Purdy, Verona to meet for title

Saturday, December 2, 2017
Purdy’s Tyler Keeler battles Billings’ Luke Johnson for a loose ball during the Eagles’ semifinal win on Thursday in the Pierce City Invitational. Jared Lankford/sports@monett-times.com

Keeling sets tourney record in latest win

It will be an All-Ozark 7 Conference battle for the Pierce City Invitational crown on Saturday as Purdy, thanks to a 63-55 win over Billings, faces Verona.

“Right now, we are focused on Verona and what we can control,” said Jeremy Dresslaer, Eagles coach. “If we play our game and play to our best ability, we will live with the results.”

On Thursday, Purdy overcame a sluggish start, mental lapses and a 12-point deficit to get past Billings.

“I feel like we are a complete team,” Dresslaer said. “What we lack in overall size we make up for in playmaking ability. I think we had a lack of focus tonight, and luckily, we have a good learning point after a win. Hopefully we see that we have to be locked in from the tip and can’t feel our way through games.”

Billings led 30-21 at halftime and 35-25 in the middle of the third quarter when the game changed.

Senior Joby Young scored eight consecutive points and Colt Keeling recorded another basket to tie the game at 35-35 and put the Wildcats on their heels.

“Guys like Joby and Ky Propps, that’s their job,” Dresslaer said. “I felt comfortable with eight or nine guys on our roster. Joby stepped up and made shots tonight and showed why I like him on this team.”

Keeling set a Pierce City Invitational record, going 21-for-21 at the free throw line and smashing the record of 14 made free throws in a tourney game set back in 2007.

Scoring for the Eagles: Keeling, 30; Tyler Keeler, 12; Hunter Cook and Young, 8 each; and Propps, 5.

Scoring for the Wildcats: Luke Johnson, 20; Bobby Brown, 14; Grant Grove, 8; Tyler Essick, 6; Colton Plowman, 5; and Braden Ray, 2.

Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

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