In a game that was closer than many people might have expected, the Pratt Community College men’s basketball team downed the Sterling College Warriors JV 87-78 Tuesday at the Beaver Dome.
Although leading comfortably at halftime and by as many as 17 early in the second half, the Beavers allowed the scrappy Warriors back into the game. Sterling closed to within 3 with under two minutes to play before finally falling to the Beavers by 9.
In the early going, PCC head coach Jesse Shaw ran waves of Beavers at the Warriors, substituting 5 for 5 several times as Pratt played a full-court pressure, up-tempo style to take advantage of their superior athleticism. Sterling was able to keep from being totally run out of the gym by virtue of hitting 3s at key times, but even so, PCC had opened a 23-17 advantage at the 11:00 mark.
The two teams traded buckets over the next several minutes until a steal, drive and thunderous jam by Aaron Abram and a pair of hoops by Kazmere Boyd helped the Beavers opened a double-digit lead, 36-26 with 5 minutes left. At halftime, the score stood 46-35, the Beavers offense showing good balanced scoring over the final minutes of the half.
PCC came out of the second half gate hot: Big man Lucas Stivrins scored a pair of buckets in the paint, Boyd had a slam dunk in transition, Sean Michaelson buried a three and Abram converted an old-school 3-point play. It was 58-41 Pratt at the 16:00 mark and it appeared the Beavers would be able to coast to an easy win.
The teams traded hoops for 3 or 4 minutes, 64-47 at 12:43. Then, somebody put a lid on PCC’s basket. They would go scoreless over the next 5 minutes, letting Sterling back into the game at 64-57 at the 8 minute mark. The Warriors had been hitting from outside all night, outscoring PCC 33-9 from 3-point land on the evening. Several shots from behind the arc at this time allowed them to continue chipping away at the PCC lead even though the Beavers had found some offense again. At 5:36 Sterling was down by only a pair at 69-67.
Aaron Abram then virtually put PCC on his back, scoring 9 of his team-high 17 points over the next few minutes to halt the Beavers’ slide and rebuild a 80-71 lead with 2 minutes to go. The Sterlings had one last gasp in them as more deadly outside shooting let them close to within 3 at 81-78. Over the final 1:30, Pratt held Sterling scoreless while DeShun Roberts and Ralph Abraham scored 6 points between them to hold off the determined Warriors, 87-78.
6-2 PCC plays this coming weekend in the Coffeyville Tournament.
Pratt 46 41 87
Sterling 35 43 78
Page 2 of 2 - Stivrins 6-0-2/4-14; Abram 6-1-2/3-17; Flynn 2-0-1/3-5; Rogers 4-0-3/4-11; Boyd 5-0-3/6-13; Michaelson 0-1-0-3; Abraham 4-1-1/2-12; Roberts 2-0-4/6-8; Hellman 1-0-2/4-4