Cats make second-half comeback
Danny Brown had plenty of time to ponder just how he was going to help De Soto blast by Kaw Valley League foe Perry-Lecompton during Friday's 57-48 win.
The extra time on the bench because of first-half foul trouble made him realize just what he wanted to prove to the basketball world.
"I wanted to come out and show what I could do as a player," Brown said after he scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the third period. "But I also wanted to come out and show what we could do as a team."
In the first half, Brown was very much uninvolved in the game and scored a mere two points. The third period was a different story.
The junior guard single-handedly turned the Wildcats' one-point halftime deficit into a two-point lead when he buried a three-pointer less than a minute into the second half. He then finished off Hunter Noe's pass with a lay-up for a 28-26 Wildcat lead.
Then after the Kaws' leading-scorer Spencer Kennedy grabbed an offensive rebound and found the bottom of the net with a putback, Brown took charge.
With De Soto leading 38-34, the 6-foot 3-inch guard tallied the final 11 points of the frame, giving his team an insurmountable 15-point lead. He drilled four threes during the first eight minutes of the second half as the Wildcats outscored Perry-Lecompton 26-10 in the frame.
"I was just in the moment," he said. "I was living in the moment. I felt like I couldn't miss."
When Brown wasn't hitting his shot throughout the middle portion of the period, Noe was getting easy baskets off pinpoint-accurate passes from his teammates. Noe, who was scoreless in the first half, scored eight of his 12 points during the opening eight minutes of the second half. Brown, Chris Poelt and Graham Power all had assists during that stretch.
Another reason for the Wildcats' success was their ability to slow down Perry-Lecompton's Kennedy.
De Soto held the senior scoreless in the first period and allowed him to score just four points in the first half on a field goal and two free throws.
"We knew we had to slow him down," De Soto coach Jason Generally said of the 6-6 all conference player. "So we put Ryan (Brown) on him. He's not real tall (6-1), but he's an excellent post defender. He also had a lot of help from his teammates."
Danny Brown was even more specific about how the Wildcats slowed the always-dangerous Kennedy.
"He is just a great athlete," he said. "Our goal was to swarm around on defense and swarm to the post even when they just looked at him. We had to collapse in on him in order to keep him out of the game."
The first half was a see-saw battle as neither team could gain a lead bigger than Perry-Lecompton's 23-19 edge late in the half. There were five lead changes and five ties in the game's first 16 minutes.
The Kaws were able to cut their third period deficit to 55-48 late in the game on a pair of layups by Drew Robbins and Drew Tucker. But that was as close as they would get.
After connecting on just two of nine shots in the first period, the Wildcats scorched the nets on 20-of-34 (58.8 percent) shooting from the floor over the final three frames. De Soto shot better than 51 percent for the game.
The Kaws connected on just five-of-18 field goals in the decisive third period and finished the game 18 of 44 for 41 percent.
Perry-Lecompton had a slight 28-27 edge on the boards. The Kaws committed just 17 turnovers compared to 19 for De Soto.
Both teams were mediocre from the free throw line. Perry made just 10 of 19 (52.6 percent) shots, while the Wildcats connected on nine of 16 (56.3 percent) tries.
Besides Brown and Noe's double-digit scoring, Josh Arnold totaled nine points, while Ryan Brown added seven.
Ryan Guffey and Drew Tucker gave Kennedy scoring support by tallying 10 and eight points, respectively, for the Kaws. Drew Robbins and Willie Treaster added to the balanced scoring attack with seven points apiece.
The Wildcats head into the winter break with a 3-1 record. They return to action Jan. 6 at Tonganoxie .
De Soto 57,
DHS 9 15 26 8 -- 57
PLHS 9 15 10 14 -- 48
De Soto: Josh Arnold 9, Hunter Noe 14, Danny Brown 18, Graham Power 5, Ryan Brown 7, Chris Poelt 2, Taylor Burnett 2.
Perry-Lecompton: Ross 3, Stoughton 2, Kopp 11, Bowman 13, Scribner 1, Eichun 4, Eldridge 8, Pruitt 2.