Wildcats take hit from Blazers
Gardner-Edgerton used pressure defense to take De Soto out of its offense and then connected on 16-of-20 free throws in the second half, securing a 52-43 come-from-behind non-conference win Tuesday in Gardner.
The Trailblazers forced the Wildcats into 15 turnovers during the second and third period, overcoming De Soto's 19-16 halftime lead.
Gardner-Edgerton turned the momentum around by going on an 11-3 run, ending the third quarter up 29-28.
De Soto tied the game at 29-29 on Graham Power's free throw with 7:44 left in the game. But Jacob Nellor, who led all scorers with 15 points on the night, gave Gardner-Edgerton the lead for good 10 seconds later.
The Trailblazers upped their lead to a game high 48-37 with 1:47 remaining in the game on Geoff Thomas' layup following a turnover off the press. Of the home team's six field goals in the period, four of them were layups.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to 50-43 with 26 seconds remaining on Danny Brown's third three-pointer of the game.
De Soto looked as if it was prepared to take control of the game early on. After falling behind 4-0, the Wildcats took off on a 13-0 run that included five layups.
But Gardner-Edgerton put a halt to the run by getting a layup on an inbounds pass by Mikkel Kjelshus and a three-pointer by Nellor, closing the gap to 13-9 going into the second period.
De Soto was able to get off just four shots in the second period but held the Trailblazers to 15 percent shooting in the quarter, taking a three-point lead at halftime.
The Wildcats also limited their offense by committing eight turnovers in the second period.
Pete Crall scored inside in the first half, and then moved his game outside in the second half and led the Wildcats with 13 points.
Josh Arnold also scored in double figures for De Soto with 10 points and six rebounds on the night.
Jacob Nellor connected on all four of his free throw attempts in the final frame and led all scorers with 15 points, including eight points in the fourth period. He also pulled down nine rebounds for Gardner-Edgerton.
Aaron Ballew tallied 13 points and grabbed six rebounds, while senior Kyle Berg added eight points and three rebounds for Gardner-Edgerton.
De Soto shot a better percentage than Gardner-Edgerton, but attempted 14 fewer shots. The Wildcats made 15-of-36 (41.7 percent) attempts from the floor, while the Blazers connected on 16-of-50 (32 percent) tries from the floor.
Gardner-Edgerton was good on 19-of-25 (76 percent) shots at the free throw line. The Wildcats, meanwhile, ripped the cords to the tune of 56 percent (9-of-15) from the charity stripe.
De Soto out-rebounded the Blazers 33-30.
The 2-9 Wildcats travel to Piper Friday for a clash of Kaw Valley foes. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.