By Skylan Akins, Staff Writer
The Clever Bluejays and Ash Grove Pirates tipped off district play in Clever Middle School Monday night as a water leak has left the High School gym underwater. You would have thought that the middle school is where the Bluejays are used to playing as they had their highest offensive output all season.
The Pirates struck first as Brock Mooneyham and Sam Moreland each hit a three to give Ash Grove a 6-0 lead. The Pirates were phenomenal early on the offensive glass as four offensive boards resulted in second chance points. Clever would take a timeout leading 16-14 and that’s where the game would change. A renewed energy on the defensive side lead to a number of steals and Fastbreak points. Clever would lead 21-17 after one.
The second quarter was the Corbin Allie show as he got the scoring started with a 5-0 run by himself and would hit three 3’s in the second quarter. Tough defense and an offensive explosion by several Bluejays concluded with a deep three by Bryce Gelle at the buzzer and the Bluejays went on a 18-4 run to close out the 30-point quarter and the Bluejays went into the break leading 51-24.
Ash Grove junior Sammy Moreland caught fire in the third quarter hitting a trio of threes himself but was unable to will the Pirates back into the game as Clever senior duo Jake Twigg and Bryce Gelle extended the lead to 80-43 after three. The Bluejays continued to roll as the Bluejays take the opening round game 85-54.
“Tonight, was a complete game. This was something we have been preaching all year and working towards and midway through the first quarter they really turned it on. We were able to get some runouts and took it to another level.” Clever Coach Luke Brosious said following the game.
“I thought we played really well tonight. We played together and it seemed like everyone was hot.” Gelle said. “Coach called that timeout in the first and we started to play better on the defensive side and that led to some fast breaks.” Gelle continued.
Gelle led the way for Clever with 24 points. Jake Twigg added 16. Corbin Allie hit four deep balls for 14. Grant Pellham had 12. Kadeon Broome was a beast down low and got 11 to go. Kendon Pate had four and Cole Langley and Landen Graaf rounded up scoring for the Bluejays with 2. Sammy Moreland was fantastic for Ash Grove as he got four 3’s to go as well as part of his 22. Brock Mooneyham and Jake Thompson each had seven. Brady Nicholson had six. Nate Trammell got five to go. Tyler Vert hit three free throws for his three points. Elijah Morrison and Tanner Willmon both had two to wrap up scoring for the Pirates.
Sam Moreland 6’2 Ash Grove 2022
Sam Moreland was fantastic in the loss as he is an elite offensive presence. He can score on all three levels but excels deep. He hit 4 deep balls including a very impressive James Harden like step back three with a defender in his face. He was also able to get it done in the paint finishing against contact several times tonight. He is a little thin at 6’2 and has room to grow into his frame but he is very scrappy and got it done on the boards on both ends. Moreland’s season comes to an end, but he will be a guy to keep your eye on next season.
Bryce Gelle 6’2 Clever 2021
Bryce is a fantastic offensive player and he proved it again tonight. Although, he proved that he is more than a walking bucket as he truly did fill up the stat sheet. Gelle had 24 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and a monster block that halted a brief Pirate run in the third quarter. Gelle has been great for the Bluejays all year and I am excited to see how he responds to the challenge that is the Spokane Owls.
Grant Pellham 6’0 Clever 2022
Pellham has been severely overlooked on this Clever team. Grant is an uber athletic wing that has a non-stop motor. Grant is a fantastic slasher and excels in getting to the rim. He can even occasionally step back and hit a three from time to time. He did a little bit of everything Monday as he got 11 points to go along with four assists, three rebounds and four steals. Grant has a high IQ on the defensive end wreaking havoc in the passing lanes. Grant provides the Bluejays with a wildcard that can be huge for the Bluejays in a potential run.