SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Purdy Eagles put together a big comeback attempt on Saturday against Perryville (Ark.) in the opening game on Saturday of the Ozark Mountain Shootout.
Trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half, the Eagles rallied and cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter only to see Perryville pull away for a 74-55 win.
Coming off an 18-9 season a year ago, Purdy is 3-2 this season under new head coach Jeremy Dresslaer who returned to Glendale on Saturday where he served as an assistant. Purdy opened 3-0 with wins over Sarcoxie, Billings, College Heights and were cominng off a loss on Friday to East Newton.
“Today I thought we did okay, but our defense isn’t getting it done,” Purdy head coach Jeremy Dresslaer said. “Our last two games we’ve given up 70 points. Our first four we kept teams 40 and under. Obviously there is a big difference right there. We’re not adjusting well and we are not winning the rebounding war. In the last two games, we haven’t been very good there. If we control the boards, we don’t lose.
“Today we faced a good team who can shoot the ball well. It’s fun to come here to a neutral site to play a team that we would never see. We’re going to take these recent losses as a learning point. Right now we are battling some internal issues with our seniors playing at a high level. We’re in the right spot, and things are falling into place.”
The team was led on Saturday by guards Tyler Keeler and Colt Keeling who combined to score 35 points against Perryville. A 5’10 2018 guard, Keeler went for 20 points on Saturday, including several clutch baskets in the second half.
A 6’0 2018 guard, Keeling added 15 points and showed the ability to handle the ball and defend. He entered the game averaging 20 points per game.
“He struggled today to get rolling on offense,” Purdy head coach Jeremy Dresslaer said. “It’s been rough for him the last bit.
“Keeler has really picked it up the last couple games. When we have those two guys, and (Hunter) Cook (5’11, G, 2018) going as well, those are three guys at the Class 2 level that can score and be really dangerous in January.”
Also in the mix for Purdy are Fernando Garcia (5’11, G, 2019), Ky Propps (5’8, G, 2019) and Harley Stephens (6’1, F, 2020).
“We’re not going to win the layup line,: Dresslaer said. “We are 5’10 to 6’0 across the board. We do the little things well. We are a team that is going to keep working and keep getting better every day. We will always have five guys on the floor who can pass and shoot and rebound well.
“Right now we have the fine tuning in place. It’s just a few little things that are not going our way. We just haven’t been finishing shots and or rebound the way we would like to. I like where we are at. We are 4-2, and we’re only going to get better. One game at a time.”