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  • Val T.

Rossville holds off McKaig’s 4th quarter rally, beats Pioneer for 7th place at Kitchen Classic


Sports Editor, RTC

Pioneer’s Drew McKaig received an Indiana Kitchen Classic Sportsmanship Award following a 56-52 loss to Rossville in the seventh-place game at the Delphi Elementary Gym on Dec. 23. McKaig scored 26 points in the loss. He is pictured here with the game officials and fellow all-tournament team pick Charlie Thompson of Rossville.

DELPHI — Drew McKaig scored a game-high 26 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, but the Pioneer boys basketball team lost to Rossville 56-52 in the seventh-place game at the Delphi Elementary Gym on Dec. 23.

Noah Miller hit four 3-pointers and added 12 points for the Panthers, who fell to 2-7.

Charlie Thompson was Rossville’s only double figure scorer with 10. Caden Wilson scored seven of his eight points in the fourth quarter.

McKaig and Thompson were later named to the all-tournament team.

Rossville (5-6) was playing approximately 16 hours after falling to Winamac in the consolation round the previous night, and coach Cory Dunn frequently substituted all five players in and out approximately every four minutes in the first half and continued to substitute liberally in the second half. All 10 players who played scored, and six of them hit at least one 3-pointer.

“It’s hard for us to defend in general, and this wasn’t a team we had a chance to look a lot at because we didn’t know who we were going to play until late last night,” Pioneer coach Darren McKaig said. “And I looked at them a little earlier, but they just got the (Jordan) Skiles kid back. … He is somebody I had only seen from last night’s game. So we knew he was a good player.

“Our guys can defend better. We can play better. We’ve got a lot of sickness going through them, and they seemed a little dead until the end of the game. And then they turned it on. It’s really kind of confusing right now.”

But none of them could stop McKaig in a dynamic fourth quarter, who had a layup, two free throws and two gargantuan 3-pointers in the final minute as Pioneer closed the game on a 13-2 run after trailing by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter.

“He didn’t seem as sharp tonight to start the game,” coach McKaig said. “He was shooting some weird shots, some windmill-type shots that weren’t going in. Then when he just simplified things in the second half, then he started to do a lot better. But I wish he would do that to start the game.”

Miller also aided in the rally with two fourth-quarter long balls.

Rossville never trailed after going on an 8-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-6 lead.

Pioneer would tie it at 14 on Miller’s 3-pointer 33 seconds into the second quarter, and they would tie it again at 18 on Micah Rans’ right baseline driving layup and a Drew McKaig transition bucket off a Brayden Erickson assist.

But Thompson hit a 12-foot banker to put the Hornets back ahead. A Brayden Woollen layup and a Thompson putback pushed the lead to five.

Pioneer trailed 30-22 in the third quarter a 3-pointer from freshman Brayden Thiele-Hahn, but McKaig put back his own miss and scored again on a breakout. When Rylahn Toloza drove hard for a left-handed finish at the rim, the lead was down to two, but Cooper Dunn and Woollen hit 3s sandwiched around a Nolan Britt runner as the lead reached 38-28.

Rossville had another 10-0 run in the fourth quarter as the lead sprouted to 52-37.

“It’s a lot of little things,” coach McKaig said. “We miss a block-out. We don’t get a rebound. They put it back in. We try to drive one-on-two or one-on-three, and we turn it over. We had several guys out sick, so they weren’t at practice the last couple days, so they didn’t even get to review all of our plays and stuff, so we had trouble running plays. It’s a lot of little things.”

Frankfort defeated North Newton 67-49 later on Dec. 23 to win the tournament title for the second straight year.

Rossville 56, Pioneer 52

PIONEER (52) (2-7)

Micah Rans 1 1-2 3, Drew McKaig 10 4-7 26, Brayden Erickson 1 1-2 3, Noah Miller 4 0-0 12, Lucas Perry 0 0-0 0, Luke Blackman 1 0-0 2, Rylahn Toloza 3 0-0 6

TEAM: 20 6-11 52

ROSSVILLE (56) (5-6)

Caden Wilson 3 1-4 8, Charlie Thompson 4 2-2 10, Jordan Skiles 1 1-2 4, Brayden Thiele-Hahn 3 0-2 7, Brody Skinner 1 1-2 3, Cooper Dunn 1 0-0 3, Levi Darnell 2 2-2 6, Lukas Saylor 2 0-0 6, Brayden Woollen 3 0-1 7, Nolan Britt 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 21 7-15 56

Three-point field goals:

Pioneer 6 (Miller 4, McKaig 2),

Rossville 7 (Saylor 2, Woollen, Thiele-Hahn, Wilson, Skiles, Dunn)

Total fouls: Pioneer 16, Rossville 8

Turnovers: Pioneer 11, Rossville 8

Score by quarters

Pioneer 11 11 10 20 52

Rossville 14 13 11 18 56

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