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Boys basketball defeats Wichita South, heads to state semifinals

The boys varsity basketball team defeated seventh-seeded Wichita South High School 70-51 in the State quarterfinal game, advancing to the semifinal game tomorrow against Shawnee Mission North.

Laney Breidenthal, Print Editor

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googlecc7702d172e476e1-1Led by a balanced scoring attack, the boys varsity basketball team defeated Wichita South High School, 70-51, in the State quarterfinal game. The game was played at the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita.

BVNW will play Shawnee Mission North in the State semifinal game tomorrow at 8:15 p.m.

In the first quarter, sophomore Joe Pleasant led both teams with eight points, helping BVNW to a 15-10 lead. BVNW went four of five at the free throw line.

“Our goal was to go inside; they didn’t have a lot of height,” head coach Ed Fritz said. “We wanted to get Joe Pleasant going, and we did that OK in the first half. We shot 17 foul shots in the first half…and that was a huge advantage.”

In the second quarter, BVNW continued to push the ball toward the hoop and draw fouls. The team went eight of 20 from the field (40 percent) in the first half and 12 of 17 at the line (70.6 percent). At the end of the first half, BVNW led WSHS, 29-16.

“We’ve played all year with [a young team], so we should have the experience by the end of the year,” Fritz said. “We have high expectations, which is a good thing. Sometimes, we get a little out of control. But for the most part, they tried to do what we asked them to do.”

In the third quarter, BVNW kept their lead despite WSHS coming out with more energy after halftime. The Titans hit six of their first seven shots to reduce BVNW’s lead to nine points. BVNW quickly hit a variety of shots to take control of the game at the end of the quarter, which ended with BVNW leading 51-35.

“There’s a trust we have because when we’ve [advanced to State] in the past, we’ve done pretty well,” Fritz said. “So the guys have been experiencing the same thing we’ve experienced before, and that’s a little bit of pressure. You want to be playing your best basketball by the end of the year, which I think we might be doing right now.”

In the fourth quarter, sophomore Sam Ward hit a three-pointer from the left baseline. Junior Darien Jackson followed a missed layup with a slam dunk, which extended BVNW’s lead to 21 points. With 3:26 left in the game, Ward threw a feathery lob pass to Jackson for another dunk. This pushed the lead to 22 points, which was BVNW’s largest lead of the game. BVNW shut down WSHS, defeating them with a final score of 70-51.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime; it’s a blessing to be here,” Pleasant said. Pleasant led all BVNW scorers with 16 points. “(The biggest challenge will be) playing together and keeping the enthusiasm. As soon as we get here, it’s all about will. We just have to keep the energy up, keep the passion, stick together.”

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Boys basketball defeats Wichita South, heads to state semifinals