Chad Friess wasn’t going to let one bad game — two bad quarters, actually — spoil a good week of basketball for Summit Christian Academy’s girls.
The Eagles made it all the way to the championship game of the Pleasant Hill Basketball Invitational despite entering the tournament as a No. 6 seed.
After pulling off two upsets to make the final, SCA didn’t have the firepower to pull off a third and lost to top-seeded Odessa 44-27 on Jan. 12 at Pleasant Hill.
Friess, the Eagles’ first-year head coach, still considered the tournament run a success even after a night that saw SCA limited to two points in the second quarter and four points in the fourth.
“I’m really proud of what we accomplished here this week,” he said. “It was a good benchmark for us to see where we’re at.”
Friess likes where the Eagles (10-5) are at as they start the new year.
SCA dropped three straight going into Christmas break and then won five in a row before losing to Odessa. That win streak included a 52-49 win over No. 3 seed Grain Valley during the first round of the Pleasant Hill tourney Jan. 8 and a 41-37 victory against No. 2 seed Belton on Jan. 10.
“I don’t think anybody gave us a chance to be in that championship game, so knocking off a three seed and a two seed was pretty neat,” Friess said. “That’s been our m.o. this year, just going against what anybody might think we’re capable of doing.”
Odessa (11-1) never trailed after ending the first quarter with a 9-0 run for a 15-9 lead, but SCA kept it close for three quarters despite their shooting woes. The Eagles went 1 for 12 from the field in the second quarter but trailed only 20-11 at the half.
“We just got a little complacent offensively tonight,” Friess said. “We got a lot of good looks and we just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we were given.”
Odessa pushed its lead to 27-13 before the shots started falling for the Eagles in the third quarter. SCA ended the quarter with a 10-0 run that included four points from Riley Painter and three-pointer from Abby Nelson and began the fourth quarter down 27-23.
“We came out really hot in the third quarter,” Friess said. “We closed that gap pretty quick.”
Odessa widened the gap pretty quick with its pressure and up-tempo offense, and SCA didn’t score again until the game’s closing minutes. The Eagles missed all six shots they managed and Odessa took control with a 15-0 run.
Painter’s eight points led SCA, which only had four players score the whole game. Painter and Sophie Schooley both made the girls All-Tournament Team.
“I’m really proud of my girls,” Friess said. “We just hit a fork in the road tonight against a really good team.”
It was a big week for SCA’s boys too. The Eagles (8-8) advanced to the boys’ final and lost to undefeated Grain Valley 76-73 in double overtime. The Eagles trailed 42-35 going into the fourth quarter.
SCA, which trailed by seven entering the fourth quarter, placed two boys —Preston Kliewer and Raef Gerdes — on the All-Tournament team.
Among other results, Belton’s girls rebounded from their loss to the Eagles and beat Clinton 51-43 in the third-place game.
Kennedy Moss made 4 of 5 three-pointers and scored 15 points to lead the Pirates, who also got a double-double from All-Tournament team selection Kamryn Estell (12 points and 12 rebounds).
Belton’s boys finished fourth after losing 73-72 against Clinton in the third-place game. Jaden Clark scored 38 points and Antione Nunn dished a school-record 10 assists in the narrow defeat.
Clark made the boys All-Tournament team.
Finally, Pleasant Hill’s girls beat Pembroke Hill 33-23 in the seventh-place game and the Roosters’ boys beat St. Joseph-Benton 50-45 in the fifth-place game.