Grit powers Titans in title contest

By Tim Hendershot sportsfan122774@yahoo.com
Posted 1/6/20

After starting their own holiday tournament with a win Dec. 27, the Tri-County Titans boys hoops team was back in Kansas Dec. 28 finishing off Pool A play looking to punch the ticket into the title …

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Grit powers Titans in title contest

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After starting their own holiday tournament with a win Dec. 27, the Tri-County Titans boys hoops team was back in Kansas Dec. 28 finishing off Pool A play looking to punch the ticket into the title game. After the long day of games concluded, the Titans had to dig deep to pull off the plays needed going 2-0 to win Pool A and advance to the championship game on Monday, Dec. 30.

Game one pitted two young, athletic teams as the Titans faced off against the Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg Hatchets with the winner getting a huge momentum shift

going into the final game of pool play. Tri-County used one of its main players to get the groove going in the first quarter as Mitch Pollock found driving lanes in the paint scoring eight of the Titans 18 points and Clayton Pardi used some muscle in the paint adding five. The Hatchets countered with 12 points for the quarter.

The second stanza saw Tri-County's second leading scorer go to work with Cole McClain getting good dribble penetration and scoring seven of the Titans’ 15 points, but fouling by Tri-County helped the Hatchets and the score was 33-32 going into the locker rooms at the half. 

Tri-County’s foul troubles continued in the third quarter and the Hatchets scored six of 11 at the free-throw line. The Titans had trouble finding the bottom of the hoop hitting only two field goals and six points, but still held a slim 39-33 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

The final quarter was a scoring frenzy as the Hatchets finished with 22 points in the frame, but the Titans answered that challenge tallying 20, including a late clutch free throw by Pollock to seal a 59-55 win.

The Titans were 22 of 50 overall for 44 percent and 9 of 15 from the charity stripe for 60 percent. Cole McClain led all scorers with 21 points and four assists and Mitch Pollock added 11 points and five rebounds. Jack Armstrong finished with a double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

The Hatchets were 18 of 51 overall for 35.3 percent and 16 of 30 from the line for 53.3 percent.   

Game two was the final game of the day with Tri-County taking on the Westville Tigers. The game started off slow as Westville grabbed a slim 14-13 lead after one quarter, but the Titans rallied back with a burst of scoring from both Mitch Pollock and Cole McClain combining for 12 of the Titans’ 17 points. That burst helped Tri-County grab a 30-25 lead heading into halftime.

Play in the third quarter was almost point for point as Westville continued to stay in the fight with help from Tri-County’s foul troubles. Six of the Tigers’ 12 points came at the free-throw line. Tri-County kept pace scoring 11 and held a slim 41-37 lead.

The final quarter saw the Titans finally wear down the Tigers physically and mentally getting a boost from Pollock and Payton Bell who combined for 14 of Tri-County's 23 points.  Westville ran out of gas scoring only eight and the Titans pulled away for a 64-45 win and admission to the title contest.

The Titans were 25 of 51 overall for 49 percent and 8 of 15 from the line for 53.3 percent. Mitch Pollock had 16 points and five rebounds, and Payton Bell added 11 points. CJ Eakle grabbed 10 rebounds and Kenzal Lloyd added eight rebounds and five steals in the win.

The Tigers were 19 of 43 overall for 44.2 percent and 7 of 13 from the line for 53.8 percent