Ash Grove Pirates finish third in Morrisville Tournament

Michael L. Misfeldt

Ash Grove’s Kyler Reece prepares to make his move on the Stockton defender in the third place game of the Morrisville Tournament, Saturday.

Pirate point guard Asher Rust signals the offense while bringing the ball down the court. (Photos by Ethan Gray)

Nicholson averages 24 points per game in tournament, he and Rust named all-tourney
The Ash Grove boys’ basketball team traveled to Morrisville to take part in the 52nd Annual Morrisville Tournament, last week and came home with a third-place finish.
In the third-place contest on Saturday, Dec. 2, the Pirates, who were the No. 1 seed, knocked off Stockton 57-38, behind 22 points from senior Brady Nicholson.
After a slow first quarter, in which Ash Grove led 8-6, the Pirates scored 18 points in the second quarter, while allowing seven points to take a 26-13 halftime lead. Ash Grove added another 14 points in the third quarter and 17 points in the fourth quarter to win the game by 19 points. Pirate Asher Rust added 19 points in the effort. Nicholson and Rust were both eventually named to the all-tournament team.
“Our guys really executed the defensive game plan in this one,” said Ash Grove head coach Grant Williamson. “We held their two leading scorers to a combined 15 points which really allowed us to build a lead and keep it. Third place wasn’t our goal for the tournament, but our guys competed and are continuing to improve each day.”
In the semifinal game against Pleasant Hope, on Friday, Dec. 1, the Pirates fell behind 22-8 after the first quarter and had to battle back the rest of the game. Ash Grove outscored Pleasant Hope in the second quarter, 16-10 to go into the half trailing, 32-24. In the third quarter, the Eagles put up 17 points to increase their lead to 49-37. Ash Grove played good defense in the fourth quarter, allowing just nine points, while scoring 19 points but it was just a little bit short, as the Pirates fell 58-56.
“We really struggled to make shots in this game and kind of dug ourselves into a big hole early,” said Williamson. “Our guys battled tough and gave themselves a chance at the end despite the struggles, which I’m proud of.”
Nicholson led the Pirates with 27 points and Bryce Davis added 15 points in the loss.
Ash Grove opened up the tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 28, with a 74-30 victory over Greenfield.
The Pirates scored 25 points in the first quarter and 21 points in the second quarter to go into the half with a 46-17 lead. Ash Grove added another 28 points in the second half to cruise to the 44-point victory.
“Our guys did what they needed to and took care of business in the first round,” said Williamson. “This gives us a chance to advance to the winner’s side of the tournament and compete against some good teams.”
Nicholson paced Ash Grove with 24 points, Davis added 16 points, Rust had 13 points and Colin Denney finished with 10 points.
The Pirates are now 3-1 on the season and were scheduled to host Spokane last night and Greenfield on Friday night.


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