Senior Aden Arnette goes up for a shot. The Pirates are 2-1 prior to Monday's battle for fifth place.

The Branson Pirates started out the Blue and Gold Tournament on a high note, taking a 50-47 win over Lebanon in overtime. They fell 55-25 to Hartville on Friday, but didn’t allow that to hold them back in the 58-49 win over Clever Saturday.

Head coach Mike Linehan said the Pirates came out a little flat in Friday’s game, and Hartville did a nice job of putting pressure on them and denying passes.

“We didn’t respond by setting better, tougher screens,” Linehand said. “We responded by standing and not moving the ball.”

He said they have to give credit to Hartville for their toughness on defense. He thinks frustration on the Pirates end made it more difficult for them offensively.

Linehan said the players were disappointed in themselves after the game, and he knows it can be tough looking ahead at the next game after a loss like that.

“Sometimes it’s hard to turn around the very next day after a very disappointing loss and play your best,” Linehan said. “They really did a good job. We came out against a good Clever basketball team.”

The Pirates came out in the first half to move and shoot the ball really well. 

“The things we were frustrated that we didn’t do well against Hartville, the kids came out and did a really nice job against Clever,” Linehand said. “Moving the basketball, setting screens and not standing around. I thought they responded very well.”

Linehan added that a lot of the players stepped up and made some shots for them. He said sophomore Ethan Jones had over 25, senior Aden Arnette and sophomore Kyle Scharbrough also hit some really nice buckets, sophomore Kade Goodwin came off the bench to hit some nice shots. He said they were getting points from everybody, which is really nice as a team not having to rely on one player to put up all of their points.

“When you have a player like Ethan and then you get points from some other guys,” Linehan said. “You can become a pretty good ball team in a hurry, when it’s not just one kid scoring.”

He added that he also saw a lot of good things coming from junior Darion Williams, and he’s starting to step up and score more for the team.

Most of all, Linehan said he is impressed with the team’s attitude and how they hold themselves.

“They’re fine young men,” Linehan said. “They work really hard and to respond like they did yesterday as a team, I was really impressed.”

The Pirates play Bolivar for fifth place in the tournament’s Blue division.

Final updates from the Blue and Gold Tournament will be in Saturday’s edition.

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