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Huskies win Border Classic, 68-41, over Pittsburg High

The varsity basketball team moved to 7-4 on the season as they picked up a 68-41 win over Pittsburg High School in the championship game of the 2018 Border Classic. Junior guard Christian Braun scored 27 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the win.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-chief

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PITTSBURG, Kan. – Saturday afternoon junior guard Christian Braun and the Huskies found themselves in the midst of a rowdy Pittsburg High School crowd. The Purple Dragon student section was all over the Huskies for much of the first quarter but Braun and the Huskies did their part to help silence the crowd.

On the first possession of the game, Braun drove past his defender and scored an easy layup to give the Huskies a quick 2-0 lead just 18 seconds into the game. After a couple empty trips up and down the floor for the Huskies and Purple Dragons, Braun got the ball out in transition and hammered down a one-handed slam with 6:37 left in the first quarter to make it a 4-0 lead.

After those two easy buckets for Braun early on, the teams went back-and-forth throughout the first quarter until senior forward Joe Pleasant left the game with an apparent foot injury with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter. In the dying seconds of the first quarter, Braun found himself with the ball just inside half court. The Huskies junior guard got his feet set and threw up a heave towards the basket. When it fell, Braun’s heave found the bottom of the net, quieting the Purple Dragon student section, and giving the Huskies a 20-10 lead.

“I do not practice [halfcourt shots], but sometimes me and Sam at the end of practice will throw some up,” Braun said.

That 3-point heave seemed to serve as a heat check for Braun as he would open the second quarter with a step-back 3-pointer. With 4:49 the 6-foot-5 junior drove baseline and skied for another one-handed jam which gave the Huskies a 32-15 lead, and brought the entire Northwest bench to their feet.

By the time the first half had concluded, thanks to a personal 8-0 run by Braun, the Huskies held a 45-25 lead, and Braun held a career-high 20 points. Braun said he shot the ball as well as he ever had before in his first half.

“We were moving really well at the start,” Braun said.

“Not really [shot the ball] better than that. The first half I felt really good especially when that one at the end of the quarter went in.”

Head coach Ed Fritz said it was good to see Braun take control of the game, something the Huskies have tried to do over the past couple of games.

“He’s starting to shoot the ball a little more and we’ve kind of made some changes to try to get the ball in his hands a little more and he’s accepted that responsibility so that’s really helped,” Fritz said. “Defensively, he’s still got a long ways to go and if you think– he’s got 27 points tonight and I can think of four or five plays that would’ve put him way over 30.”

In the second half it was more of the same for the Huskies, but, senior guard Sam Ward was the backcourt member of the Huskies who went for double-digits in the half. Ward, who scored 8 first half points and 10 in the second half, went 3-for-6 from behind the arc for the game.

“It’s all fun. I don’t notice when me and [Christian] are going back-and-forth at times,” Ward said, “but, when it does happen it’s really fun because it brings out the energy, and then when we get more guys involved it just makes it a whole bunch of fun.”

Braun would score seven second half points to finish with a career-high 27 points, as the Huskies would go on to defeat the Purple Dragons, 68-41, to win the Border Classic. With the win, the Huskies move to 7-4.

In their next game, Blue Valley Northwest goes up against Kansas City East Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. as Ed Fritz goes for his 600th career coaching victory. After getting through nonconference play, Fritz said the Huskies should be prepared for EKL play.

“With our schedule we could have won those four games that we lost,” Fritz said, “but, we’re in good position so we just gotta continue to get better. Now, I think we’re as ready as anybody for conference play because of our schedule.”

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Huskies win Border Classic, 68-41, over Pittsburg High