Pacific’s boys basketball team made its top ranking stand up over the weekend, winning the Class 1A state championship.
The Pirates beat Prairie City 73-50 in the championship game Saturday night at Baker High School.
The Pirates led the championship game almost from the start, scoring 16 straight points in the first quarter after Prairie City scored the first five points.
By the end of the game, Jack Lehnherr had 19 point and 16 rebounds, John Morrill-Keeler had 15 points and 17 rebounds, Justin Hall had 16 points and Steven White scored f12, including three 3-pointers.
Pacific topped Triad by a similar margin in the semifinals, winning 54-35. Morill-Keeler had 16 points and Lehnherr 12 in that win. The Pirates broke that game open with a 12-1 run in the first quarter.
Pacific’s closest game in the tournament was its quarterfinal matchup, a 69-53 win over Hosanna Christian.
Pacific trailed 20-17 through the first quarter. But the Pirates led 38-29 by halftime and were in front the rest of the way.
Hall kept the Pirates in touch in the first quarter and finished with 14 points. Morrill-Keeler had 19, Lehnherr 14 and White scored 10 points.
Four of the Pacific stars were four-year starters — Morrill-Keeler, Hall and Josh Engdahl started all four years for Pacific and Lehnherr started three years in Powers before transferring to Pacific for his senior year.
“I am grateful that all our hard work over the years has paid off,” Engdahl said.
Morrill-Keeler said the team’s unselfish nature carried it through the season and playoffs.
“I think we played good team basketball this weekend,” he said.
Pacific also thrived with great team defense, led by Engdahl and Hall, who also led Pacific to the state track title last spring.
“Once again, superb defense prevailed,” Pacific coach Ben Stallard said, noting that his team held Prairie City star Dorran Wilson to just 14 points.
Lehnherr and Morrill-Keeler were named to the all-tournament first team.