Log in Subscribe

District Tourney here Friday

Dragons on 11 game winning streak

John D. Montgomery
Posted 2/17/22

Purcell will host Christian Heritage in the District Tournament Friday night.

Tip off for the girls will be 6:30 p.m. followed by the boys.

Coach Roger Raper’s Dragons are on an 11 …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

District Tourney here Friday

Dragons on 11 game winning streak


Purcell will host Christian Heritage in the District Tournament Friday night.

Tip off for the girls will be 6:30 p.m. followed by the boys.

Coach Roger Raper’s Dragons are on an 11 game winning streak. Monday night’s 55-50 victory over Washington on Senior Night was Purcell’s 16th victory in their last 17 outings. They are 19-3 overall heading into the tournament.

Nate Willis led all scorers with 20 points in the Washington victory. Joining him in double figures were Malachi Evans with 14 and Hayden Ice with 10.

The Dragons jumped out to a 20-5 lead at the end of the first period eventually building the lead to 19 at intermission. Purcell took a 41-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

Washington out-scored Purcell 36-22 in the second half.

With the victory in a game that was scheduled for November 30 while Washington was still playing football, Purcell finished 14-0 in Canadian Valley Conference play to win the conference championship.

“We’re playing well right now,” Raper said.

Coach David Sikes’ Dragons pinned a 41-37 defeat on the Lady Warriors, led by Jaiden Avila’s game-high 16 points.

Led by Avila’s six first quarter points, the Dragons surged to a 12-7 lead after one and went into the halftime lockerroom leading 20-17. Purcell out-scored Washington by one in the second half, 21-20, to seal the victory.

“We played tough and were aggressive from the start,” Sikes said. “I felt like we played with a sense of urgency like we needed to.

“We still have to get better at finishing around the hoop, especially in transition,” Sikes said.

“These girls are really starting to figure it out. It’s been fun to watch it all come together. Since we are so young it is only going to get better.”

Sikes expects a good game with CHA in the District Tournament Friday night.

“They have a little size on their team but I think we match up better in the fore court,” the coach said. “We have to keep them in transition and force them to run the floor.”

Purcell picked up a pair of victories over Lindsay February 8 with the boys winning 49-45 in a barn-burner and the girls cruising to a 47-35 victory.

“The girls played the most complete game they have all season,” Sikes said. “We communicated on defense and our rotations were really good.

“We also had a pretty good shooting night which makes things a lot easier.

“I think this team is hitting its stride at the right time,” Sikes said. “We loved the atmosphere at The Reimer Center. It was a packed house.”

Kenna Esparza led the scoring attack with 17 points.

She put up 16 last Thursday night in Purcell’s 62-36 victory over Lexington and finished with 10 the following night in a 38-33 loss at Marlow.

“We started out slow and looked a little tired from the grind of basketball games we have had,” Sikes said.

“We showed a lot of fight down the stretch coming back from nine down. But we struggled shooting, hitting just nine of 42 attempts from the field,” the coach said.

Sikes said his club has put in the work and are 14-8 heading into the tournament.

“I’m excited to see how this team handles the playoffs. We have worked really hard and now is the time to let it payoff.”

CHA’s girls are 7-14 while the boys are 8-15.

Evans’ 22 points in the victory over Lindsay led the Dragon offense. Hayden Ice and Willis pumped in a dozen each.

Purcell had nine players score in the 26-point victory over Lexington last Thursday. Lincoln Eubank was the top scorer with 20 points including four buckets from downtown.

Evans topped the scoring chart with 13 in the big road victory at Marlow while Ice netted 11 in the paint.

“Fourteen games in the last 28 days is a tough task,” Raper said. “Our young men battled in every one of those games. I couldn’t be more proud. 14-0 and Conference Champions is special.

“It was someone different each night and that’s what makes this team special.

“Now we move on to the District Playoffs.

“CHA has some kids that can shoot the ball so our perimeter defense must be spot on. We’ve been strong defensively throughout the season and must keep that same passion and focus in the playoffs,” he said.

Raper said preparing for the Dragons is a chore due to the number of offensive weapons.

“Willis’ leadership and the scoring of Ice and Eubank has keep this team on the right path,” Raper said.

“Evans at the point guard spot puts so much pressure on the defense on every possession and is difficult to guard,” the coach said.

“Our ability to knock down outside shots by Eubank, Evans and Kobe Freeman opens up the middle for Willis and Ice,” he said.

Adolfo Vasquez, Jett Tyler and Brayden Tharp are help off the bench.

“And, Cooper Hall pushes our team every day to be their best,” Raper said.

“We look to make some noise,” he concluded.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here