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Paola 64, Louisburg 52

PAOLA – Despite getting off to a good start, Friday’s game with Paola didn’t have the ending the Louisburg boys basketball team was looking for.

The Panthers scored 40 points in the second half and took advantage of some Wildcat miscues as they handed Louisburg a 64-52 loss at Paola High School in the final game of the regular season.

“It’s always tough to lose, because there’s been so much time and effort invested in preparing for it,” Louisburg coach Ty Pfannenstiel said. “Paola has some explosive athletes and they made some big plays down the stretch. Defensively, we were really good in the first half. We started the second half very poorly which gave Paola some confidence and momentum.”

Turnovers helped give Paola the momentum it was looking for as the Wildcats turned it over 18 times, which led to 17 points for the Panthers. It erased a good start for Louisburg.

The Wildcats (8-12) took a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter and held on to it as they led the Panthers 29-24 at halftime.

The second half wasn’t as kind to Louisburg as the Wildcats were outscored 15-6 in the third quarter and they weren’t able to regain the lead. Louisburg did put up 17 points in the final frame, and eventually cut Paola’s lead to 53-49, but it wasn’t enough as the Panthers pulled away – thanks in part to Paola’s 20-for-23 performance at the free-throw line.

“The turnovers hurt us,” Pfannenstiel said. “Turnovers are empty possessions. You aren’t going to win many games turning it over 18 times.  We have to do a better job of valuing each possession. Paola shot it a lot better in the second half, which gave them some extra energy.  We made a run there at the end, but couldn’t get over the hump.  It was a good high school basketball game.  We just have to make a few more plays to be able to win on the road.”

Junior Ben Guetterman led the Wildcats in scoring with a game-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers, and sophomore Julian Margrave also scored in double figures with 11. Senior Michael Waldron added eight, while junior Weston Guetterman had seven points and seven assists.

Paola had four players in double figures, including a team-high 17 points from Ryan Wokutch and 14 points from Trey Moala.

Louisburg will try and start fresh as the Wildcats earned the No. 10 seed in the Class 4A East playoffs and will travel to No. 7 Iola for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 2 Piper and No. 15 Atchison for the sub-state championship on Saturday.

“The postseason is always an amped up time,” Pfannenstiel said. “Your season is on the line. In the senior’s case, their high school career is on the line.  We have a great opportunity in front of us and it’s moments like these that motivate us to work so hard all year. Our kids will be ready.”

 

LOU               13           16           6             17 – 52

PAO               8             16           15           25 – 64

LOUISBURG (8-12): Ben Guetterman 8-14 2-3 22; Julian Margrave 3-7 4-4 11; Michael Waldron 3-6 0-0 8; Weston Guetterman 2-8 3-4 7; Garrett Rolofson 1-5 0-0 2; Charlie Peters 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 18-42 9-11 52. 3-point field goals: 7, (B. Guetterman 4, Waldron 2, Margrave)