Nodaway-Holt's boys team had to overcome a nine-point fourth quarter deficit against Northeast Nodaway just to earn a spot in Saturday's title game.
Once there, the top-seeded Trojans made sure no more late-game heroics were necessary.
With their full-court pressure defense wreaking serious havoc early, the Trojans scored the first 14 points and put the game completely out of reach early in the fourth quarter for a 63-46 win over host West Nodaway.
The Trojans ensured up their second tournament title in a row and third in the last four years, a night after the Lady Trojans won the girls title.
"We got lucky the other night and just kind of took this one by the horns," said Nodaway-Holt head coach Terry Petersen. "It's a fun tournament to win. It kind of finishes the first half of the season on a high note, gets them pumped up for the next two weeks of practice before we play much again. It's a real plus for the kids and puts everybody in the hallways at school in a pretty good mood."
In building a 14-0 first quarter lead, Nodaway-Holt held West Nodaway scoreless for the first six-plus minutes.
The Rockets managed only six points in each of the first two quarters. They were 3-16 from the field in the first half with 15 turnovers, mostly going against Nodaway-Holt's press.
"We got a little frustrated," said West Nodaway head coach Roger Johnson. "We didn't start out as well as we wanted with the pressure causing us some problems. We didn't get it adjusted well enough and Trevor (Meyer) got in a little foul trouble and that changed our ball-handling around. Nodaway-Holt is a good team and they've been in these kind of games before and it definitely showed that we hadn't because we were a little nervous, I think early."
Up 25-12 at the half, Nodaway-Holt kept at least a 12 point lead in the second half and extended it to as many as 23 in the fourth.
The Trojans had three players score in double-figures led by senior guard Derek Lemon with 18 points.
An all-tournament team selection, Lemon hit all four of his three-point tries, continuing a hot shooting stretch that began late in the third quarter against Northeast Nodaway.
"We were so darn tight last game for three quarters," said Petersen. "After they relaxed, Derek hit some shots and it just kind of carried over to tonight. Derek is normally a good shooter. He'd struggled maybe the last couple of games, but it was nice to see him on like that."
Sophomore Jackson Beattie recorded his third straight double-digit game of the tournament with 14 points. Junior Nick Patterson finished with 10 points and hit the team's other three.
Page 2 of 3 - Both were all-tournament team selections as well.
West Nodaway freshman Jaden Gillenwater, who sank two game-winning free throws against South Nodaway, led the Rockets in scoring with 15 points and hit two late three-pointers.
Meyer, an all-tournament team selection, and Billy Knarr each had eight points, while Blake Farnan scored seven. Meyer and junior center Jonathon Madere were plagued by foul trouble most of the game.
Meyer picked up his third within the first minute of the second quarter, forcing him to sit the rest of the half. Madere fouled out in the fourth quarter without a point.
"It changed what we do," said Johnson. "There was some kids that came in and did their best and did a nice job for us, but it definitely put us at a disadvantage from that point on because we had to move people around to uncomfortable positions which leads to unforced turnovers."
West Nodaway countered Nodaway-Holt's 14-0 run to start the game by scoring the final six points of the first quarter to trail by just eight.
A three by Chase Barnett cut Nodaway-Holt's 12-point lead to 19-10 with 4:20 left in the second quarter.
Nodaway-Holt took charge again right after with five quick points from Lemon.
He hit a three off an offensive rebound and turned a steal into a layup to make it 24-10.
The Rockets had chances to go into the half closer than 13 points, but were just 7-16 from the foul line in the first half.
In the third quarter, Meyer hit his second tough pull-up jumper to bring the Rockets within 12. The Trojans scored the next five points and nine of the next 10 to lead by 20.
Seven straight points by the Trojans to open the fourth widened their lead to 23.
South Nodaway 36 Northeast 26 (3rd Place Game)
In a matchup of two teams who narrowly missed out on playing for Northwest Missouri Tournament Championship, South Nodaway salvaged third place with a 36-26 win over Northeast Nodaway Friday.
The Longhorns got off to a flying start, outscoring Northeast Nodaway 14-0 in the opening quarter.
Northeast Nodaway outscored South Nodaway over the final three quarters, but not enough to make a serious charge.
South Nodaway guard Dakota Murphy, an all-tournament team selection, scored nine first quarter points and finished with a game-high 13. Joel Scroggie was the high man for NEN with six.
North Nodaway 42 Craig-Fairfax 31 (Consolation)
The Mustangs outscored CFX by 10 in the second half to clear space for a 42-31 win in the consolation game Saturday.
North Nodaway hit four three's and was 14-18 at the foul line.
Page 3 of 3 - Austin Reynolds led the Mustangs with 12 points followed by Koby Reynolds with 11 and Nick Gladman with eight.
Jase Barnes led CFX with eight points.