Friday marked the toughest test of the season for the East Newton boys basketball team.
Not only did the Patriots find themselves on the road, but on the road against a proven, veteran Ash Grove team. That veteran presence proved a plus for the Pirates, as they downed the Patriots, 71-45.
After struggling in the first quarter and finding themselves trailing 16-4, the Patriots’ efficiency improves as the game progressed. They scored 12 points in the second, 11 in the third and 17 in the fourth. But the early hole was too much to climb out of facing the sharp-shooting Pirates.
“They’ve got five kids that can really shoot the ball,” Patriots coach Kyle Fields said. “They’re quick off the dribble … this is by far the best team we’ve faced to this point.
“I thought our kids played hard, kept fighting and didn’t quit. There’s still a lot of learning to be done.”
Bryce Zimmerman poured in 15 points for the Patriots while Colby Thomas added seven, Zack Deman eight, Rocky Liveoak four, Sam Swartz four, Aaron Millet five and Deion Clark two.
Blackwell paced Ash Grove with 17 while Allhands and Dollens each scored 12.
Ash Grove also won the junior varsity game, 56-33. Millet had nine points in that one to lead the Patriots.