Boys basketball finishes fourth at state tournament

Despite closing the gap to three points in the final quarter, the Jags lose to the Pittsburg Dragons 58-56

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  • Following a shot by Pittsburg, freshman Keeshawn Mason tries to get the rebound.

  • With his arms up, senior Brody Flaming attempts to block a Pittsburg pass.

  • After coming off the court, junior Logan Talley high-fives seniors Brody Flaming and Ben Weigel.

  • Focused on maintaining possession of the ball, freshman Keeshawn Mason prepares to take a shot.

  • Looking for an open teammate to pass to, senior Ike Valencia keeps the ball away from a Pittsburg defender.

  • During a timeout, freshman Leif Campbell and senior Landon Butler dance along with the rest of the drumline.

  • Dribbling down the court, senior Cooper Kaifes prepares to pass to a teammate.

  • With his eyes on his opponents, junior Matty Wittenauer prepares to move to the basket to take a shot.

  • After receiving the ball at the top of the key, senior Ike Valencia dribbles to the free throw line and pulls up for a jump shot.

  • Following a missed shot, freshman Keeshawn Mason competes against two Pittsburg players for the loose ball.

  • Passing his defenders, junior Logan Talley shoots a layup.

  • With a Pittsburg player making a break for the basket, senior Ike Vlaencia attempts to move in front of his opponent.

  • After running into two defenders, senior Cooper Kaifes quickly throws the ball to a teammate to avoid a steal.

  • Surrounded by defenders, freshman Keeshawn Mason shoots the ball after an offensive rebound.

  • While dribbling along the baseline, junior Matty Wittenaur jumps to pass in order to avoid going out a bounds.

  • After dribbling toward the baseline, senior Mason Little picks the ball up to pass to a teammate.

  • Trying to cut in Pittsburg’s lead, senior Cooper Kaifes dribbles down the lane and shoots a layup.

  • After grabbing an offensive rebound, senior Sammy Rebeck dribbles away from his defender to find an open teammate.

  • During the fourth quarter, head coach Michael Bennet gestures toward the team.

  • Looking past his opponent, freshman Keeshawn Mason tries to pass the ball to an open teammate.

  • Focusing on the ball, senior Mason Little moves past a Pittsburgh defender.

  • Holding his arm out, junior Logan Talley advances the ball toward the goal.

  • Gaining possession of the ball, senior Brody Flaming looks to score.

  • As Pittsburg opponents close in, senior Ike Valencia looks for a hole in their defense.

  • Attempting to score, senior Sammy Rebeck shoots the ball.

  • During the first quarter, senior Cooper Kaifes dribbles the ball down the court.

  • After dribbling the ball down the court, senior Copper Kaifes approaches a defender.

  • Watching the ball, senior Sammy Rebeck plays defense.

  • Sicking one arm out, junior Logan Talley dribbles by a defender.

  • After being fouled, senior Copper Kafies shoots a free-throw.

  • Going past the defender, junior Logan Talley dribbles the ball.

  • After a free-throw, freshman Keeshawn Mason gets the rebound.

  • After receiving the ball, junior Matty Wittenauer shoots a three pointer.

  • After driving past the defense freshman Keeshawn Mason try's for a lay up.

  • Guarding the ball, senior Sammy Rebeck plays defense.

  • After the game, head coach Mike Bennett presents senior Sammy Rebeck with his fourth place medal.

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The boys basketball team lost to the Pittsburg Purple Dragons, 58-56 ,in the third place game of the state tournament on Saturday, March 10. The Jags finished the season 12-13.

The Purple Dragons started off the first quarter on a 10-0 run. The Jaguars fought back with baskets from seniors Ike Valencia, Cooper Kaifes and Sammy Rebeck as well as freshman Keeshawn Mason to get within four. However, Pittsburg was able to expand on its lead to 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.

According to head coach Michael Bennett, the early scoring by Pittsburg lead to the team having to exert more energy on already “tired legs” after playing their third game in four days.

“It just put us in a hole early and that was the hardest thing because you’ve got to exert more energy,” Bennett said. “So we had to exert energy to try to fight back and in the end we ran out of energy, out of time. So maybe it affected us in the end.”

The second quarter was back and forth. The Jaguars were able to keep the game close with three three-pointers by Kaifes. The Jaguars went into halftime trailing 31-24.

The Jaguars came out strong in the third quarter with five consecutive points, and were able to get within five. But a 11-4 run gave the Purple Dragons a 47-35 lead.

Senior Brody Flaming believes that although the team had opportunities to get back in the game, Pittsburg would find a way to regain control.

“We’d score and something would happen and they would get an easy bucket,” Flaming said. “It just kind of killed us.”

The Jaguars started off the fourth quarter strong with six straight points, as well as blocks by Mason and Valencia. They were able to get within two points three times in the fourth quarter, but Pittsburg had a answer each time. The final score was 58-56.

Bennett believes that the team was not able to perform well enough at the end of the game to catch up to Pittsburg.

“You’ve got to execute at the end and we didn’t necessarily do that,” Bennett said. “We had our opportunities but we didn’t necessarily execute to finally close the gap.”

Overall, Flaming believes that the season went better than many people expected.

“I think we proved a lot of people wrong. We definitely did a lot of things that a lot of people weren’t expecting,” Flaming said. “I think we surprised a lot of people. We may have even surprised ourselves a little bit that we made it to the state tournament and even made it past the first round. So I’m really proud of all of my boys and really excited to see what they can do next year.”

Bennett agreed, adding that he was proud of the fight that the team has shown throughout the season.

“Our kids fought. That’s what I told them. We could’ve shut up and closed it up early many times in the season and during this game and they didn’t,” Bennett said. “They fought until the end. I was really proud of their effort today and through the whole season.”

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