Southwest finishes sixth in NEO Tournament

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Looking for an outlet Democrat Photo by Jared Lankford Southwest senior Jordan Epling looks for someone to pass the ball to during the consolation championship of the NEO tournament against Monett on Jan. 26.

The Southwest Trojans finished sixth in the NEO Tournament in Miami, Okla., on Jan. 26.

The Trojans' start to tourney play was rough as they fell 67-43 to Roland, Okla., on Jan. 24.

On Jan. 25, the red and black rebounded with a 56-55 nail-biter over Grove.

The victory propelled the Trojans into the consolation championship against Monett.

The Trojans had already handed the purple and gold a 63-46 loss on Jan. 18.

Monet served notice on early on during the rematch that they were ready to play and held on for a 58-57 victory over Southwest.

The game was a contrast in styles. Southwest displayed its ability to be deadly from downtown. In fact, the Trojans hit 11 3-pointers against Monett.

The Cubs chose to attack the paint. One look at the black and blue arms of Monett's centers Aaron Patton, Caleb Blue and Chad Swanson after the game told that story.

A back-and-forth first period ended with the Trojans holding a 12-11 edge.

Southwest opened the second quarter with a trey from Brad Daniels, followed by a short jumper by Jordan Epling to give the Trojans a 17-11 lead.

Instead of folding under the Trojans' pressure, Monett sprung into action. Kyle Woods buried back-to-back 3-pointers then hit a driving layup to give the Cubs a 20-18 lead.

Pettit ended the Cubs' spurt with the third of his game-high six 3-pointers.

Southwest, known for its hustle and scrappiness, was consistently beat to loose balls by a more determined Monett squad.

The Cubs stayed in an extended two-three defensive zone, inviting the Trojans to keep shooting the 3-point shot.

While the Trojans scored 33 points via the triple, Southwest showed little desire to attack the rim.

Trojan players made only six field goal shots inside the arc the entire game.

Woods hit a driving layup as time expired at the end of the first half to send the Cubs into the locker room with a 24-23 lead.

Monett doubled its advantage in the third period to lead 41-39 to start the fourth period.

The Trojans battled hard, using the long bomb to stay close. An Epling 3-pointer gave Southwest a 51-48 lead with 5:34 remaining.

Monett countered with a long-distance connection from freshman Logan Coones to knot the score.

Woods' offense and the Cubs' defense did the rest. Woods hit two free throws with 1:20 remaining to give Monett a 58-54 lead.

Monett then switched to a man-to-man defense that held the Trojans without a shot for the next 45 seconds.

Epling hit a trey as time expired, but it was too little, too late as the Cubs secured the 58-57 victory.

Scoring for Southwest: Epling, 24 points; James Pettit, 18; Austin Ross and Brad Daniels 5 each; Drew Farrer, 4; and Josh Cutberth, 1.

Scoring for Monett: Woods, 30 points; Patton, 12; Coones, 7; Swanson, 6 and Zach Hammond, 3.

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