The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 11, 2014

Neosho finds no answer for Chrisman's Ball

Neosho fought back from an early deficit for the second straight night but eventually fell to William Chrisman 71-57 Friday in the Kaminsky Classic at Young Gymnasium.

The Wildcats will take seventh place with a forfeit victory today over Vashon, which was unable to make the trip because of weather conditions in St. Louis.

Neosho was unable to find an answer against Alex Ball, a 6-foot-2 senior forward who led the Bears with 29 points.

“He was really feeling it,” said Chrisman head coach Chad Wright. “It’s good to come down here and learn a little bit about ourselves and play some different competition.”

Darrian Guillory led Neosho with 16 points and Lukas Werneke added 15 points. Both teams made 50 percent of their field-goal attempts, but the Wildcats committed 25 turnovers compared with 12 for Chrisman.

Ball sank two 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Bears pulled away to a 24-8 lead in the first seven minutes.

“We’ve struggled with that,” said Neosho head coach Jason Horn. “We talked to them before the game about being the aggressor. We regrouped and got a couple of quick baskets, but we have to stop digging ourselves a hole early.”

Neosho (4-9) narrowed the lead to 38-36 with a 10-2 run late in the first half, aided by two driving layups by Guillory and a basket by Caden Hendricks after a missed free throw. Chrisman led 40-36 at halftime.

“It was big,” Wright said of his team’s early run, “but it made us relax a little bit. We acted like we didn’t expect them to continue to play hard. We held them to 21 points in the second half. That’s what we should be doing night in and night out.”

The two teams traded baskets for most of the third quarter, but a 3-pointer off an in-bounds play by Hendricks brought Neosho to within 46-45 with 4:46 remaining.

From there, the Wildcats had just four field goals in the rest of the second half. Chrisman (5-4) switched to a full-court press defense at the beginning of the fourth quarter and outscored the Wildcats 19-5 in a six-minute span.

“We wanted to stay aggressive and go to the basket,” Horn said. “We had three point-blank looks to take the lead. We just got really discouraged at that point. I thought we handled it pretty well in the first half, but we got tired and got away from our fundamentals.”

Chrisman guards Brett Pendergist scored 16 points and Randall Horn had 14 points as the Bears advanced to the fifth-place game at 11 a.m. today against Francis Howell.

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