(Tribune file photo)
With still just five men dressed, the Greyhounds didn't come out with an offense that sat back and milked the shot clock nor with a defense that sat back in a zone and waited for things to happen. They attacked on offense and flew around the court on defense
And though in the end, Labette won this Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division contest, 85-66, the 'Hounds are playing perhaps better than they did when they had a full roster.
"We know how each other plays and we're playing together," sophomore forward Teance Walton said. "We're knocking down shots, passing the ball well and playing great (defense). And we're playing with heart."
The 'Hounds (1-8 East, 2-19 overall) scored 10 in a row to take a 10-4 lead after three minutes of play. They made 9 of their first 10 shots from the field and were up 23-10 with 14:04 left in the half after Walton hit his second consecutive 3-point shot.
Fort Scott played a zone that chased the ball, rather than sitting back and hoping to make Labette (5-4, 15-6) miss. And the zone played well enough on the outside to hold the Cardinals to 2 of 14 from 3-point range for the evening.
"I'm never going to drop me head around these guys," Fort Scott head coach Michael Cook said. "We jumped out on them and shot the ball well -- probably the best we've shot it the entire year. And we moved the ball well. It was a joy to see the ball move like that."
Labette finally began to see the futility of shooting outside shots and began to push the ball inside, where it had the advantage. That allowed the Cardinals to creep back into the game, But even at that, they trailed the 'Hounds for nearly 16 minutes until Forward Vincent Cornu gave them a 36-34 lead with 2:01 left in the half.
Walton tied the score on a pair of free throws with 1:50 to go. Terry Webb put Labette back in front with a 3-point show with 1;18 left. Derrick Thomas tied the score again with a triple of his own with exactly one minute to go.
That was the halftime score: a 39-39 tie. Fort Scott cooled off from the field but was still making almost half its shots (15 of 31 field goals).
Labette scored the first 8 points of the second half and appeared to be finally taking control. However, that wasn't the case.
Thomas hit back-to-back 3-pointers to gave Fort Scott a 57-55 lead with exactly 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Cardinals went on to score 18 of the next 19 points over the next 6 minutes to go up 73-58.
Labette showed some sportsmanship, taking the ball out and working the clock in the last five minutes.
Thomas led the 'Hounds with 22 points while Walton connected on 5 of 7 3-point shots and finished with 21. Julian Mills added 14 points and handed out 7 assists.
Cornu and Wendell Lee scored 17 points each for Labette. Vic Adams finished with 16 points and Dre Conner chipped in with 12.
The Greyhounds begin the second time through the conference schedule Saturday at Cowley. Game time is 7 p.m. in Arkansas City.
LABETTE: Conner 5-14 2-3 12, Hatchett 0-2 0-0 0, Lee 8-11 1-3 17, Cornu 8-10 1-1 17, Hosey 3-5 1-2 7, Adams 7-19 1-2 16, Webb 2-5 0-0 5, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Lafayette 1-2 0-0 2, Davis 3-4 1-2 7, Pledger 1-2 0-0 2. TOTALS: 38-75 7-13 85.
FORT SCOTT: Green 1-10 0-0 2, Mills 6-9 2-7 14, Danner 3-8 0-0 7, Walton 7-12 5-7 21, Thomas 8-17 1-2 22. TOTALS: 25-56 8-16 66.
Halftime: Tied, 39-39.
Three-point field goals: Labette 2-14 (Webb 1-2, Adams 1-8, Lee 0-1, Conner 0-3), Fort Scott 8-25 (Thomas 5-9, Walton 2-6, Danner 1-5, Mills 0-1, Green 0-4).
Total fouls: Labette 17, Fort Scott 14. Fouled out: Walton. Technical fouls: Mills.
Rebounds: Labette 47 (Lee 8), Fort Scott 31 (Walton 8). Assists: Labette 10 (Conner 4), Fort Scott 14 (Mils 7). Turnovers: Labette 8, Fort Scott 13. Steals: Labette 5 (Lee 2), Fort Scott 4 (Mills 2). Blocked shots: Labette 1 (Adams), Fort Scott none.