Pirates claim Spokane Tournament title with strong showing

Michael L. Misfeldt

Ash Grove sophomore Brady Nicholson poses with his team’s first place trophy and his MVP plaque after their impressive run through last week’s Spokane Tournament.

Nicholson tallies 71 points in three games, named tournament MVP
The Ash Grove High School boys’ basketball team continues to rack up wins, as they traveled to Spokane last week and came home with the tournament championship.
    The Pirates took on Blue Eye in the championship game on Saturday, Jan. 22, and despite falling behind early, came away with the 68-52 win.
    Ash Grove trailed 15-12 after the first quarter, but that would be it as they outscored Blue Eye, 20-14 in the second quarter to take a 32-29 lead into the half. The Pirates added another 15 points in the third quarter to increase their lead to 47-40, before breaking out for 21 points in the fourth quarter, to take the game by 16 points.
     "This game was a battle,” said head coach Grant Williamson. “It was back and forth almost the whole way. We went on a little spurt early in the fourth and separated enough to be able to put the game away. I'm incredibly proud of these young men. They battled through some adversity all week and did it without any complaints. They showed some real grit to bring home this championship."
    Brady Nicholson led the way with 24 points, Sam Moreland added 17 points and Brock Mooneyham ended the game with 10 points.
    Ash Grove played against Reeds Springs in the semifinal game on Thursday, Jan. 20 and ran away with a 50-39 win.
    The Pirates led 16-10 after the first quarter but Reeds Springs outscored Ash Grove 10-2 in the second quarter to go into the half with a 20-18 lead. The Pirates answered back in the third quarter, outscoring Reeds Springs, 15-5 to take a 33-25 lead into the final quarter of play. Reeds Springs scored 14 points in the final quarter, but it was not enough as the Pirates put up 17 points to win the game by 11 points.
    "I'm really proud of our guys. They have battled through some adversity this week and have kept their nose to the grindstone without complaining or feeling sorry for themselves. This game was full of big, strong athletes and our guys played with grit to come out with a win."
    Nicholson paced the Pirates with 23 points.
    In the opener, Ash Grove played Bradleyville Monday, Jan. 17, and was able to get an easy 75-49 win.    
    The Pirates jumped out with big offense, leading 50-30 at the half. It was all about defense in the second half, as the Pirates allowed just 19 points to roll to the 26-point victory.
    "Our guys all executed well on both ends of the floor,” said Williamson. “It was a good way to take care of business in the first round of a tournament and advance to the winners’ side."
    Nicholson once again led the way with 24 points, Moreland added 19 points and Nate Trammell had 12 points in the win.
    Mooneyham, Moreland and Nicholson were named to the all-tournament team, with Nicholson being named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
    Ash Grove is now 15-3 on the season and were scheduled to travel to Lockwood on Monday before hosting Pierce City on Friday night.



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