PITTSBURG — Missed shots by both the Kiowa Cowboys and Pittsburg Panthers kept Tuesday’s game close at halftime.
The second half belonged to Kiowa.
The Cowboys outscored the Panthers by 18 in the second half, allowing Kiowa to get the 61-39 win Tuesday at a packed Dee Foster Gymnasium in Pittsburg.
“We got to where we were attacking the basket a lot more,” Kiowa coach Keith Quaid said. “When we get some easy looks around the basket, then that just makes us relax a little more on the perimeter.”
Through the first half the Cowboys settled for far too many jump shots, pulling up at the high post instead of trying to drive inside. Though Kiowa’s first two baskets in the third quarter came on 3-pointers by Shay Calvert, other guards driving all the way to the basket opened up those shots.
“We came to the game unfocused and really unprepared,” Calvert said.
“We really just lost focus, and we had to get back, just fight back into it and get right back into where we need to be.”
Calvert scored 13 for the Cowboys. His second 3-pointer put Kiowa up 30-20, and though Kyle Shields quickly answered with a 3-pointer for Pittsburg, the Panthers missed their next shot, the Cowboys went on a fastbreak and Caden Shores found Tristian McMath for a layup and a 32-23 Kiowa lead.
Just like its offense, Kiowa’s defense improved considerably in the third quarter. As soon as a Pittsburg guard crossed the halfcourt line, at least one Cowboy swarmed in and began pressuring the ball, leading to multiple turnovers.
Following one such turnover, Calvert found center Brice Smith for a jumper and a 34-23 Kiowa lead. Kiowa then picked off a pass on Pittsburg’s next possession, and Calvert got it to Clay Doyle for the fastbreak score and a 36-23 lead.