PHS boys got their first win of the season Thursday, dropping Hoisington 42-37. The Lady Greenbacks lost 44-40.

No one is going to rank it with the Mona Lisa or a Kansas sunset in terms of a thing of beauty, but as Pratt High School boys basketball coach Chris Battin said, “It’s a win!”

The Greenbacks picked up their first victory of the season 42-37 on Thursday at Hoisington. Going in, it looked like a game Pratt should be able to win. Hoisington was averaging just 32 points a ballgame and starts three freshmen. For a change, PHS was going to have the experience and physical advantage.

Still, with a tough start to the season thus far undermining the Greenbacks’ confidence, Coach Battin felt that the game was going to be an even match-up, coming down to which team executed better.

Hoisington, frankly, does not shoot the ball very well and they appeared to know it. Aware they aren’t going to beat you in a smooth, pretty basketball game, the Cardinals seek to ugly it up. From the outset, their offensive tactic was to drive like wild men into the lane and hope to get to the foul line.

Numbers would attest that this might be their best move. In the first half, Hoisington was just 4/20 from the floor including 1/8 from the arc. However, they were able to stay with Pratt by making 11/16 free throws. (Pratt only had two opportunities from the stripe in the first half.)

Also, the Frogs have struggled at times this season keeping opponents off the glass, and Hoisington tried to exploit that by crashing the boards at every opportunity.

Pratt, meanwhile, was not exploiting its size advantage and seemed content early on to shoot from long range over the Hoisington zone. Toward the end of the first and into the early second quarter, however, PHS succeeded in penetrating into the paint and it paid dividends.

PHS led 9-5 at the quarter and 21-15 with 2:30 to go in the half. But then they started missing their shots underneath and the Cardinals caught back up, trailing just 21-20 at the half.

Seven different Frogs scored in the first half, with Zachary Shanline, Grant Bolen and Kaden Evert contributing 3s.

The Greenbacks had made a defensive adjustment and held Hoisington to just 5 points in stanza three. Unfortunately, Pratt’s close-in shots continued to miss the mark and they failed on some attempts from the charity stripe that would have allowed them to extend their lead. Heading to the decisive frame, PHS held a tenuous 30-25 lead.

The teams played even up in the 4th quarter. Hoisington couldn’t close the gap, but they wouldn’t go away either. A Kaden Evert steal and coast-to-coast basket put PHS up 42-35 with 1:30 to go, and that seemed to finally seal the deal. Hoisington scored one more time, but Pratt came away ahead 42-37 to claim their first win.

Evert carried much of the offensive load in the second half, with 15 of PHS’ 21 points.

Although admitting the game wasn't going to be featured on many highlight reels, Coach Battin felt that his kids had done some good things. “We moved the ball much better on offense and improved on the glass,” he said.

“The kids played hard,” he added. “I’m proud of their effort.”

PHS 9 12 9 12 42

Hois 5 15 5 12 37

Pratt scoring: Kaden Evert 18, Bates 4, Bolen 4, Kolm 2, Shanline 3, Studer 5, Winsor 6

It was close but no cigar for the Pratt girls, as they dropped a 44-40 contest to Hoisington. Streaky play doomed the Lady Greenbacks as they weren’t consistent in their performance.

Starting the game rather sluggishly on defense, Lady Green got into early foul trouble and let the Cardinals get to the free throw line quite early in the game.

Allisan McGowan and Dani Staats each hit a pair of 3s in Q1, but Hoisington put 17 points up in the first 8 minutes to take a 17-12 advantage. A 9-0 run in the middle of the period lifted them into the lead. Giving up runs has been a thorn in Lady Green’s side all season.

Pratt played well in the second period, getting the ball inside some and forcing some Hoisington turnovers with defensive pressure. They trailed just 27-26 at intermission.

The Cardinals scored the first 5 points of the second half to regain the momentum. Pratt got just a little bit the better of the rest of Q3 and trailed 39-35 heading for Q4.

Staats drilled a 3 to get Pratt within 1 at the 5:00 mark, and Pratt looked like they might be able to pull the game out. Hoisington cooperated by missing free throws down the stretch, but alas, PHS went cold offensively and could only manage a Kyra Johnson putback the rest of the way. Hoisington held on for a 44-40 win.

PHS 12 14 9 5 40

Hois 17 10 12 5 44

Pratt scoring: Allisan McGowan 17, Dani Staats 13, Maydew 2, Johnson 4, Hoover 2, Fincham 2

The games with Hoisington wrapped PHS’ pre-holiday season. They will return to action January 2 at Hesston.