By CONOR NICHOLL
Pittsburg High boys’ basketball is off to a 7-2 start. The Purple Dragons are currently tied for third in winning percentage in 5A East. Highland Park, which is ranked No. 1 in 5A, is 6-0. De Soto is 8-2. Pittsburg and St. James Academy are each 7-2.
Pittsburg is currently unranked by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
The Purple Dragons have an average margin of plus-7.9 points per game. Pittsburg has won seven of eight after an 81-73 loss to Joplin to start the winter. Since then, Pittsburg defeated two Missouri teams: Nevada (59-51) and Carl Junction (57-53). Then, Pittsburg beat Coffeyville (63-45), Independence (56-47) and Parsons (75-52).
On Jan. 6, Pittsburg lost, 47-45, to Chanute. Four days later, the Purple Dragons defeated Fort Scott, 68-47, and beat Labette County, 61-22, last Friday.
Mason English scored 30 points against Labette County and 22 versus Carl Junction among his notable games. Pittsburg is 5-1 in the SEK.
Pittsburg lists six seniors: Daniel Hastings, Hayden Murphy, Ryan Karu, Jovani Salas, Jackson Turnbull and Garrett Hanson. Salas and Turnbull are both 6-foot-5. An all-state tight end/defensive end, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Turnbull has recently picked up offers from Washburn, Emporia State and Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Pittsburg went 16-6 and won the SEK last year. Turnbull and English are returning starters. Salas and Hastings were key reserves last year. Juniors Zach Ward and Joey Cronister are veterans, too.