Sullivan Gets Early Lead, Hang On To Reach Class 4 Quarterfinals
Sullivan rode a 20-4 run across the second and third quarters Tuesday to defeat Warrensburg 58-46 in a Class 4 sectional at Missouri S&T.
The Eagles (23-6) were buoyed by a sharpshooting first quarter that produced five 3-pointers, but it was defense that carried them to Saturday’s Class 4 quarterfinal against Logan-Rogersville.
Sullivan kept Warrensburg (24-4) off the board for the first five minutes of the second half.
It wasn’t until Ejyah Sheridan’s three-point play with 6.2 seconds remaining in the third third quarter that Warrensburg connected on a basket.
A desperate Tigers team pushed the Eagles in the fourth quarter, but Sullivan withstood the charge and some heavy on-ball pressure to hang on.
Eagles head coach Dino McKinney said the final 12 minutes were stressful.
“They were some of the toughest I’ve ever had coaching,” he said.
“We never felt real comfortable.”
McKinney said Sullivan was able to hold their own on the defensive boards, play great defense, stay composed and take care of free throws. The Eagles were 22-26 at the line.
Warrensburg cranked up the intensity after falling behind by 16 going into the final period.
Cody McKinney paced the Eagles with 23 points. He was eight of nine at the free throw line, helping Sullivan hold off Warrensburg down the stretch.
McKinney and Landon Hoffman, who scored 14, helped get the Eagles off to a 6-0 start with a pair of 3s. After a 3-pointer by Austin Lewis with 4:19 left in the first quarter, Warrensburg would tie the game at 9-9.
Carter Adams had Sullivan’s fourth triple of the period to snap the tie and permanently put the Eagles ahead. Hoffman stuck the Tigers with another trey to put Sullivan up 15-9 with 10 seconds left. Warrensburg neglected to put up a final shot, seemingly losing track of time.
Peyton Long quickly scored to start the second quarter, but they were buried from there. McKinney responded with his second 3-pointer. Austin Frye banked in a shot off the glass and McKinney hit a second chance pull-up jumper to give the Eagles a 22-13 lead with 5:18 remaining in the half.
McKinney angled an inside shot over Zach Reed, giving Sullivan a double-digit lead. After Luke Landwehr’s jumper off an inbounds pass, Sullivan held Warrensburg scoreless in the final 3:40. McKinney was fouled beyond the arc with 33 seconds left and hit all three subsequent free throws. Sullivan led 27-15 at the half.
He continued his way with the Tigers in the second, knocking down a second chance 3-pointer and connecting on a jumper.
Jacob Hatcher drew a charge with 4:30 left. On the ensuing possession, his three-point play staked the Eagles to a 35-15 lead.
Warrensburg broke up the run with free throws by Landwehr, cutting Sullivan’s lead to 16. Adams lined up a 3 from the corner to give Sullivan a 38-19 lead with 14 seconds left. Sheridan converted a three-point play with six seconds left, cutting Sullivan’s lead to 38-22 after three quarters.
Warrensburg scored 23 points in the final quarter. The Eagles’ free throw shooting was able to negate the Tigers from catching up.
“They were attacking pretty hard,” McKinney said. “Their press was good, they were doubling our guards out front and made it difficult.”