Playing in big events brings out the best in some varsity boys basketball teams and the worst in others.
On Saturday in the Gary Filbert Classic at Mexico High School the circumstances forced North Callaway to rise to the occasion while Paris' had a different reaction. Depending on what side of the situation your on, the reason that's either a horrible coincidence or an awesome turn of events is that these two teams played one another in the second contest of this six-game extravaganza.
The end result for the Thunderbirds were leads of 26-2 at the end of the first quarter and 41-14 at the break on the way to downing the Coyotes 66-25.
"We came out and tried to press them a bit early. Paris is a young team. That was us last year," said North Callaway coach Matthias Miller. "We didn't know how well they could handle the ball since they're playing some young guys. We thought we could speed them up and jump on them early that way."
Even though not much went right for Paris in this game, one issue working against it was the fact it got outscored in every quarter. This includes 15-12 in the second, 18-7 in the third and 7-4 in the fourth, marks the Thunderbirds met thanks, in part, to Khobi Kellerman and Gabe Cash posting 12 points each.
"Cash played with a lot of confidence in this game and we needed that. I told him before tipoff to be aggressive. I felt like the past week or two he hasn't been as aggressive as he has been and is capable of being when it comes to driving to the basket and breaking people down," Miller said. "Cash also has a good jump shot and he was taking it when he was open, so he was extremely aggressive today. Good for him to play with so much confidence."
The Coyotes weren't without their charms in this contest, though, as Konnor Heitmeyer charted seven of his 14 points for the game in the second. Amongst those makes was a field goal and five free throws on six attempts for the junior, all of which came after a hoop by Zack Rentschler and a three-pointer from Chris Ebbesmeyer.
"Our mindset was different today than it has been during other games this season. Physically we can compete with anybody. Sometimes mentally young guys have to learn how to handle adversity and we've been talking about that," said Miller. "We had a really tough loss (Friday at Community R-6). We bounced back today and the boys were in great spirits when they showed up. I could tell as soon as I saw them it was going to be a good day. They're a pretty resilient bunch of kids."
North Callaway is now 2-6 overall despite also getting 16 points from Dawson Wright and four assists and five steals from Coy Danison. Currently the squad is in the middle of playing four games in five days that began last Friday at CR-6 and concludes with contests on Monday and Tuesday after taking Sunday off.
Paris is 1-7 overall.