Your online home for Joplin area sports coverage.

COLLEGE SIGNING: Joplin’s Huff inks with Evangel University

When Joplin place kicker Keaton Huff picked up the game of football six years ago, his dream was to be able to play it at the collegiate level.

He realized that dream with family by his side after signing his letter of intent as a kicker for Evangel University on Friday at Joplin High School.

“It means a lot to me that the hard work I’ve put in the last six years of playing football has led me to continue playing at the next level and reaching my dreams of being a college athlete,” Huff said to SoMo Sports. 

Of course, dedication to a sport can make the accomplishments even more fulfilling. Putting his name to paper, sealing his future for the next several years is something Huff won’t soon forget.

“It means everything to me because of the countless hours of work I’ve put into kicking between practice, camps and work on my own,” Huff said. “Seeing it pay off in the end and being able to play a sport I love for another four years is a blessing.”

When looking for a university to continue your education and athletic career can be a daunting task. With so much information available, sometimes all it takes is a visit before you know where you want to be. For Huff, that is exactly what he found at Evangel.

“Evangel attracted me the minute I stepped on campus because of how upfront they were with me about how things were going to be in college,” Huff said. “My education was a big part of my decision, so I wanted to go somewhere with a great pre-nursing program. Evangel’s partnership with the local hospital will provide a great learning opportunity that allows more hands-on experience.”

Huff was quick to point out that his time at Joplin High School was instrumental in developing him into a collegiate student-athlete. His time as an Eagle is something he will always cherish because it gave him an understanding of the work ethic needed to be successful.

“High school workouts were so much different than I expected,” Huff said. “The level of intensity is heightened because our football coaching staff knows they represent the whole community of Joplin and want to make them proud. Because of this, I was able to develop into a much stronger, faster athlete by taking weight lifting all four years of high school along with speed school and preseason workouts for football.”

PREP HOOPS: A look at area Class 4-6 district tournaments

District tournaments for prep basketball teams competing in Class 4-6 concluded on Friday.

Below is a quick look at district tournaments of local interest. 




Monday’s semifinals

(1) Kickapoo 88, (4) Joplin 28

(2) Republic 63, (3) Carthage 31

Thursday’s title game

Kickapoo 81, Republic 73

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 10



Tuesday’s semifinals

(1) McDonald County 57, (4) Monett  15

(2) Logan-Rogersville 28, (3) Neosho 17

Thursday’s title game

McDonald County 51, Rogersville 49

Sectional Opponent: District 12 champion on March 10



Monday’s semifinals

(1) Carl Junction 66, (4) Harrisonville 31

(3) Webb City 59, (2) Nevada 48

Thursday’s title game

Carl Junction 55, Webb City 52

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 10



Tuesday’s quarterfinals

(5) Cassville 32, (4) East Newton 23

(3) Seneca 44, (6) Reeds Spring 33

Thursday’s semifinals

(1) Mount Vernon 57, Cassville 22

Seneca 66, (2) Aurora 53

Saturday’s title game

Seneca at Mt. Vernon at 1:30 

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 10




Tuesday’s semifinals

(1) Kickapoo 87, (4) Carthage 41

(2) Republic 80, (3) Joplin 72

Friday’s title game

Kickapoo 52, Republic 44

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 9



Monday’s semifinals

(1) Logan-Rogersville 64, (4) McDonald County 51

(2) Neosho 46, (3) Monett 35

Wednesday’s title game

Rogersville 77, Neosho 49

Sectional Opponent: District 12 champion on March 9



Tuesday’s semifinals

(1) Webb City 89, (4) Carl Junction 71

(2) Nevada 58, (3) Harrisonville 41

Friday’s title game

Nevada 52, Webb City 49

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 9



Monday’s quarterfinals

(4) Aurora 83, (5) Seneca 43

(3) Reeds Spring 43, (6) Cassville 24

Wednesday’s semifinals

(1) East Newton 69, Aurora 42 

(2) Mount Vernon 48, Reeds Spring 36

Friday’s title game

East Newton 66, Mount Vernon 58

Sectional Opponent: District 11 champion on March 9

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Missouri Southern sweeps Missouri S&T

The Missouri Southern softball program completed a sweep of Missouri S&T tonight to conclude the Teri Mathis Zenner Tournament at the Pat Lipira Softball Complex.

The Lions won the opener 9-1 and the second game 16-8.

Southern (3-1) picked up wins from Abby Atkin and Kara Amos, as Amos also finished the day going 3-of-5 with a pair of RBI’s and runs scored.

Game One had Leighton Withers start the scoring with a sacrifice fly to score Josie Tofpi in the fourth. Southern broke out in the fifth inning starting with a two-RBI single by Lynlee Parrott before Parrott scored off a fielding error by the Miners’ first baseman. Amos laid down a sac bunt that would score Tofpi, and Kristen Wade singled home Tori Frazier who pitch ran for Withers.

Tofpi singled home Yazmin Vargas, and Ashlynn Williams drove in the final two runs in the sixth off a double to right center.

Atkin started the game and went five full innings striking out four Miners and limiting them to six hits and an earned run.

Game Two featured an hour-long weather delay in the middle of the fourth inning that saw the Lions come out swinging after the time off.

Going into the fourth inning the Lions had just scored four in the third as Tofpi singled home Vargas. Williams repeated the feat scoring Tofpi, and Sidnie Hurst had a two-RBI double up the middle scoring Williams and Kayla Arzate.

The Miners (0-6) pushed across five runs in the fourth scoring twice once the game resumed. In turn the Lions scored nine runs off nine hits. Tofpi got the scoring started with a double and advanced on the throw to third and scored Parrott and Vargas.

Amos hit a single to score Williams, Frazier singled up the middle to score Kristen Wade, Parrot doubled through the left side scoring Frazier and later Vargas on a fielding error by the left fielder. Withers capped off the inning with a single up the middle to score Parrott.

The last two runs scored were a bases loaded walk and then a hit-by-pitch to run rule the Miners.

Amos switched over to pitcher following the resumption of play and picked up her second win of the season, pitching the last 2 2/3rds innings, striking out four and limiting S&T to three hits. Amos shutdown the Miners’ bats in the fifth and six innings striking out the side in the fifth.

Next up for the Lions is a road matchup with Newman on Friday, March 5 with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. in the opening MIAA double-header series.

COLLEGE TRACK & FIELD: PSU women in second, men in third at MIAA Indoor Championships

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Pittsburg State University women’s indoor track & field team sit in second place heading into the final day of the 2021 MIAA Indoor Championships Sunday, while the Gorilla men are in third place after Saturday’s action.

The Pitt State women have compiled 45 points at the Washburn Indoor Athletic Facility to trail day one lead University of Central Missouri by 12 points.

The Pitt State men have scored 28 points in the meet thus far. Missouri Southern State University leads with 57 points and Central Missouri is second with 38.

Championship Sunday starts at 11 a.m. (CST) with the conclusion of the men’s heptathlon. Field events begin at 1 p.m. and running events start at 2 p.m.

In Saturday’s action, Haven Lander captured an MIAA title and set a new Pitt State indoor record in the women’s pole vault with a winning clearance of 13 feet, 10 inches and Asia Anderson captured the MIAA title in the long jump (19-2.5). Trace Mosby finished as the MIAA runner-up in the pentathlon with 3,858 compiled points and Hannah Honeyman raced to a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters in 17:48.32.

For the Pitt State men, the distance medley relay of Connar Southard, Graham Hudelson, Matt Wilson and Mason Strader captured the MIAA title with a winning time of 9:48.91. The relay shattered the Pitt State school record as well as the MIAA meet record.

Konner Swenson placed fourth in the weight throw (61-4.75), Cameron Wright finished fifth in the pole vault (16-1.25) and Bryce Grahn placed fifth in the 5,000 meters (14:30.20).

WOMEN’S HOOPS: Southern women earn postseason bid with win over UCO

The Missouri Southern women’s basketball team used a strong fourth quarter and secured a berth in the 2021 MIAA Basketball Tournament as the Lions defeated Central Oklahoma 67-57 tonight inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. 

The Lions (9-13) will be the No. 8 seed and will travel to Fort Hays State to take on the Tigers in an opening round game on Wednesday night at 6 pm inside Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. 

Southern was led offensively by Layne Skiles with 13 points, while Madi Stokes and Amaya Johns scored ten each. Stokes added 14 rebounds and three blocks, while Carley Turnbull added nine points of her own. 

The Bronchos (14-8) were led by 12 points from Jaci Littell. 

The Lions opened up a 7-3 lead early on in the first quarter but UCO tied it at seven with just under seven minutes to go. A three from Kaitlin Hunnicutt with three minutes left put the Lions up 14-9, and a pair of freebies from Biance Stocks with 2:22 on the clock gave the Lions an 18-9 lead. UCO crept back, however, but the Lions led 18-17 after one. 

Skiles opened up the second quarter with a three and a jumper from Johns with 7:49 left made the score 23-17, Lions. A free throw from Stocks pushed the Southern lead to ten (30-20) with 2:48 to go, but the Bronchos again crept back and the Lions led 33-29 at the break. 

The two teams were back-and-forth throughout the third quarter but a layup from Stokes with 19 seconds left put the Lions up four going into the fourth. In the fourth, the Lions out scored the Bronchos 20-14 with the majority of the deficit coming late as the Lions made their free throws down the stretch. 

The Lions shot 40 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line. Rebounds were even at 37 with the Lions holding a 10-8 advantage on the offensive boards. 

Southern will be back in action this Wednesday as the Lions open up the MIAA Tournament with a trip to Hays, Kan. Tip off against the Tigers is set for 6 pm. 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Southern falls to UCO in OT thriller

The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team dropped an overtime thriller today, falling 105-101 in overtime to visiting Central Oklahoma on Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. 

The Lions (13-9) finish in a tie for third with Missouri Western, but lose the tie breaker and will be the 4th seed in the MIAA Tournament. Southern will play host to these very same Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Wednesday at 6 pm in an opening round game. 

Five Lions scored in double-figures, led by 25 points from Stan Scott. Scott added five assists and six rebounds, while Lawson Jenkins had six threes for 20 points of his own. Cam Martin scored 19 points and went over 2,000 career points, currently sitting with 2,009 at MSSU. He added nine rebounds and a team-high six assists. 

Christian Bundy had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while RJ Smith scored 12 points of his own, adding in nine boards. 

The Lions jumped out to a 16-5 lead after a jumper from Yahizhan Selcuk with 15:07 left in the first half. The lead was 11 again after a jumper from Scott with 11 minutes to go and the Lions led by 10 after two free throws from Martin with eight to go. UCO got within three with 3:23 left on the clock, but the Lions pushed the lead back up to eight (41-33) with 37 seconds to go and led by seven at the break. 

Southern led by 12 (60-48) with 14 minutes to go, and by ten with 12 minutes left, but UCO went on a 14-4 run and tied the game at 67 with nine minutes to go. Southern trailed briefly, but went back ahead and led by four (82-78) with three minutes to go. UCO tied and went ahead as the two teams traded baskets down the stretch. The Lions had a chance at the buzzer, but couldn’t get the shot to go. 

In the overtime period, the Lions led 96-93 with three minutes left, but UCO went on a 6-0 run to lead 99-96 with a minute to go. A three from Smith tied it, but the Bronchos hit a 3 the next trip down and didn’t look back. 

The Lions shot 47 percent from the field and hit 75 percent of their free throws. 

The two teams will be right back at it this Wednesday night as the Lions play host to the Bronchos in a first-round game of the 2021 MIAA Tournament. Tip off from Robert Corn Court inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center is set for 6 pm. 


SECTIONAL WRESTLING: Large group of area athletes advance to state


A large group of Joplin area high school wrestlers advanced to their respective state tournaments with their performances on Saturday at sectional meets. 

At the sectional, the top three finishers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament.

The state tournaments will run from March 9-13 and will be held at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence. 




OZARK, Mo. — Competing in Class 4’s Sectional 3 at Ozark High School, Joplin and Carthage combined to advance eight athletes to the state tournament on March 13. 



The Eagles had two state-qualifiers. 

Sam Melton advanced to state by finishing as the runner-up at 106 pounds. Waynesville’s William Austin earned a 3-1 decision over Melton in the bracket’s title bout. 

With a trip to state on the line, Josiah Vaughn won the third-place match at 132 pounds. Vaughn earned a 4-1 decision over Jefferson City’s Hunter Walling. 

Sectional qualifiers who were unable to record a top-three finish were Rocky Walker (126), Drew VanGilder (170), Scott Lowe (195) and Gunner Price (285). 

VanGilder and Price both advanced to the consolation semifinals, where they suffered season-ending setbacks. 



The Carthage Tigers had six wrestlers advance. 

The Tigers had two individual champions—Davion King and Luke Gall. 

King was the champion at 145 pounds, pinning Ozark’s Brock Sundlie in the title bout. 

In the 182-pound title bout, Gall earned a 6-2 decision over Raymore-Peculiar’s Coleton McElliott.

Dagan Sappington was the runner-up at 132 after falling in the title match to Ozark’s Elijah Maskrod.

Advancing by winning third-place matches were Bradyn Tate (113), Eli Sneed (138) and Braxdon Tate (152).

Another Tiger came up one win short of moving on, as Carlos Reyes fell in the third-place match at 120 pounds. 




WILLARD, Mo. — The Joplin area had a solid showing at the Class 3 Sectional 3 tourney at Willard High School. 

The Neosho Wildcats had eight wrestlers advance to state, while McDonald County had four athletes move on to the state event on March 12.

Carl Junction and Webb City had two qualifiers apiece. 



Claiming sectional championships for the Wildcats were Raymond Hembree (106), Hayden Crane (132), Cayden Auch (160) and Jeremiah Larson (195).

Auch is now 46-0 this season, while Larson is 41-0.

Finishing second in their brackets were Landon Kivett (120), Trent Neece (152) and Eric Holt (170).

Eli Zar won the third-place match at 145.



Carl Junction’s Jesse Cassatt was the champion at 182 pounds, improving his record to 46-0. Cassatt beat Rolla’s Hayden Fane 6-3 in the title bout. 

Lukas Walker won the third-place match at 106, beating Willard’s Noah Agcaoili 6-0. 

Falling short in a deciding third-place match at 145 was Cole Stewart.

Max Matthews (113), Keaton Colburn (120), Dylan Frazier (126), Dexter Merrell (138), Lucas Watkins (152), Chance Benford (170), Cayden Bolinger (195), Brennan Carey (220) and Kameron Bennett (285) competed, but were unable to advance. 



Jacob Ott was the runner-up at 195 pounds. Ott dropped a 7-1 decision to Neosho’s Larson in the title bout. 

Webb City’s Roger Carranco won the third-place match at 182 pounds with an 8-4 decision over Glendale’s Colman Ebisch. 

Also competing but unable to advance were Colton Taylor (120), Dominic Boles (132), Brayden Hollingsworth (160) and Jackson Ward (170). 



McDonald County’s Blaine Ortiz was the champ at 113 pounds, improving to 31-2.

Levi Smith was the runner-up at 132, while Jayce Hitt took second at 285. Also moving on was Sam Murphy, who placed third at 220. 

Murphy edged Neosho’s Jacob Fry 3-2.




SENECA, Mo. — Seneca is sending eight athletes to the Class 2 state tournament on March 11.

Competing in Class 2 Sectional 3, Seneca’s Brady Roark (106), Kendon Pollard (126) and Zane Cotten (195) gave the Indians three individual champions. 

Roark improved his season record to 40-1, while Pollard is 28-2 and Cotten is 31-1. 

Clayton Swadley (145) and Gabriel Commons (170) finished second in their respective brackets.

Winning the crucial third-place matches for the Indians were Brayden Thiel (120), Andrew Manley (132) and Dane Napier (182).

Jakob Tate finished fourth at 220. 



Monett, Cassville and Nevada also had top-three finishers on Saturday at Seneca High School. 

Monett’s Elias Barrientos was the champ at 152, while Ethan Umfleet took first at 182 and Harrison Merriman was the champion of the heavyweight division.  

The Cubs’ runners-up were Simon Hartline (106), Ben Bluel (132) and Corbin McCully (160), giving Monett six qualifiers. 

Cassville’s Zach Coenen was the champion at 220 pounds, improving to 25-3, his team’s lone qualifier. 

Cassville’s Gabe Hunter (138) and Jake Anthonysz (145) fell one win short of advancing. 

Nevada’s Kynndrick Brooks placed third at 106, while Braylin Brooks took third at 113, giving the Tigers two qualifiers.




VERSAILLES, Mo. — Competing at Class 1 Sectional 2, Diamond’s Landon Clement was the champ at 182, while teammate Tyler May was the runner-up at 220. 

Ty Douglas was Diamond’s third qualifier. He finished third at 195. 



The girls tournament will be held on March 9. 

As far as the boys tournaments, Class 1 is slated for March 10 and Class 2 is March 11. The Class 3 event is March 12, with the Class 4 event to be held on March 13. 

Matches begin at 9:30 a.m. each day, with championship matches scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. 

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Crowder splits with Iowa Western

NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College split a twinbill against Iowa Western, falling 8-6 in the opener before earning a 7-4 win in the nightcap on Saturday at Lallemand Family Field. 



Iowa Western crossed home in each of the first four innings to build a 5-3 lead over Crowder (7-4). Iowa Western used a three-run top of the sixth to push the lead to 8-3. The Roughriders scored once in the bottom of the fifth and twice in the seventh before the rally was ended.

Evan O’Toole earned the win after allowing four runs on eight hits, one walk and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. 

Kaleb Hill took the loss after giving up six runs, three earned, on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts in five innings of work.

Noah Hull led Iowa Western at the plate with a 2-for-3 game, closing with two runs scored and one RBI.

Logan Chambers, Clayton Gray and Rod Criss all had two hits for the Crowder. Chambers had a double and an RBI, while Criss scored twice and drove in one.



Crowder used single tallies in the second, third and fourth innings to build a 3-1 lead. The Roughriders pushed across three runs in the sixth inning to make the score 6-1. Iowa Western scored three times in the eighth to cut the lead to two, but Crowder added an insurance run in the bottom half of the frame before closing out the win.

James Hicks earned the win after limiting Iowa Western to one run on give hits and eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Breven Yarbro earned the save after striking out two in one inning.

Conner Mackay took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits, three walks and five strikeouts in four innings.

Logan Chambers had two hits and RBI for Crowder, while Rod Criss went 2-for-2 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. 

Benjamin Palmer homered for Iowa Wester, while Spencer Parker and Auggie Rasmusen doubled.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Southern sweeps doubleheader against Emporia State

The 18th-ranked Missouri Southern baseball team got a pair of wins today against Emporia State as the Lions swept a double-header from the Hornets at Warren Turner Field. 

Southern (8-0, 2-0 MIAA) got a win in game one from Zach Parish and another win in the finale from Zac Shoemaker. Cole Woods picked up the save in Game 1, while Chase Beiter got the save in game two. 

In the opener, the Lions scored single runs in each of the second, fourth and fifth innings. Troy Gagan started it, picking up a run on a wild pitch in the second, and Gagan singled home Tommy Stevenson in the fourth to make it 2-0. Jordan Fitzpatrick then doubled home Henry Kusiak in the fifth for the final tally. 

Parish went eight and a third innings, striking out 13 and walking just one, while scattering five hits. Woods finished up the shutout with a pair of strikeouts to the only two batters he faced. 

Gagan went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while Kusiak, Fitzpatrick, Stevenson and Clay Milas had a hit each. 

Game 2 saw Emporia State (2-4, 0-2 MIAA) score first with a run in the opening frame. Gagan, however, answered with a home run in the second to tie it up. The Hornets went up 2-1 in the third, but the Lions got an RBI single from Milas to score Gagan in the fourth to tie it again. After ESU went ahead in the fifth, 3-2, the Lions picked up two runs in the sixth to put the game away. Gagan scored on a balk and Milas scored on a sacrifice fly from Matt Miller

Shoemaker started and went seven and a third, striking out six to pick up the win. Beiter threw the final inning and two thirds, striking out three to pick up the save. 

Gagan had three runs in the game, while Kusiak and Milas had a pair of hits each. 

The two teams will be back at it tomorrow with the finale being played at 1 pm.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Gorillas split on the first day of Washburn Invitational

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Pittsburg State softball team split a pair of games at the Washburn University Invitational on Saturday.

The Gorillas rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat McKendree University 10-2 in their first game of the day. Pitt State dropped a 6-0 decision to the University of Sioux Falls in game two.

The Gorillas will wrap up tournament action Sunday with a noon game against the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a 2 p.m. game against Wayne State College.

In Game 1 on Saturday, Madison Szymanski and Keelah Griffith each homered for the Gorillas. Szymanski went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Griffith went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI. Kylee Bohle also went 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Taylor Compton (2-1) earned the win. She allowed four hits and two earned runs in 5.0 innings of work. Lauren Florez worked two hitless innings of relief in the contest.

In Game 2, the Gorillas were limited to four hits in the contest. Kaylee Burns (0-2) took the loss in the circle, allowing six runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings of

MEN’S HOOPS: Newman defeats Gorillas to end season and postseason hopes

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Joel Boyce’s driving layup with 18 seconds to play gave Newman the lead, as the Jets held off the Pittsburg State men’s basketball team in the waning seconds for a 79-77 victory Saturday at John Lance Arena.

The loss ended the Gorillas’ season with a 10-12 record and prevented Pittsburg State from advancing to the MIAA Postseason Tournament. Newman ended its season with a 4-18 record.

Martin Vogts led four Pittsburg State players in double figures with 16 points. Antonio Givens II (15), Cameron Huefner (15) and Quentin Hardrict Jr. (13) also fnished in double-digit scoring. Hardrict added a game-high eight assists to his scoring line. Bobby Arthur-Williams Jr. chipped in with nine points and six rebounds.

Ian Lee scored a game high 23 points to pace Newman. Boyce added 16 points and Branden Bunn finished with 14.

WOMEN’S HOOPS: PSU women wrap regular season with win

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team fought off an upset bid by Newman in the game’s final minutes, as the Gorillas defeated the Jets 69-61 at John Lance Arena on Saturday.

Kaylee DaMitz scored a game-high 25 points in the regular season finale and became the 24th player in program history to eclipse 1,000-career points. Carthage product Maya Williams added 10 points in her final home game, while Tristan Gegg added 12 points and five rebounds.

Pittsburg State ends the regular season with a 14-8 record and will advance to the MIAA Postseason Tournament next week. Newman ends its season with a 4-18 record.

HISTORIC WIN: Big second half leads College Heights Christian boys to first-ever district title

WEBB CITY, Mo. — A stunning second half comeback led the College Heights Christian boys basketball team to a historic victory.

Third-seeded College Heights overcame an early 11-point deficit and used a dominant second half to knock off top-seeded Liberal 69-45 on Friday in the championship game of the Class 2 District 12 tournament at Webb City High School.

It’s College Heights’ first-ever district championship in boys basketball. 

“I don’t honestly think I can put it into words,” College Heights sophomore Curtis Davenport said when asked about his team’s accomplishment. “It means so much to us because we’ve been working so hard to get here. I’m speechless honestly.” 

“This is the first time the boys team has ever been in a district championship game,” College Heights coach Eric Johnson said. “We’re real excited for these kids and for the school. Not everybody gets to enjoy this type of opportunity.”

College Heights will meet District 11 champion Crane at 6 on Tuesday in a sectional contest at Carthage.

It was a tale of two halves for College Heights.

Things weren’t looking good, as the Cougars trailed 29-18 in the second quarter and were down 33-27 at the break. 

But College Heights outscored Liberal 42-12 in the second half. 

The remarkable turnaround resulted in a win to remember for the Cougars. 

“The first half was a little rough, but in the second half, we came out and blew the doors open and the rest is history,” Davenport said. “We didn’t have the best first half, but we were going to come out and change that. We tried to pound the ball inside, get every rebound and get easy layups.”

College Heights used a 21-4 third quarter surge to take control. 

“They out-played us in the first half on both ends of the floor,” Johnson said. “We looked nervous in the first half. We’ve never been in this situation. We just had to pick up the intensity on defense. We didn’t chew them out at halftime. We just told them what we needed to do better. They went out and did it. I think the intensity picked up and we extended our defense more than we did in the first half. That caused them a lot of problems. We got the ball to the hole and we had the size advantage and we took advantage of it. All of our kids stepped up.”


In a stellar performance, the 6-foot-5 Davenport had a double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Davenport made 9-of-13 field goal attempts and scored 14 points in the second half.

“I was really nervous before the game,” Davenport said. “I had butterflies in my stomach. I honestly felt like I was going to throw up. I just had to tell myself I was ready to go and ready to face anything out there.” 

Junior guard Miller Long scored 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting, with 16 coming in the second half. The 6-3 Long had a pair of dunks.

Hagen Beck, a 6-4 junior, scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and also grabbed eight boards. Ethan Meeks, a 6-6 junior, contributed 10 rebounds, while junior guard Ethan Adel had eight points and five assists. 

The Cougars made 28-of-54 field goal attempts (52 percent), with most of their shots coming in the paint, as CHC made only two 3-pointers. 

College Heights out-rebounded Liberal 48-29.

Caleb Suschnick scored 16 points to lead Liberal. Gunner Miller added nine points and seven rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 30 percent from the floor (16-of-54), including 7-of-26 from 3-point range. All seven made treys came in the first half. 



Liberal’s Suschnick was on fire in the first period, scoring 11 points with three treys, but the Cougars stayed within striking distance. 

Hoops from Adel and Davenport cut Liberal’s lead to 17-14 by the end of the first quarter. 

Beck had seven of College Height’s first 14 points, as the Bulldogs focused on limiting Long’s touches with a box-and-one defense.

The Bulldogs pulled away at 29-18 after a 7-0 run, but the Cougars regrouped after a timeout and rattled off five straight points to keep the deficit manageable.

Liberal’s Matt Boehne hit a long 3-pointer to give his team an eight-point cushion, but Adel’s hoop in the lane trimmed the Cougars’ deficit to 33-27 at intermission.

Liberal hit seven treys in the first half, but the Bulldogs did not make a trey after the break. 

Things suddenly changed in the third period, as fired-up College Heights outscored Liberal 21-4 in the game-changing quarter.

College Heights began the second half on a 17-2 run to take a 44-35 lead. The spurt was capped by Long’s steal and two-handed dunk, Long’s old-fashioned 3-point play and Beck’s hoop in transition.

The Cougars led 48-37 entering the fourth quarter. 

College Heights converted the first eight points of the final frame, with a Long trey capping the run, to give the Cougars a comfortable 56-37 lead.

Early in the final frame, Liberal had made just one field goal in the second half against the taller Cougars.  

The night ended with the Cougars celebrating a historic win. 

“I’m not going to lie, this feels awesome,” Davenport said. “We’re a tight-knit group and this means a lot to us.” 


GIRLS HOOPS: Foul trouble plagues College Heights in season-ending loss to Greenfield

WEBB CITY, Mo. — The College Heights Christian girls basketball team was unable to overcome foul trouble on Friday night. 

As a result, a stellar season came to an abrupt end.

Second-seeded Greenfield finished the first half on a 16-0 run and then held off top-seeded College Heights down the stretch for a 58-44 victory in the championship game of the Class 2 District 12 tournament inside Webb City High School’s Cardinal Dome. 

Five College Heights players fouled out of the game, including four senior starters — Catie Secker, Lainey Lett, Grace Bishop and Kaynahn Burk.  

“We take full responsibility for the loss, but we got into early foul trouble with some calls that probably shouldn’t have been called,” College Heights coach John Blankenship said. “Because of our foul trouble, we tried to let a few minutes pass by before we got into our press. Because of our foul trouble, we couldn’t press. You saw at the end of the game, when we extended our pressure, we created some turnovers and got back into the game. If we could have done that from the start, it might have been a different outcome. Credit Greenfield. They played well tonight.” 

College Heights was whistled for 32 fouls, while Greenfield was called for 20. The Wildcats shot 43 free throws, making 23. The Cougars, who were attempting to repeat as district champs, went to the charity stripe 21 times, with 15 makes. 

“Catie Secker picked up a couple of really quick fouls and couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Blankenship said. “We had an advantage in the post. I thought we should have been to the free-throw line a few more times. But we had to play through that.” 

The Cougars end the season with a record of 22-3. College Heights won a Ozark 7 Conference title and captured three tournament championships this winter (Gem City Classic, Lancer Classic, Warrior Classic). 

“I could not be more proud, we’ve had such a great season with a lot of accomplishments,” Blankenship said. 

Taking the court for the final time in a CHC uniform were Bishop, Secker, Lett and Burk. 

All four seniors played key roles as the Cougars advanced to a district championship game for three straight seasons. 

“I love these seniors,” Blankenship said. “I could not be more proud of them. They have meant so much to our program. It was tough in the locker room…saying our goodbyes. They’ve been so instrumental the last two years and even when they were sophomores. It’s always great to get a district championship when you have a team that can win it. So we’re disappointed.” 



College Heights led 7-1 when Greenfield rattled off seven straight points.

Bishop’s two free throws gave the Cougars a 9-8 lead at the end of the low-scoring first period.

A bucket in the lane from Lett gave CHC a 15-13 advantage, but that’s when Greenfield got going in a big way.

The Wildcats scored 16 unanswered points, with five different players scoring in the surge for a 29-15 halftime lead.

Greenfield then scored the first five points of the second half, capping 21 unanswered, to take a 34-15 advantage. 

Secker and Lett both fouled out in the third quarter and Greenfield took its largest lead at 41-19.

Down 43-23 early in the fourth quarter, College Heights didn’t quit. 

The Cougars put together a 13-3 burst, trimming their deficit to seven with three minutes to play.

However, CHC’s Bishop and Burk fouled out. The Wildcats scored five unanswered points to gain some breathing room.

Jayli Johnson’s hoop cut Greenfield’s lead to eight with a minute to play, but the Wildcats closed the game by making 7-of-8 at the charity stripe.

Blankenship noted he was proud of the way his team, which had a number of reserves on the floor, battled back in the fourth quarter. 

“They played hard all the way through,” Blankenship said. “Give Greenfield credit. They played well and shot the ball well. No. 12 (Marlie Wright) is a great player. She’s very quick and hard to defend. Our younger kids came in and fought hard and played well. Hopefully this will motivate them to keep working hard for next year.” 


A sophomore guard, Johnson led College Heights with 18 points, while Bishop scored 12 on 5-of-9 shooting.

Lett had seven points, while sophomore Addie Lawrence contributed five points and 12 rebounds before becoming the fifth CHC player to foul out. 

Sophomore guard Marlie Wright poured in 28 points for the Wildcats. She made 8-of-10 field goal attempts and 10-of-12 foul shorts. 

Tatum Torres added 11 points and 17 rebounds for Greenfield. 

College Heights entered the night ranked fourth in Class 2 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, while Greenfield is ranked seventh. 

According to the school’s Twitter account, it’s Greenfield’s first district title in 26 years.

Greenfield (21-6) will meet District 11 champion Blue Eye (22-5) on Wednesday in the sectional round. 


BOYS HOOPS: Thomas Jefferson builds early cushion and holds off McAuley to win the Class 1 District 7 title

LAMAR, Mo. — Top-seeded Thomas Jefferson built a double-digit cushion by the intermission and staved off second-seeded McAuley in the second half on the way to a 55-43 win to clinch the Class 1 District 7 title.

The district championship is the first such win for the Cavaliers under coach Chris Myers.

“It means more for the kids than it does for me,” Coach Myers said with a smile. “I am not trying to discount the fact that I’m not enjoying this because I absolutely am. But, I didn’t make a shot or make a pass. I didn’t do anything. These kids have been busting their butts since day one for three years now. I am just happy they were able to come together and get one.”

Despite the tough loss, first-year McAuley coach Tony Witt couldn’t have been more proud of his team and the season they had, as the Warriors made a return trip to the district finals for the first time since 2017.

“We kept telling them to trust the process,” Witt said. “So many kids nowadays want to start and have the end result. It looked pretty bleak in January for a little bit. They trusted the process, kept grinding every day and turned it around.

“With these seniors, being the fourth guy in four years, June was a little different. It took awhile for them to buy in. When they started to buy in, you saw the results. … They started to see improvement in practice, see things in game and saw it on film. They finally started to believe they could get here. We just ran into some really good competition.”

The Warriors graduate seniors Matthew Dohmen, Thomas Black, Daniel Wagner, Cade Englert and Joe Lupicki.

“For them to stick it out for four years with some of the trials and tribulations they’ve had, it says a lot about their character,” Witt said. “Without them, this year would have been completely different. I can’t thank them enough.”


A back-and-forth opening period saw the Cavaliers holding a four-point lead going into the second after closing the first eight minutes with a 3-pointer from Drew Goodhope and an inside score from Dhruv Gheewala to make the score 17-13.

Thomas Jefferson used a 9-3 run to start the second frame to build a 10-point lead, 26-16, with 4:51 to play in the first half. Gheewala started the run with a runout before earning a steal for another score in transition. Following a three-point play by McAuley’s Wagner, who converted a runner while drawing contact, Thomas Jefferson’s Noah Hamlett sank a 3-ball before Caden Myers earned a steal for a fast-break score to close the run with a double-digit advantage.

McAuley pushed back, scoring the next points to trim the lead back to two possessions, 26-22, with 3:35 on the clock. Wagner had an offensive board and putback before Black followed with his own offensive rebound and putback to go along with a reverse layup the next trip down the floor.

In what turned out to be a theme for the rest of the game, the Cavaliers had an answer for the Warriors’ momentum swings. Thomas Jefferson closed the first half on a 9-2 surge to take a 35-24 lead into halftime.

“I thought we played really well in the second quarter to extend that lead out to 11,” Coach Myers said. “From that point on, and even in the second quarter, it seemed like every time they went on a run we had an answer for it. We weren’t able to pull away, but we never folded under their runs.

“We felt like if we could get a lead, we would be able to control the tempo and the outcome of the game. In that regard, the boys did a good job of getting the lead and then a good job of holding onto it.”

The third quarter played out much as the first, with each team trading scores before consecutive scores from Wagner and Black brought McAuley within six, 42-36, with 68 seconds left in the quarter. Myers added one free throw and Goodhope knocked down three charities inside the final minute to restore TJ’s 10-point lead heading into the final quarter, 46-36.

A 3-pointer from Dohmen followed by a steal and fast-break bucket by Wagner cut the lead to 48-41 with 6:10 left in regulation.

“We knew they were going to come out swinging in the second half,” Coach Myers said. “Coach Witt has done a fantastic job with that program. They are a good, scrappy basketball team and there is no quit in them. … I thought we played well down the stretch to finish it out.”

The Cavaliers answered right back with a free throw from Goodhope, an offensive rebound on the missed charity and two more makes from the stripe by Caden Myers to send the lead back to 10 near the four-minute mark.

“You can’t (fall behind) against a good team,” Witt said about trying to rally back in the second half. “We were pushing there in the second quarter, trying to make some things happen, and we committed some silly turnovers. They made us pay. That is a sign of a very good, well-coached team. They took advantage of our mistakes.”

Gheewala came up with a steal and runout with the quarter in the waning stages to essentially put the final touches on the win.


Caden Myers, a top contributor for the Cavaliers and the son of Coach Myers, missed Thomas Jefferson’s district semifinals game against Rich Hill after suffering a knee injury in the season finale against Verona. After practicing on Thursday, Myers suited up for TJ and finished the game with 10 points.

“As a coach, I’m proud of any player willing to strap it up and do what they can to help the team,” Coach Myers said. “As a dad, it has a little bit more to it. You are proud of your kid and proud of your player. I thought he did a great job for us tonight. I was very proud of him.”


Goodhope led Thomas Jefferson with a game-high 19 points, while Gheewala closed with 14. To go along with Myers’ 10 points, Hamlett and Jay Ball added five each.

Wagner led McAuley with 17 points, while Black finished with eight points. Dohmen had seven, while Joe Staton had six.


Thomas Jefferson’s Gheewala and Myers were named to the all-district team. The McAuley representatives on the all-district selections were Wagner and Black.


Thomas Jefferson will take on the Miami Eagles in the sectional round of the state tournament. The matchup is set for 6 p.m. on March 2. The site is still to be determined. 

GIRLS HOOPS: McAuley rallies from double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to win Class 1 District 7 title

LAMAR, Mo. — With their backs against the wall trailing by double digits with less than seven minutes left in regulation, the top-seeded McAuley Warriors used a staunch defensive effort to rally back for a 41-37 win over second-seeded Hume to win the Class 1 District 7 title on Friday at Lamar High School.

“The first half, it felt good because I thought we played very good defense to hold them to 13 points,” McAuley coach Mike Howard said. “Our offense wasn’t going very well, but again, when we play good defense, we stay in ball games. In the second half, (Hume) made some good adjustments and built that lead up. 

“We had to make some adjustments in the fourth quarter and switched to a man (defense). We went full court to press them a little bit to try and pressure them because there is no tomorrow. I told them in the huddle, ‘You guys have to give me everything you’ve got right now. I need traps, I need turnovers and I need points in transition’ because we were not scoring in our halfcourt offense. That’s what they did. They have tremendous heart and I am so happy for them.”

The win over Hume marks the second straight district championship for the Warriors, who defeated Dadeville a year ago in the Class 1 District 5 title game.

“It is a testament to their hard work, their heart and not quitting when down facing adversity,” Howard said. “We have a pretty veteran team. Our upperclassmen have played in three district championships in a row now. They know what comes with this game. They know the challenges in this game, and they know it’s not going to be easy.”

Hume opened the fourth quarter with a 27-23 lead and scored the first six points to push the margin to 33-23 at the 6:40 mark.

McAuley whittled the score down to four, 37-33, following a Kennedy DeRuy offensive rebound and putback score with less than four minutes to play. 

With the lead down to two possessions and time dwindling, the Warriors turned to the press-and-trap defense. McAuley forced the Hornets into turnovers more than seven times down the stretch, keeping them completely off the scoreboard in the process.

“I give a lot of credit to our crowd,” Howard said. “When we were able to get those turnovers, playing that hard on defense, the crowd really got into it. I think that gave them an extra jolt of energy. They were able to sustain that through the rest of the quarter.”

Lily Black knocked down a jumper from the elbow with 2:30 left to trim the lead to 37-35. Black came up with a steal on the other end, which turned into a transition layup for Kayleigh Teeter to tie the game at 37-37 with 2:10 to play.

After another Hume turnover, Teeter found herself at the charity stripe with a chance to give the Warriors the lead for the first time since the first half. Teeter converted both free throws to put McAuley on top 39-37 with 2:20 to play.

Teeter came up with a steal on defense, with Kloee Williamson knocking down one of her two shots at the stripe to make it a three-point game, 40-37, with 40 ticks left. Teeter added another free throw with 12.9 seconds on the clock to push the lead to two possessions, sealing the district win in the process.

“I think with experience, it’s just having heart and not wanting to give up,” Teeter said. “Not wanting this to be the last game I play with the seniors we have now. I just want to keep playing with them and keep fighting until the end.”

“They are a young team,” Teeter added about her team’s defense down the stretch. “They haven’t been in a district championship, I don’t think. Applying that pressure kind of got to them. They are an amazing team, but it really just worked out for us. Defensively, we just didn’t want to give up on this game until the buzzer hit.”


After going 8-for-31 at the free-throw line in McAuley’s win over Rich Hill in the semifinals, the Warriors bounced back by converting 17-of-27 shots from the stripe against Hume. The Warriors made eight free throws as a team in the fourth quarter.

“That was a big emphasis in practice yesterday,” Howard said with a smile. “I am not kidding when I say we probably shot free throws for 40 minutes. And they had a disciple to where if they missed a free throw, they had to run a wall. So, they really had to focus because they didn’t like running. I think that carried over into (this game). Once one or two started falling, everyone started getting confident.”


Teeter entered the fourth quarter with six points. She doubled that effort alone in the fourth quarter after putting up 12 points down the stretch to finish with a team-high 18 points, fueling the comeback on offense for her team.

“That kid has more heart than a lot of people I’ve ever coached,” Howard said of Teeter’s play. “I looked at her and told her this is when I needed her to rise to the occasion. I said, ‘You’re our leader. We have to have you step up and make plays now.’ That is what she did. She played a tremendous fourth quarter, probably the best fourth quarter in her whole three years here.”

DeRuy also closed the game in double figures, scoring 10 points in the win. Black added seven points for the Warriors.

Brecklen Morrison led Hume with a game-high 22 points, 14 of which came in the second half.


McAuley’s Teeter and DeRuy were named to the all-district team, while Thomas Jefferson’s Sydney Stamps was also a selection. 


McAuley will battle Montrose (12-6) in the sectional round of the Class 1 state tournament. The game will tip at 6 p.m. on March 3. The location is still to be determined.


WOMEN’S HOOPS: Gorillas fall to Hornets

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Daley Handy and Fredricka Sheats combined for 35 points to lead the Emporia State women’s basketball team to a 65-58 road win over Pittsburg State on Thursday at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

Handy scored a game-high 18 points for ESU (17-4, 17-4 MIAA), including a key 3-pointer with 25 seconds that extended the Lady Hornets lead to 63-58. Sheets, who gave ESU the lead for good at 55-54 with a 3-pointer with 2:59 to go, sealed the win with a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the game.

Pitt State (13-8, 13-8 MIAA) led by as many as 14 points, 29-15, midway through the second quarter but the Lady Hornets outscored the Gorillas 16-2 the rest of the period to knot the score at 31-31 at intermission.

Kaylee DaMitz led four Pitt State players in double figures with 14 points. Tristan Gegg added 13 and Maya Williams and Sydnee Crain chipped in with 11 apiece.

Pitt State will close out the regular season by hosting Newman University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: PSU earns win over Hornets

EMPORIA, Kan. — The Pittsburg State University volleyball team posted a 3-1 victory over Emporia State University on Thursday at William L. White Auditorium. The Gorillas defeated the Lady Hornets, 25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19.

Pitt State is 1-2 on the young 2020-21 spring season. The Gorillas will travel to Warrensburg, Missouri, on Friday to take on the University of Central Missouri at 6 p.m. at the UCM Multipurpose Building.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: No. 18 Missouri Southern Lions set to host Emporia State

The 18th-ranked Missouri Southern baseball team will open up MIAA play and play host to Emporia State this Saturday and Sunday at Warren Turner Field.

The Lions and Hornets will play a pair of games on Saturday beginning at 1 pm and the series finale will be Sunday afternoon at 1 pm.

Southern comes into the game ranked 18th nationally and leading the MIAA with a 6-0 overall record. Southern opened the regular season with a sweep at Flagler College in Florida and went 3-0 this past weekend playing host to the MIAA/GLVC Challenge with wins over Missouri S&T (2) and Missouri Western.

Will Bausinger was the MIAA Pitcher of the Week after getting the win in the finale this past Monday, striking out nine in five innings of work. Henry Kusiak hit .500 on the week, while the Lions had a pair of homers from Joe Kinder. The Lions have hit 13 home runs on the season as a team and have driven in 45 runs, while hitting .300 as a team. Kusiak leads the way at .417, while Dexter Swims leads the team with 10 RBIs.

Bausinger is 2-0 on the season and is second in strikeouts with 17. Zac Shoemaker (1-0) and Zach Parish (1-0) are tied at 18 K’s each.

Emporia State is 2-2 on the season as the Hornets split a four-game set at Colorado State – Pueblo this past weekend to open the season.


MEN’S HOOPS: Emporia State downs Pittsburg State

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Jumah’Ri Turner and Austin Downing combined or 49 points to lead the Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team to a 78-57 victory over Pittsburg State University Thursday (Feb. 25) at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

Turner scored a game high 27 points on 10-15 shooting for the Hornets (11-10, 11-10 MIAA), while Downing added 22 points and six assists in the contest. ESU built a 42-27 halftime advantage against Pitt State (10-11, 10-11 MIAA) and the Gorillas got as close as 10 points, 46-36, with 15:07 to go.

Antonio Givens II was the lone Gorillas player in double figures with 10 points. Quentin Hardrict Jr. added nine points, while Martin Vogts finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Bobby Arthur-Williams Jr. and Cameron Huefner chipped in with seven apiece.

The Gorillas will close out the regular season Saturday (Feb. 27) when they entertain Newman University at 3:30 p.m.