We were able to see the plays develop in front of us, but didn’t always do a good job of anticipating the next move.

“Offensively, in all three games, we could have executed better, but defensively, we got the stops we had to have in crunch time.”

Dresslaer said he wanted his team to take a one-game-at-a-time approach with this season.

“We came in here with a goal of winning the tournament and not looking ahead,” he said. “We have to value the ball more and limit turnovers, but we are off to a 3-0 start that we wanted.”

Scoring for Purdy: Colt Keeling, 22; Hunter Cook, 9; Jose Sanchez, 8; Tyler Keeler, 4; and Ky Propps, 3.

Scoring for Verona: Caleb Hillhouse, 15; Kolton Pinkly, 10; Eddie Gutierrez, 9; Austin Valdez, 3; and Dominic Fernandez, 2.

In the tournament, Pierce City claimed third place with a 67-64 win over Billings. East Newton was fifth with a 76-69 win over Ash Grove, and Greenwood topped Sarcoxie, 48-43.

Keeling was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The All-Tournament team includes:

MVP: Colt Keeling, Purdy

Caleb Hillhouse, Verona

Hunter Tindell, Pierce City

Kolton Pinkly, Verona

Luke Johnson, Billings

Connor Killion, East Newton

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