By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
STAFFORD – It was not the way you want to end a season, but the Elyria Christian boys closed out their 2021-22 season with a two-point, 41-39, heartbreaking loss to Pawnee Heights in Stafford on Thursday during their Class 1A Division II sub-state tournament.
With the loss, the Eagles close out the season at 14-7.
“Anytime you lose at the end of the season it’s never a good feeling,” pointed out Eagle head coach Zach Goodrich. “I do believe we took a step in the right direction with this group. We asked a lot of our freshman and one sophomore that played major roles for this team. Our upperclassman consistently gave their best effort and made plays for us down the stretch.”
Pawnee Heights took an early six-point, 11-5 lead at the end of the first quarter before the Eagles erupted for 25 points in the second quarter to take an eight-point, 30-22, lead themselves heading to the halftime break.
Coming out of the intermission, Elyria went stone cold on offense and scored just two points in the third quarter, giving Pawnee Heights the opportunity to tie the game at 32-32 heading into the final eight minutes of play where they then nipped the Eagles by the final two-point margin.
Coach Goodrich continued by saying, “We had a slow start and got down early in the first, then we settle in during the second quarter where we were more of who we had been early in the season. We were offensively efficient in moving the ball and finding open shooters. Going into the half with a 30-22 lead, we felt good how we managed the slow start, but then Pawnee Heights went man and started pressuring us a little more after the intermission. The outside shots did not fall, and we did not get enough attacks to the basket. They did a good job of making us take contested three-pointers and put pressure on us at the rim. We had an opportunity at the end and needed one more defensive stop to extend our season.”
Pawnee Heights shot 53% from the field to Elyria just connecting on 32% including three starters that made just one-of-fourteen shots in the game.
Ty Romero had a huge game offensively as he drilled six three-pointers and led the Eagles with 22 points while Keyan Wiggers recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Concluding his post-game reflections, Coach Goodrich added, “Ty (Romero) was due and was a force down the stretch while Keyan (Wiggers) dominated the paint in the first half, scoring around the basket and snatching every rebound near him. The ball did not bounce our way at the end, but I was proud of the performance the boys put together. I will miss this senior class. It was a good season and one we will learn from.”
SCORING: 1 2 3 4 FINAL
EAGLES 5 25 2 7 39
Pawnee Hgts. 11 11 10 9 41
Pawnee Heights Team Stats: FG 17/32; 3-PTR 1/9; FT 6/10; AST 11; REB 22; TO 10; STLS 4; BLK 2; PF 6.
ELYRIA CHRISTIAN EAGLES TEAM STATS: FG 15/46; 3-PTR 7/34; FT 2/2; AST 10; REBS 25; TO 12; STLS 5; BLK 2; PF 16.
ELYRIA CHRISTIAN EAGLE INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring (39 total points): Ty Romero – 22; Keyan Wiggers – 10; Caleb Laney – 3; Landon Schneider – 2; Andrew Huxman – 2. 3-Pointers Made (7): Romero – 6; Laney – 1. Assists: Johnny Unruh, Ben Unruh – 4. Rebounds: Wiggers – 12; Josh Allen, Dominick Lundberg – 3. Steals: Huxman – 2. Blocked Shots: Wiggers, Lundberg – 1.