PITTSBURG — In a critical SEK League matchup on the boys side, the Pittsburg Purple Dragons downed the Parsons Vikings 71-63 behind 41 points from star senior guard Javon Grant.
Grant powered Pittsburg, which got out in transition early and often as it kept the Vikings constantly trying to claw back.
“That’s something I thought we’d be better at,” Parsons head coach Anthony Houk said. “We beat them some in transition too, especially early. Then they beat us a little more and that was the difference. Those transition buckets. That was on the scouting report and we didn’t execute tonight.”
It was the second time this season that Grant scored a season-high 41 points, with the first such performance coming against Riverton.
“We could make 10 adjustments on him and he might score 50,” Houk said. “The main adjustment we have to fix that they’re the type of team where he can score 40 and we can still win. But if they have two guys score 10 to 12, we can’t beat them. So we’ve got to eliminate offensive rebounds and other easy baskets.”
Julius Smith-Reece led the Vikings with 19 points as he found a rhythm working in the post. Houk wants to see Smith-Reece, who’s had flurries of points at times this year, continue to find his stride.
“A lot of that will come from confidence to getting in and attacking,” Houk said. “Julius got going at them. It’ll always depend on the matchups with him. Tonight, he felt like his guy was stepping out far on him. So Julius brought him out and went at him. He took advantage of that.”
With the win, Pittsburg improved to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in SEK League play. Parsons suffered its first loss in league action, dropping to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in league.
The Vikings return to Parsons next Tuesday to face Coffeyville in another SEK League battle.
“We have to control what we can control,” Houk said. “We’re going to attack this film at practice and try to fix us. Most nights, we’re our toughest opponent.”
Pittsburg 71, Parsons 63
Parsons: 11 11 23 18 — 63
Pittsburg: 18 14 21 18 — 71
Parsons: Ethan Houk 6, Jessie Jones 13, Cedric Webb 10, Paxton Swanson 13, Sylas Hickles 2, Julius Smith-Reece 19
Pittsburg: Malakai Courtney 11, LJ Butcher 6, Javon Grant 41, Haiden McCoy 2, Jackson Turnbull 2, Mason English 9