Trojans keep pace on the floor

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Southwest’s Brendyn Paulsen puts up a shot over Cassville’s Aidan Cook during the Trojans’ 57-54 loss to the Wildcats on the road Friday. Kyle Troutman/

Southwest hopes up-tempo style pays off in conference play

The Southwest boys basketball team is taking a page out of the Ricky Bobby playbook this season — they like to go fast.

The Trojans (9-6) played three games last week, defeating Sarcoxie, 48-46, and Verona, 72-49, but falling to Cassville, 57-54.

Southwest’s Zak Starr drives to the basket in the Trojans’ 72-49 road win over Verona on Thursday. Kyle Troutman/

“It’s good to get to play, and we are in shape and used to it,” said Rusty Roe, Southwest coach. “We’ll have another three-game week this week at the Spokane Tournament. At this point, we are conditioned enough to make it through weeks like this.”

Roe said his Trojans are young, and where they may lack in size, they have an abundance of speed.

“We are a young team still figuring things out, and we’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with much sickness or quarantines,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we have a lot of athleticism. We are playing an up-tempo style much more than in the past, and it seems to be a rhythm we enjoy when we play at that speed.”

Roe said the team is looking to get some more experience this week in Spokane. The Trojans played Reeds Spring Tuesday night, with results unavailable by press time, and will face Spokane or Seymour Thursday or Friday.

“We are the No. 6 seed in that tournament, and there are a couple other area teams there,” Roe said. “Some of the other teams we don’t see all the time.”

The full field, ranked No. 1-8, includes: Chadwick, Spokane, Reeds Spring, Ash Grove, Blue Eye, Southwest, Seymour and Cassville.

Looking ahead, Roe said the Trojans are more focused on cleaning up their play style as the conference season begins. Southwest will finish the season facing Billings, Spokane, Purdy, Galena, Blue Eye, Sparta and Crane.

“The SouthWest Central League has some outstanding teams,” Roe said. “The top four teams only have three or four losses each, so it’s a stacked conference. We want to play at the speed we want, but also stay in control of ourselves.”

If Southwest won Tuesday, it plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Spokane. A loss sets up a 7:30 p.m. Friday contest. A Saturday game will round out the tournament.

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