(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
The Cavaliers made 14 of 31 3-point attempts. In an 11-point verdict, that's clearly a huge advantage.
But the Cavalier victory doesn't diminish the fact that Fort Scott is playing better. In 19 games prior to the January 28 home game against Independence -- the first one in which the Greyhounds suited just five players -- Fort Scott scored an average of 56 points a game and score 60 or more just six times. In the five games since, the 'Hounds have averaged 63 points and and scored 60 or more four times.
And once again, the Greyhounds showed no quit. Now up to seven players, Fort Scott had just enough energy to outscore Johnson County 48-43 in the second half, closing to within 10 points with just over four minutes remaining.
"Sometimes, you see a team with one or two guys who don't give up. But those five, they all are fighters," Pierce Rienbolt, who joined the team recently along with fellow Fort Scott High graduate Cody Harper to bring the roster up to seven, said. "They have a will to win and if they went into a half down 30, they wouldn't quit."
Johnson County (6-6 East, 11-13 overall) jumped out to a 14-3 lead after six minutes of play. But Fort Scott (1-11, 2-23) managed to scrap back from a 40-15 deficit by outscoring the Cavs 16-7 to end the half.
The Cavaliers got the lead up to 60-37 with 16:45 remaining in the game as Quasim Jones hit a 3-point shot. Jones was apparently determined to make up for scoring just 2 points, both on free throws, in the team's first meeting on January 11. He finished Saturday's game with nine 3-pointers and 31 points.
Fort Scott outscored Johnson County 15-3 late in the second half, getting within 80-70 on Derrick Green's layup with 4:10 to go. Jones' 3-point shot with 3:48 left put an end to the run
Fort Scott shot 68 percent from the field in the second half, making 21 of 31 field-goal attempts while holding Johnson to 39 percent on 15 of 38. The 'Hounds also turned the ball over just twice in the second half.
Intangibles were also part of what made head coach Michael cook happy with the Greyhounds' effort.
"The whole seven played well," Cook said. "I'm not talking about stats. I thought Pierce and Cody came in and gave us some great minutes. We had some great team defense. They just made some shots tonight that hadn't fallen for them in the last five games we saw of them on film but they make them tonight."
Austin Danner led Fort Scott with 25 points while Teance Walton added 18, Green 17 and Derrick Thomas finished with 12. Overall, the 'Hounds made 31 of 61 field-goal attempts, 51 percent, and 15 of 23 free throws.
Jones made 11 of 22 shots from the field while Justin Leathers connected on 12 of 22 fielders before fouling out with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Christian Hildebrandt added 12 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 46 percent overall on 33 of 72 and outrebounded Fort Scott 52-27.
Fort Scott will host Kansas City Wednesday night at 7:30 at Arnold Arena. KCK beat the 'Hounds, 94-53, at Kansas City on January 14. The Blue Devils were ranked 13th in the NJCAA Division I poll at the time but they'll come into Wednesday's game as losers of their last five and in ninth place in the East. KCK (4-8, 16-8) lost to Highland 88-82 in overtime Saturday
JOHNSON COUNTY: Turner 1-3 0-0 2, Lee 1-2 0-0 3, Mi.Hiber 1-4 0-0 2, My.Hiber 1-2 2-2 4, Bass-Brooks 2-5 2-7 6, Jones 11-22 0-0 31, Hildebrandt 4-12 2-2 12, Boehler 0-0 1-2 1, Leathers 12-22 3-3 29. TOTALS: 33-72 10-16 90.
FORT SCOTT: Green 6-12 4-5 17, Harper 0-2 0-0 0, Mills 2-7 2-4 7, Rienbolt 0-1 0-0 0, Danner 12-21 1-1 25, Walton 6-9 6-9 18, Thomas 5-9 2-4 12. TOTALS: 31-61 15-23 79.
Halftime: Johnson County, 47-31.
Three-point field goals: Johnson County 14-31 (Jones 9-17, Leathers 2-4, Hildrbrandt 2-7, Lee 1-2, Turner 0-1), Fort Scott 2-12 (Mills 1-2, Green 1-3, Rienbolt 0-1, Walton 0-1, Harper 0-2, Danner 0-3).
Total fouls: Johnson County 23, Fort Scott 14. Fouled out: Leathers. Technical fouls: none.
Rebounds: Johnson County 52 (Leathers 16), Fort Scott 27 (Danner 6, Walton 6). Assists: Johnson County 20 (Bass-Brooks 8), Fort Scott 8 (Danner 3). Turnovers: Johnson County 16, Fort Scott 6. Steals: Johnson County 4 (Leathers 2), Fort Scott 5 (Mills 2). Blocked shots: Johnson County 1 (Hildebrandt), Fort Scott 1 (Rienbolt).