Blair Oaks scores 92 points in win against Battle

WARDSVILLE, Mo. —You don’t score 92 points by having a bunch of guys just looking out for themselves. That kind of total comes from a willingness to share the ball.

And that’s just what the Blair Oaks Falcons did Friday night, as 10 different players scored in an easy 92-68 win against the Battle Spartans.

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Tony Hawley reports

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“We shot the ball really well and I would guess the assist total was pretty high, because we were sharing the ball well,” Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said. “It’s become a really unselfish team and as a coach, you really like to see that.”

Blair Oaks jumped ahead of Battle, the new high school in Columbia that’s playing in Class 4, by scoring the game’s first eight points, six of them on a pair of 3-pointers by Kory Franks.

The lead eventually grew to 13-2 before the Spartans made a run to get within 15-11. But the Falcons came back with a 5-0 spurt to reassert control, and they took a 22-14 lead into the second quarter.

That wouldn’t be the last time Blair Oaks would have to repel Battle. While the Falcons had a double-digit lead for much of the second quarter, the Spartans got within 32-26 with 2:20 left before halftime when Tyler Gray splashed home his third 3 of the half.

But that just seemed to wake up the Falcons, who closed out the half with a 13-2 run to lead 45-28. And no shot was bigger than when, on an out-of-bounds play with two seconds left before intermission, Seth Eskens broke free and nailed a 3 as the buzzer went off.

“It seemed like in the first half, every time they went on a little run, we would have a guy step up and make a big shot,” Fick said. “… Seth’s play, that’s a big shot, a big momentum boost going into halftime and then it’s our ball to start the second half. And we got several really good possessions to start the second half.”

The Falcons got a couple big contributions in the opening half. Haydn Lock 5-of-7 shots from the field and led all players with 13 points, while Chandler Haxton yanked down 10 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end.

“Haydn has that ability and the last couple of games, he has scored more and his confidence has gone through the roof,” Fick said. “He’s becoming a threat offensively.”

Haxton then started to add some points to go with those rebounds in the third quarter, part of a big period for the Blair Oaks post players. Haxton and Logan Gratz scored eight points apiece in the frame, as they combined to go a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line while getting Battle in foul trouble.

“The last few games, our post players have really been asserting themselves,” Fick said. “We’ve been playing inside-out, which has opened up the perimeter for our guards and we’ve got guys who can knock shots down. That makes us hard to guard.”

The Falcons pushed the lead to 74-48 after three quarters and led by 30 points on four different occasions in the fourth before settling for the 24-point win over the Spartans (4-15).

“Battle is a young team, and they’ve played a pretty grueling schedule for a first-year program,” Fick said. “They’ve got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. Looking at their scores and watching them on film, we knew going in they’ve played most of the schools on their schedule really tough. … They’ve got some guys that can play.”

Making the win even more impressive was it came with a key contributor, Joey Bernskoetter, on the bench in street clothes with a boot cast on a sprained ankle.

“With Joey out with his injury, we didn’t know going into the game what our rotations were going to look like and where we were going to go if we got in foul trouble,” Fick said. “We had some guys play with two fouls in the first half and they played smart. That’s going to be big in the stretch run, because guys are going to have to play in foul trouble and still bring the same energy on the defensive end as when they’re not in foul trouble. This was kind of a test run, so to speak.”

Bernskoetter is expected to be in the boot for a week before being reevaluated.

“He’s hitting the ice hard and the whirlpool,” Fick said. “The X-rays were negative, so that’s good. As a senior, his No. 1 focus right now is to rehab that thing as hard as he can and try to get back to contribute this year.”

Blair Oaks (16-3) got a game-high 24 points from Franks, one of four Falcons to reach double figures. Lock ended up with 19, while Haxton had 15 and Gratz added 13. Haxton led all players with 14 rebounds.

Daviante Ostrander had 22 to pace Battle and Gray added 10.

Blair Oaks will have a quick turnaround, as they will play at 2:30 p.m. today at Eugene, the third-ranked team in the state in Class 3.

“I’m proud of the kids for not looking past (Friday’s) game to (today),” Fick said. “This is a big one. It seems like every time we get together with Eugene, it’s a great basketball game and I expect the same (today).

“You’ve got two teams having really solid years and it will be a fun game for high-school basketball fans.”

Blair Oaks made a clean sweep of Friday’s tripleheader by also winning the freshman and JV games.

In the JV contest, the Falcons claimed a 68-46 win. Owen Luebbering had 18 to pace Blair Oaks (8-3) and Mikel Drehle had 12.

The Falcons won the freshman game 52-50. Brett Bishop had 15 points for Blair Oaks (6-10), Ryan Paschal added 12 and Kade Franks chipped in with 10.

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