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CJ CLASSIC: Carl Junction, Seneca rally for wins in opening round action

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Carl Junction and Seneca will match up in the semifinals after each team shook off slow starts to rally for wins in the opening round of the CJ Classic on Monday. 

Seneca trailed by eight early before going on to beat Springdale, Arkansas, 61-48 in the third game of the day before Carl Junction rallied from a two-point first quarter to beat Neosho 48-34 in the nightcap to close the opening round as the hosts.



Neosho’s defense limited Carl Junction to a pair of free throws in the first quarter before the Bulldogs turned their season opener around with a game-changing run to open the second quarter that ultimately led to an insurmountable lead by the end of the third quarter in the win over the Wildcats (2-2).

“A win is a win and we will certainly take it,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said. “Neosho played their tails off. I thought our kids were a little nervous. We came out and didn’t shoot the ball real well. … There were some (good) spurts, but it’s early in the season and we have a lot of work to do. … We’ll take it and move on.”

Neosho held a 6-2 lead over Carl Junction at the end of the first quarter on two baskets from Karlee Ellick and a buzzer beater by Reagan McInturff.

The Bulldogs took the momentum out of the break with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Dezi Williams earned a steal and score on the break to kick off the run before she grabbed her own miss on the next possession and found Klohe Burk on the baseline for a jumper to tie the game at 6-6. Kylie Scott added a pair of makes at the charity stripe before a 3-pointer from the wing by Hali Shorter gave CJ an 11-6 lead.

“That was huge for us because we had to get some momentum going,” Shorter said of the run to start the second period. “We feel like we can score the ball, but sometimes our defense is going to have to create those opportunities for us and it did. That was a big piece for us in that run.”

Neosho tied the game at 11-11 with 3:05 left in the half on a wing 3-ball from Jayden Adams and an inside score by Ellick, but Carl Junction amped up the defense in the final three minutes and turned several turnovers into a five points from Burk, including a 3-pointer, and a basket from Williams to score the final seven points for an 18-11 lead at halftime.

The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 10, 23-13, with six minutes to play in the third quarter after a steal and fastbreak score by Scott. Carl Junction extended the lead to 16 late in the third with scores from Shorter and Destiny Buerge off consecutive Neosho turnovers. Scott grabbed an offensive board for a basket to make the score 36-20 to close the period.

“I think that was a little bit of the experience,” Shorter noted about his team’s ability to push the lead out in the third quarter. “This group has played in some big games throughout their careers. … We settled into some things, and we still have a long way to go but it was big to know what we wanted to do and to get it done.”

Neosho didn’t go away quietly, scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to single digits, 36-27. Beclynn Garrett opened the run with a 3-pointer before Raine Harris scored on the drive and Ellick added two free throws.

Carl Junction responded right back and ended any chance at a rally with seven unanswered points behind a defensive rebound turning into a coast-to-coast layup for Scott and five straight points from Ellie Lawson, including a triple from the wing with 3:30 left in regulation to push the lead back out to 16 points, 43-27.

“That was big for our kids, especially for the youth that we have on this team,” Shorter added about his team’s late response to adversity. “They took that shot and just threw it right back at them. That was a big run for us.”


Scott had 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Williams, Lawson and Buerge each finished with seven. Shorter and Burk each closed with five points in the win.

Garrett scored 12 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers, to lead the Wildcats with 12 points. Ellick and Harris each finished with eight points in the loss.


Carl Junction takes on Seneca at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals on Tuesday, while Neosho battles Springdale in the consolation bracket at 5:30.



Seneca shook off a slow start before rallying behind a strong third quarter en route to a win over Springdale, Arkansas, in the opening round of the CJ Classic on Monday.

Springdale held an early 12-4 lead to open the game before Seneca rallied to close the first in a one-point deficit. The Indians opened the second half with all of the momentum, building a double digit lead they wouldn’t relinquish down the stretch.

Springdale jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter after starting the game on a 12-4 run thanks to a pair of baskets inside by Nevaeh Griffin and 3-pointers by Adriana Hernandez and Carolinda Hudson.

Aliya Grotjohn put the Indians on her back to close out the first quarter, rallying Seneca with a 7-0 run by herself to trim the deficit to 12-11 by the sound of the horn. Grotjohn had a pair of free throws to go along with a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to close the first quarter.

Parker Long scored on the inside out of the break to give Seneca its first lead of the game before six straight points from Springdale put the Bulldogs on top 18-13. The Indians responded with a 9-4, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Grotjohn that included a stepback to tie the game at 20-20. Both teams went into the intermission tied at 22.

The Indians took control of the game to open the second half, surging in front behind a 10-3 run. Long scored inside to start the run, while Hazley Grotjohn had two free throws. Aliya Grotjohn grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback bucket before knocking down a floater to close the run with the Indians sporting a 32-25 advantage.

Aliya Grotjohn sank a top-of-the-key 3-ball and added a score on the break to extend the margin to 37-27 with 3:40 left in the period. Hazley Grotjohn closed the third quarter with an old-fashioned three-point play before knocking down a floater to give Seneca a 42-31 lead starting the final period of play.

Seneca started the fourth quarter on an 8-3 run, including a 3-pointer from Aliya Grotjohn, to push the lead to 50-34 with 5:10 remaining in the contest.

Springdale rallied to cut the deficit to single digits, 50-41, thanks to a 7-0 run, with Hudson accounting for four of those points, but the Grotjohn sisters accounted for the next five points to give Seneca a 55-41 advantage, ending any chance at a comeback before the final horn.


Aliyah Grotjohn led all scorers with 31 points, while Hazley Grotjohn finished with 12. Long had six.

Hudson and Aubriana Wilson each scored 13 to lead Springdale. Hernandez finished with 11 points.


Seneca advances to face Carl Junction in the semifinal round with an 8:30 p.m. tip on Tuesday.


GIRLS BASKETBALL: Teeter’s big night leads McAuley to victory; CHC also wins at Gem City Classic

DIAMOND, Mo. — Kayleigh Teeter poured in a career-high 38 points as the McAuley Catholic girls basketball team rolled past Lockwood 67-27 on Monday at the Gem City Classic. 

A senior guard, Teeter made 15 field goals, with three 3-pointers, to go along with five free throws. She scored 22 points in the first half and added 16 in the second half. 

Kennedy DeRuy added 16 points for the Warriors, who are now 2-0. 

McAuley led 19-4 at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors were up 38-13 at halftime en route to the lopsided win. 

Adrien Neill scored 11 points for Lockwood. 

McAuley will meet College Heights Christian at 7:30 on Wednesday in the tourney’s semifinals. 

College Heights defeated Greenfield 38-32.

Libby Fanning scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Cougars (1-1).

Marlie Wright had 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals for Greenfield.

In Monday’s other Gem City Classic games, Diamond beat Southwest 49-21 and East Newton topped Sarcoxie 44-28.

Josie Guinn scored 12 points for East Newton and Makenna Braiser added 11.

Diamond and East Newton will meet at 6 on Wednesday. 

CJ CLASSIC: Joplin suffers first loss of ‘21-22 to hot-shooting Nevada; Mustangs fall to Vikings


CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The Joplin High School girls basketball team took the court on Monday with the goal of starting the 2021-22 season with three straight wins. 

The Nevada Tigers didn’t cooperate.

The 1-2 punch of Maddy Majors and Clara Swearingen combined for 43 points and led Nevada to a 50-41 victory over Joplin in an opening round contest of the 45th annual CJ Classic on Monday at Carl Junction High School.

It was Joplin’s first setback of the winter campaign after a pair of victories.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but the disappointing part is having to coach effort,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “If we’re ever going to change what we are as a program, we’ve got to come with effort. Defensively, it’s too easy to stand and watch. This is our third game and it’s the third game where we were out-rebounded by a smaller team. The girls have to make the decision of what kind of team we want to be. We’re going to have to change our bad habits if we hope to become the team we want to be.” 

Joplin’s Ella Hafer drives to the hoop against Nevada’s Maddy Majors during Monday’s opener of the CJ Classic. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Backcourt mates Majors and Swearingen proved to be a dynamic duo for the Tigers, who improved to 2-0. 

A 5-foot-6 junior guard, Majors scored 23 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead Nevada. A 5-8 sophomore guard, Swearingen added 20 points and knocked down three treys. 

“Clara got into foul trouble early, so we had to lean on Maddy,” Nevada coach Blake Howarth said. “She finished with 23 points and that’s what she’s capable of. But it was a complete team effort. To play defense like we did, it’s a huge hats off to all of the girls. It’s a sloppy win and we have some things we can improve on.”

Senior guard Brooke Nice scored 15 points and hit a trio of 3-pointers to lead Joplin. Senior forwards Emma Floyd and Ella Hafer added nine and eight points, respectively, for the Eagles, while junior guard Brynn Driver contributed seven points. 

Facing a 1-3-1 defense, the Tigers caught fire from beyond the arc in the second quarter, as two 3-pointers from Swearingen and a trey from Majors gave Nevada a 26-15 advantage with 3:38 remaining in the first half. 

“Nevada did a great job of establishing the tempo early,” Coach Floyd said. “They had great ball movement and were able to get open looks for their shooters, who knocked down shots all game. I was disappointed in our effort. We were very slow on the defensive end and never really adjusted. Nevada simply out-worked us all game long.” 

However, the Eagles finished the first half on a 7-2 run, as Emma Floyd and Hafer recorded field goals before Nice knocked down a 3-pointer.

Nevada’s Clara Swearingen and Joplin’s Isabella Yust battle for a rebound during Monday’s game at Carl Junction. Photos by Shawn Fowler.

Nevada was up 28-22 at halftime, but the Eagles outscored the Tigers 11-8 in the third period. With that, the Tigers were clinging to a 36-33 lead after three quarters. 

Joplin pulled within two early in the final frame after a charity from Emma Floyd, but the Tigers finished strong. 

Nevada outscored Joplin 17-8 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. 

“We had a lot of single-digit losses last year and we returned a lot of experience this year,” Howarth said. “That experience showed tonight. We bent, but didn’t break. I’m just super proud of our girls.”

The Eagles (2-1) had their chances and were within striking distance all game, but they were unable to get over the hump.

“We battled back and we moved the ball pretty well,” Coach Floyd said. “But we missed too many free throws and way too many layups. And we can’t dig ourselves a hole before we decide to play.” 

Nevada meets Parkview in the semifinals at 7 on Tuesday night, while Joplin meets McDonald County at 4 in the consolation semifinals.

Joplin’s Brooke Nice hits a 3-pointer against Nevada on Monday night at the CJ Classic. All photos by Shawn Fowler.


Parkview took control early and never looked back.

McDonald County’s Reagan Myrick drives to the basket against Parkview’s Tara Masten on Monday night.

Brooklynn Masten poured in 25 points to lead the Vikings, while Tara Masten added 12. 

Adasyn Leach led the Mustangs with 16 points, while Carlee Cooper added 10 and Reagan Myrick chipped in eight. 

The Vikings led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter. Treys from Olivia Sutterfield and Tara Masten gave the Vikings a comfortable 27-11 advantage with just under four minutes to play in the first half.

Parkview held a 33-19 lead at intermission and a comfy 50-27 advantage at the end of the third quarter. 

The Mustangs won the fourth quarter 22-12, but it was too little, too late. 

The Vikings improved to 2-0, while the Mustangs slipped to 0-2.

The CJ Classic is sponsored by Freeman Sports Medicine.



McDonald County’s Roslynn Huston puts up a shot in the lane against Parkview on Monday night at the CJ Classic.



PREP FOOTBALL: Underdog Webb City stuns Jackson in semifinals; Cards advance to state title game


WEBB CITY, Mo. — Cade Wilson and the Webb City Cardinals entered Saturday’s matchup with the highly-touted Jackson Indians with a proverbial chip on their shoulders.

Whether it was on social media or on online message boards, not many people outside of Webb City were giving the Cardinals much of a chance against the undefeated and defending state champion Indians. 

That was fine with Wilson and the Cardinals, who fully embraced the underdog role.

Faced with a win or go home situation against the state’s top-ranked squad, the Cardinals rose to the occasion and earned a statement victory. 

Solid in all facets of the game, Webb City rode a stellar start to a 35-21 victory over Jackson in a Class 5 semifinal on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Stadium.

“We wanted to beat them so bad because no one thought we had a chance…absolutely no one,” said Wilson, a senior running back. “We love the underdog role and playing with a chip on our shoulder. We had nothing to lose. They had all the pressure.

“I don’t know if they’ve played anyone like us…we’re just bulldogs,” Wilson added. “We put everything on the line and it paid off. We just came out and did our thing. No one thought we’d win. But look at us now. The whole community had our backs and this feels amazing.” 

Webb City QB Cohl Vaden hands off to Cade Wilson during Saturday’s Class 5 semifinal against Jackson. Photos by Shawn Fowler.

The Indians, who came to town with a 26-game winning streak, were allowing just 8.8 points per game this season while putting up 49 points per contest.  Also, Jackson hadn’t had a close game all season. 

None of that mattered on Saturday, as Webb City handed Jackson (12-1) its first loss since an overtime setback to Carthage in the 2019 championship game. 

“I’m not sure how many people gave us a chance,” Webb City coach John Roderique said. “Honestly, as a coach, you don’t know how good they are or if you have a chance. I think having some success on that first drive gave our guys some confidence. It’s been a different year for us. We’ve been the underdog a few times. As I told our kids, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. All that matters is what the guys on our sideline and in that locker room think. This is a real special day.” 

Webb City (10-3) will meet Holt (13-0) at 7 p.m. next Friday in Columbia for the Class 5 championship. The Cardinals will attempt to claim the program’s 16th state title. 

Cade Wilson scores one of his four touchdowns against Jackson on Saturday at Cardinal Stadium. Webb City won the game 35-21. Photos by Shawn Fowler.

Roderique, who has remarkably led the Cardinals to 20 semifinal appearances in his 25 seasons in charge of the program, noted this year’s trip to the state title game may be as satisfying as any he’s had in recent memory.

“It’s meaningful because of the adversity we’ve overcome this year,” Roderique said, noting a 4-3 record on Oct. 8. “Just unbelievable effort. From where we started to where the season progressed…you keep reminding the kids to have faith, keep battling and anything can happen. And we’ve gotten a lot better. Hats off to our coaches for getting the kids in this position. And our kids…what great effort they’ve been playing with.” 

The Cardinals, in the semifinals for the 13th time in 14 years, rode an impressive first half to a 28-6 halftime advantage. 

Fourth-ranked Webb City struck first in the second half for a comfortable 35-6 lead. The hosts then held off Jackson’s late comeback attempt.



The Cardinals put together a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the game, as Wilson’s 35-yard touchdown run gave the hosts a 7-0 lead with 7:51 remaining in the first quarter.

After forcing the Indians into a three and out, the Cardinals marched 71 yards on eight plays. Wilson’s 2-yard plunge gave the Cardinals a 14-0 advantage with 4:09 left in the opening period. 

The Indians got on the board on Cameron Marchi’s 3-yard QB keeper on the first play of the second quarter. But the PAT kick was blocked by Webb City’s Brentan Wilson, keeping the hosts in front 14-6.

The Cardinals answered on their next drive, as Wilson’s 2-yard TD run made it 21-6 with 6:57 left in the second period. 

Webb City’s Billy Wolfe attempts to bring down Jackson’s Kannen Turley. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Jackson lost a fumble on their ensuing drive, with Billy Wolfe recovering. 

Dupree Jackson’s 2-yard plunge gave Webb City a 28-6 cushion with just under two minutes to play in the first half. 

“That was huge to get some points and get ahead early,” Roderique noted. “We knew how fast they can score. Our guys played like fire in that first half.”

The hosts took a commanding 35-6 lead at the 7:50 mark of the third quarter on Wilson’s fourth TD of the day, a 21-yard sprint. 

The Indians kept coming. Marchi completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kannen Turley with 4:51 left in the third quarter. The Indians, who held Webb City scoreless in the final frame, trimmed their deficit to 35-21 with 8:55 left on Joshua Wehrenberg’s 9-yard TD run. 

But the Webb City defense came up big late in the game, as the Cardinals forced a pair of turnover on downs in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 1:25 left. 



Webb City finished with 392 yards of offense on 58 plays, with 264 rushing and 128 passing. 

Wilson rushed for 138 yards on 19 carries with four scores, while senior QB Cohl Vaden ran 11 times for 60 yards and Dupree Jackson rushed for 58 yards and 13 carries. 

Pictured is Webb City junior Dante Washington.

Vaden completed 6 of 10 passes. Dante Washington had three receptions for 70 yards, while William Hayes, Cade Wilson and Jackson had one catch apiece.

Washington went 5-for-5 on PAT kicks. Cooper Crouch was credited with 10 tackles, while Lucas Ott and Wolfe had eight stops apiece and Brentan Wilson added seven tackles. 

Jackson had 339 yards on 77 plays, 171 passing and 168 rushing. 

Marchi completed 21 of 34 passes. Turley caught eight passes for 66 yards. Wehrenberg was Jackson’s leading rusher with 83 yards on 14 carries. 

The 21 points were Jackson’s lowest scoring output of the season. 

“The defense played fantastic,” Roderique said. “What an outstanding effort by our guys. Our defense has been unbelievable here late in the season.” 



Holt defeated Fort Osage 31-14 in the other semifinal.

Friday’s title game between Webb City and Holt will be played at Mizzou’s Faurot Field. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.




Jackson         0      6     8    7—21

Webb City   14   14     7   0—35


WC: Cade Wilson 35 run (Dante Washington kick)

WC: Wilson 2 run (Washington kick)

JACK: Cameron Marchi 3 run (Kick blocked)

WC: Wilson 2 run (Washington kick)

WC: Dupree Jackson 2 run (Washington kick)

WC: Wilson 21 run (Washington kick)

JACK: Kannen Turley 6 pass from Marchi (Isaiah Davis pass from Marchi)

JACK: Joshua Wehrenberg 9 run (Logan Bruns kick)


FULL STATS: Webb City School District – Stats View (


Webb City coach John Roderique talks to the Cardinals during Saturday’s game with Jackson. Webb City won 35-21 to advance to the state title game next Friday in Columbia. All photos by Shawn Fowler.


The Webb City Cardinals celebrate after Saturday’s 35-21 win over Jackson in the Class 5 semifinals.


Webb City coach John Roderique speaks to his team after Saturday’s win over Jackson at Cardinal Stadium.


Members of the Webb City Cardinals celebrate after Saturday’s 35-21 win over Jackson. The Cardinals will play for a state championship next Friday in Columbia.


PREP FOOTBALL: Lamar holds off Richmond late in Class 2 state semifinals

LAMAR, Mo. — The Lamar Tigers are back in the Class 2 state title game for the second straight season after building an early lead and holding on for a 21-20 win over Richmond in the semifinal round on Saturday.

Lamar (13-0) took the opening drive and found paydirt before eventually building a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Richmond (11-2) rallied with 14 unanswered points to take a brief lead before the Tigers found the end zone one more time before the intermission for a 21-14 advantage. 

The Spartans found the end zone late in the third quarter, but the extra-point try to tie the game was partially blocked to keep Lamar in front. The Tigers, who were held scoreless in the second half for the first time all season, never wavered down the stretch to keep their title hopes alive.

Lamar started the game in fashion, with Trace Willhite ripping off a 72-yard carry on the first play from scrimmage to get the Tigers into the red zone. Four plays later, Austin Wilkerson crossed the goal line from a yard out to give Lamar the early 7-0 lead.

The Spartans picked up a first down before being forced to punt back to the Tigers, with Lamar taking advantage of the stop shortly after. 

On the first play of the second drive, quarterback Joel Beshore ripped off back to back 20-plus yard runs to get the Tigers back into the red zone before he capped the drive three plays later with a 2-yard touchdown to push the lead to 13-0 with 5:22 left to play in the first quarter.

Richmond answered on the ensuing drive when QB Keyshaun Elliott completed a deep pass to Layne Cavanah to get the Spartans deep into the red zone, with Elliott tossing a prayer to the crowded back of the end zone for a touchdown two plays later to cut the lead to 13-7 by the end of the first quarter.

Lamar was forced to punt for the first time in the game on the ensuing drive, giving the Spartans a chance to take the lead for the first time all game. Richmond did just that after a long, methodical drive ended with a big play—Elliot breaking off a 37-yard run on a third-down keeper for a touchdown to give Richmond a 14-13 lead with 5:24 left in the first half.

The Tigers didn’t trail for long. Logan Crockett ripped off a 27-yard run and a 21-yard run to set Lamar up in the red zone. Beshore followed up by hitting Wilkerson in stride on the way to the right side of the field before crossing the goal line for a 13-yard touchdown. Beshore converted the two-point conversion after scrambling to his left before tucking it and running across for a 21-14 lead with less than three minutes to play in the first half.

Elliott’s ability to keep plays alive with his feet continued to be a difference maker in the second half. After several empty possessions into the third quarter, Elliott evaded a sack on third down and chucked it downfield to find Jordan Alexander on broken coverage with a 72-yard passing score with 5:58 on the clock. The extra point was partially blocked by Wilkerson and no good, keeping Lamar in front 21-20.

Lamar continued to have difficulty moving the ball on offense in the second half, forced to punt for the second time in two third-quarter possessions. 

Richmond took possession at its own 14 after stuffing the Tigers on a fourth-down-and-2 run with 5:22 left in regulation in need of any type of score. The Spartans put on a 13-play drive to get into Tigers’ territory before Lamar halted the momentum inside the final 30 seconds of play with three straight incompletions deep as time expired to secure the semifinal win.

Beshore picked up 95 rushing yards on 17 carries to go along with one touchdown on the ground and one in the air, while Willhite picked up 88 yards rushing on three carries. Wilkerson had a rushing and a receiving touchdown.

Lamar, playing for its ninth state title as a program, is looking to win the Class 2 state championship game for the second straight season. After defeating St. Pius X last year, the Tigers will take on Lutheran St. Charles in the title game at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Columbia.

PREP FOOTBALL: Webb City set for semifinal matchup with Jackson  



Jackson (12-0) at Webb City (9-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.



After last week’s 35-13 win over Lebanon in the quarterfinal round, the Cardinals are in the semifinals for the 20th time under John Roderique.  

In fact, Webb City is in the semifinal round for the fifth straight season, with two straight in Class 5 after three straight in Class 4. Of course, the Cardinals captured Class 4 state championships in ’17 and ’19. 

The Cardinals are scoring 40 points per game while allowing 22.

Senior running backs Cade Wilson and Dupree Jackson lead Webb City’s ground attack. Wilson has rushed for 1,252 yards with 21 touchdowns, while Jackson has run for 865 yards with 16 TD. 

In eight games, senior quarterback Cohl Vaden has passed for 774 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Vaden has also ran for 390 yards and seven scores. 

Junior Dante Washington is Webb City’s top receiver, as he’s hauled in 25 passes for 541 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games. William Hayes (307 yards) and Trey Roets (160 yards) are other receivers to watch. 

Leading Webb City in tackles are linebackers Cooper Crouch (121 tackles) and Lucas Ott (112 tackles) and defensive back Kaylor Darnell (98 tackles). Washington has grabbed five interceptions.

The Cardinals are ranked fourth by the Missouri Media. 



Jackson is bringing a 26-game winning streak to Cardinal Stadium after last week’s 49-14 win over Rockwood Summit. 

The Indians, who won last year’s Class 5 championship after finishing as the runner-up to Carthage in 2019, are in the semifinals for the third straight season.  

The Indians are scoring 49 points per game while allowing just nine points per contest.

Jackson senior quarterback Cameron Marchi has passed for 2,492 yards with 39 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. 

The 6-foot-3 Marchi completed 17 of 25 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s quarterfinal victory. 

Marchi’s top targets are Kannen Turley and Isaiah Davis. Turley has caught 54 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 TD. Davis has hauled in 47 passes for 878 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Tony Williams is Jackson’s leading rusher, as the senior has run for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Jackson placekicker Logan Bruns has now made 218 extra point kicks in his career, a state record. The previous record was held by Joplin’s Garrett Landis, who made 211 from 2016-19.

The Indians are ranked first in Class 5 by the Missouri Media. 


WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Webb City-Jackson winner will advance to the state championship game, where they’ll meet either Holt or Fort Osage at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Faurot Field in Columbia.





GIRLS SWIMMING: Joplin features varsity veterans in ‘21-22


A large group of experienced swimmers will lead the way for the Joplin Eagles this winter.

As the 2021-22 season arrives, the Eagles feature nine girls with prior varsity experience. 

Joplin’s returning letterwinners are seniors Allie Lawrence and Sophia Schwartz and juniors Taegen Smith, Lily Rakes, Mairi Beranek, Megan Walser, Brooklyn Hiller, Allysun Higdon and Skyler Ridgway.  

Other juniors on the roster are Abigail Edwards, Abby Hembree and Emma Langer. 

Langer is a newcomer to watch.

“We are happy to gain Emma Langer from Germany,” Joplin coach Juliana Hughes said. “Based on her time trials, Emma should be able to join the varsity relays with Mairi Beranek, Lily Rakes, Allie Lawrence, Sophia Schwartz, Taegen Smith and Brooklyn Hiller.”  

Lawrence, Beranek and Smith swam on last year’s 200-yard medley relay team that finished fourth at the conference meet, while Lawrence and Schwartz were on the 200 freestyle relay team that finished sixth.

Rakes, Schwartz and Beranek were on the 400 freestyle relay team that finished sixth in the COC. 

Also at last year’s conference meet, Beranek finished ninth in the 100 backstroke, Smith was ninth in the 100 breaststroke, while Walser and Rakes were 11th and 12th, respectively, in the 500 freestyle. 

The Eagles have 20 girls on this year’s roster. 

There are four sophomores on the roster—Avery Bermudez, Raelin Calderon, Lanee Goodwin and Emma Marshall. There are also four freshmen out for the sport this winter—Jionna Leonetti-Houchin, Evelyn Watson, Gwen Zamanzadeh and Izzy Zamanzadeh. 

“We are excited to see the new members of our team compete and see where they excel the best,” Hughes said. “We have already seen so many new swimmers progress and drop time just two weeks into practice.” 

Joplin will open the season on Dec. 2 at Carthage.

PREP HOOPS ROUNDUP: Joplin earns win in Schaake’s debut; Cavaliers roll, Warriors fall short; Neosho girls earn OT win




ANDERSON, Mo. — In Bronson Schaake’s debut as the program’s new head coach, the Joplin High School boys basketball team held on late for a 62-58 win over McDonald County on Tuesday night in a non-conference clash.

It was the season opener for both teams. 

Led by the play of the Wright brothers, Always and All, the Eagles built a 16-point lead by the early stages of the fourth quarter before the Mustangs rallied late to make things interesting. In the end, Joplin did more than enough to secure the win. 

The Mustangs led 12-9 at the end of a back and forth first quarter, but the Eagles finished the first half on a 17-7 run for a 26-22 halftime lead. During the second-quarter surge, All Wright hit back to back 3-pointers and also hit two free throws. 

The Eagles scored the first seven points of the third period to pull away by double figures. 

Late in the third quarter, the Wright brothers both hit 3-pointers to give Joplin a 41-26 cushion. By the end of the third period, Joplin’s lead was 45-30.

The Eagles held a 16-point lead at 53-37, but the Mustangs kept coming. 

The hosts, who hit five 3-pointers in the final frame, cut their deficit all the way down to three with five seconds left after two treys from Cole Martin and another from Pierce Harmon. After a foul, Always Wright hit one late free throw for the final margin. 

A sophomore guard, All Wright led the Eagles with 23 points. A senior guard, Always Wright had 19 points. Terrance Gibson contributed 12 points for the Eagles. 

Harmon scored 18 points to lead the Mustangs, while Martin, Cross Dowd and Teddy Reedybacon all had nine points apiece. 

Joplin (1-0) returns to action on Dec. 3 with a road game at Pittsburg. 

McDonald County (0-1) will compete at the Battle at the Ridge tournament in Arkansas from Dec. 9-11.




With a second win in as many nights, the Thomas Jefferson Cavaliers improved to 2-0 with a lopsided 54-16 victory over Bronaugh. 

The Cavaliers led 23-4 by the end of the opening frame and were up 35-11 at intermission.

“We got off a great start tonight,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said. “We forced some early turnovers and turned them into transition baskets. From there we really did a much better job tonight of being disciplined and executing our half-court offense. We must continue to develop as a team in both our transition game and our half-court game in order to achieve our goals. I’m very happy with the way our team played tonight, and how much we grew in a 24-hour time frame.”    

Caden Myers compiled 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Thomas Jefferson, while Drew Goodhope added 10 points and six boards. 

Also for the Cavaliers, Tyler Brouhard compiled eight points, four rebounds and three assists, while Jay Ball contributed six points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. 

Thomas Jefferson will be the No. 1 seed for next week’s Gem City Classic. 




LIBERAL, Mo. — Liberal jumped out to a big lead and never looked back in the win over McAuley Catholic on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs outscored the Warriors 21-7 in the first period and pushed the lead to 39-17 by the intermission. Liberal continued to build the lead in the second half on the way to the win.

“Hats off to Liberal, they have a scrappy bunch of guys that are very unselfish,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said. “They did a good job of turning us over all night with their pressure. We have got to do a better job of handling pressure offensively as well as defending and limiting teams to one shot.”

Noah Block led the Warriors with 11 points.

Payton Morrow had 18 points for Liberal, while Matt Boehne finished with 14 and Chas Ray 13.

McAuley takes part in the Gem City Classic with a matchup against Lighthouse Christian at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Diamond, Missouri.




NEOSHO, Mo. — Beclynn Garrett and Jayden Adams hit late-game free throws in overtime to lift the Neosho Wildcats to a 29-27 non-conference girls basketball victory over Clinton on Tuesday afternoon.

In a game that began at 1 p.m., Neosho led 10-4 at the end of the first quarter and 18-13 at intermission. 

The Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 8-1 in the third quarter to take a 21-19 lead. 

Maelynn Garrett and Beclynn Garrett both hit key 3-pointers for the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, and the game was deadlocked at 27 at the end of regulation.

Neither team made a field goal in the extra session, as Neosho’s two free throws were the only points of overtime.

Beclynn Garrett made the second of two free throw attempts with 59 seconds left to give Neosho a one-point lead. 

After a Clinton miss and a foul, Adams sank one charity with 20 seconds remaining before the Cardinals missed a last-second field goal attempt.

Beclynn Garrett and Raine Harris scored eight points apiece for the Wildcats (2-1). Briley Wishard scored eight points for Clinton (0-1). 

Neosho will compete at next week’s CJ Classic. The Wildcats take on the host Bulldogs at 8:30 on Monday night.




NEVADA, Mo. — Nevada took control early and never looked back in a 43-29 win over Mount Vernon on Tuesday.

The Tigers led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter and extended their advantage to 29-15 by halftime. 

Clara Swearingen scored 15 points to lead Nevada, while Maddy Majors added 12. 

Cameryn Cassity scored 16 points to lead Mount Vernon, while Jolie Prescott added seven points. 




LIBERAL, Mo. — Kayleigh Teeter scored 20 points and Kennedy Deruy added 12, as the McAuley Catholic girls basketball team earned a convincing 48-27 win over Liberal.

The Warriors led 14-2 at the end of the first period and 32-7 at halftime. 

Lily Black added eight points for McAuley, while Ellaina LaNear scored nine points for Liberal. 

The Warriors (1-0) play Lockwood at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Gem City Classic at Diamond High School.




Nicole Hagerman poured in 28 points to lead Bronaugh past Thomas Jefferson.

The Cavaliers trailed 12-2 at the end of the first period. Thomas Jefferson erupted for 15 points in the second quarter, but the hosts trailed 22-17 at the break.

Bronaugh outscored TJ 18-3 in the third period. 

Gabbi Hiebert scored 12 points to lead Thomas Jefferson, while Presley Long added seven points. Sarah Mueller and Nico Carlson added four points apiece for TJ. 

In addition to Hagerman’s 28 points, Bronaugh received 11 points from Gretchen Banes. 

The Cavaliers (0-1) host Liberal next Tuesday. 


GIRLS HOOPS: Big third quarter propels Carthage to first win in home opener against Hillcrest

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage evened its record with its first win of the season after a momentum-sealing third quarter propelled the Tigers to a 60-50 victory over Hillcrest on Tuesday.

The Tigers earned their first win of the season, evening their record at 1-1, thanks in large part to the effort on the defensive end. After building a five-point lead after the first quarter, Hillcrest turnovers to start the second period gave Carthage the momentum after converting them into easy buckets the other way. The Tigers outscored the Hornets 12-4 in the third period on the way to building an insurmountable lead down the stretch. Hillcrest rallied to cut the lead to single digits late, but was never in serious threat of making a comeback.

“We had the lead pushed up to over 20 and I was happy with that,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “In the third quarter, we made a great run, like 12-4, to stretch our nine-point lead out. Those are the quarters we want to have. 

“I didn’t like how the fourth quarter went. We have to play 32 minutes. That last five, those are the kids clamouring for more minutes and want to play more. You have to show that. When you get opportunities, you have to prove to us that you are ready for the varsity level, but they will learn from that and that’s part of being a young group.”

Carthage jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, including a runout basket that turned into a three-point play off the tip by Presley Probert and a steal and layup from Kianna Yates within the first minute of play.

The Tigers held a five-point lead going into the second quarter before a 10-2 run to open the period gave Carthage a 24-11 lead with 5:32 to play in the first half. 

A Carthage steal turned into a Raven Probert layup on the break before Sophie Shannon scored inside off the assist by Yates. On the next trip down the floor, Yates knocked down a midrange jumper before a steal of the ensuing inbounds pass led to a bucket by Landry Cochran that gave the Tigers a 13-point lead.

“Our offense triggers our defense,” Moore said. “We have to get buckets to press. Our girls love to press. That is all they want to do. But we have to get buckets. If we get a steal and miss a layup, we can’t press again.”

Carthage held serve and went into the intermission with a 33-24 advantage before a 12-4 run in the third period essentially put the game out of reach for Hillcrest.

Yates assisted on a fast-break score by Cochran before knocking down a runner with 4:25 on the clock to push the lead to 37-24. Carthage finished out the quarter with a baseline basket from Presley Probert and a 3-pointer from the wing by Daniela Marquez off the assist by Maggie Boyd to make the score 45-28.

“We made some adjustments on the press break,” Moore said of his team’s play in the third quarter. “That is where we got those steals and were able to put that game away. … I was glad to see that the girls took what we talked about with adjustments at halftime and immediately went out and went on that run in the third quarter.”

Carthage opened the fourth quarter with a steal and layup by Yates before Raven Probert converted a 3-ball from the corner for a 22-point lead, 50-28.

Hillcrest whittled the lead down to single digits, 59-50, on a 3-pointer by Kiley Coffelt with 36 seconds left, but the Hornets never made a serious run at the lead by the sound of the final horn.


Yates had a game-high 21 points to lead Carthage, while Shannon also finished in double figures with 10. Cochran closed with eight points, while Boyd turned in seven points.

Jamyra Parlette finished with 15, while Jim’Mesha Davis closed with 14 to anchor Hillcrest. Chloe Sutherland also finished in double figures with 11. 


Carthage hosts the Lady Tigers Basketball Invitational, which runs from Dec. 1-4. Carthage opens the tournament with a matchup against Har-Ber at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. 

PREP ROUNDUP: Joplin girls rally for win; Thomas Jefferson boys start 1-0


GRANBY, Mo. — Joplin erased a slow start and bounced back from a double-digit halftime deficit to beat East Newton on Monday.

The win moves the Eagles to 2-0 on the season.

“We got off to a very rough start, but to the girls’ credit they came out the second half and found a way to win the ballgame,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said to SoMo Sports. “East Newton did a great job of being aggressive on both ends of the floor. They moved the ball very well on the offensive end and kept attacking us defensively. … We have a lot of things to clean up, but I love that we were able to pull out the win on a night where we weren’t at our best.”

Joplin trailed 32-21 going into the half before outsourcing East Newton 21-9 in the third quarter to take a 42-41 lead heading into the final quarter. Brooke Nice and Brynn Driver combined to score all but two points for Joplin down the stretch to help hold on for the win.

Nice knocked down five 3-pointers, three in the third quarter, and finished with a game-high 28 points in the win.

“Brooke Nice shot the ball extremely well tonight,” Floyd said. “She’s a great shooter and was able to get us back on track in the second half.”

Driver scored 14, while Ella Hafer had 10 and Emma Floyd seven.

Joplin takes part in the CJ Classic next week.



Thomas Jefferson used a fast start to set the tone in a season-opening win over Exeter on Monday.

The Cavaliers outscored the Bluehawks 20-9 in the opening period to take the initial advantage and held that margin into the locker room with a 40-29 lead. Thomas Jefferson pushed the lead to 17, 61-44, by the end of the third quarter on the way to the win.

“I thought we did some good things tonight,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said. “We have to be a more disciplined team moving forward, though. I know it’s the first game, but we made too many mental mistakes tonight. Overall, it was a good start to the season, we just need to learn from our mistakes and look to improve tomorrow against Bronaugh.”

Jay Ball finished with a double-double after tallying 23 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Caden Myers also finished with a double-double after scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to go along with three assists and two blocks. Drew Goodhope finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Tyler Brouhard scored 15 points, had five rebounds and closed with three steals.

Corey Hilburn led Exeter with 32 points, while JJ Felipe added 20 in the loss.

Thomas Jefferson hosts Bronaugh on Tuesday. The girls are scheduled for 6 p.m., with the boys to play after.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Webb City shakes off slow start to rout McDonald County in season opener

WEBB CITY, Mo. — The offense’s production took a quarter to catch up to the play on the defensive end as Webb City girls basketball opened the season with a 55-24 win over McDonald County on Monday inside the Cardinal Dome.

The Cardinals and Mustangs took a 4-4 tie into the second quarter before Webb City outscored McDonald County 22-4 in the second period to take a commanding 26-8 advantage into the intermission. Webb City continued to pour it on in the second half, pushing the lead to more than 30 several times en route to the win.

“There are some very good things that we did in the season opener and there are some things we are going to have to correct,” Webb City coach Lance Robbins said. “To start the game, I just thought it was a little bit of nerves and inexperience. … Late in the first quarter and into the second quarter, I thought the ball started to move better for us offensively. And when it did, I thought we started to get good looks at the basket and our kids were able to step up and knock them down with confidence. … The biggest thing I was pleased with was I thought our defense was pretty good throughout the course of the game.”

Neither team found much to work with on the offensive side of the ball in the first eight minutes of action. Both teams were plagued by turnovers while having trouble getting anything going in the half-court set.

The start of the second quarter was a different story for Webb City, with the Cardinals ripping off the first seven points of the period to take an 11-4 lead. Sami Mancini, a 6-foot-5 freshman forward for the Cardinals, started the scoring with an offensive rebound and putback bucket. Austyn Mickey knocked down a mid-range jumper from the baseline before Izzy Lopez drilled a 3-pointer from the corner.

“She is 6-foot-5 and everyone is going to key on her,” Robbins said of Mancini. “We want to get her the ball early and often and play through her. We have to get it in there if she is open, but we can’t force it. It may take a couple of ball reversals before we can get it in there. I felt tonight, we were trying to get it in there off one or two passes instead of getting it reversed a couple times.”

Webb City’s Malorie Stanley knocks down a 3-pointer during the Cardinals’ win over McDonald County. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“She is a load to handle,” Robbins added. “And she does a good job of not playing selfishly. If she draws a double team or triple team, she will kick it out to find the open person.”

McDonald County got on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a pair of free throws from Carlee Cooper, but Webb City responded with a 13-0 run to take complete control of the contest. 

Kate Brownfield knocked down a 3-ball from the corner to start the run, with consecutive scores inside from Josie Spikereit and Mancini making the score 18-6 with 3:10 remaining. Malorie Stanley pulled up on the baseline for a basket, with Kirra Long and Ripley Shanks closing out the run with scores in the paint to push the lead to 24-6 with 1:10 to play

“The ball was moving to the open person,” Robbins said of the late run in the second period. “It kind of started clicking for us and we were making plays before they were there, if that makes sense. I thought the ball movement and unselfishness was good tonight. It is something we will have to continue to work on and get better at.”

Webb City pushed the lead to more than 20 for the first time early in the second half on a basket from Mickey and pushed the lead to 34-10 shortly after when Mancini scored inside while drawing a foul for a three-point play with 5:50 on the clock. The lead reached 28 points to close out the third quarter when Stanley sank a 3-pointer from the wing at the buzzer to make the score 46-18.

“We talked about it at halftime,” Robbins said of his team’s play in the second half. “We had a nice lead so let’s not go out, fool around and let them hang around. Let’s go out and send a message in the first couple of minutes in the second half. I thought we were able to do that.”


Mancini led Webb City with 12 points, while Stanley added nine. Mickey and Brownfield each had seven points, with Long and Spikereit each adding six.

Samara Smith and Addy Leach each had eight points to lead McDonald County. 


Webb City is in action next in the Carthage Lady Tigers Invitational from Dec. 2-4.

Webb City’s Izzy Lopez scores on the break in the Cardinals’ win over McDonald County on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Grotjohn sisters lead Seneca past Neosho


SENECA, Mo. — Senior guard Aliya Grotjohn scored 25 points to lead Seneca to a 51-39 win over Neosho on Monday night in a non-conference girls basketball contest.

It was the season opener for the Indians (1-0), while Neosho fell to 1-1. 

After a sluggish start, Seneca finished the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 16-9 lead. The Indians pulled away in the second period and the hosts were up 37-19 at intermission. 

Aliya Grotjohn scored 18 points in the first half, while her younger sister Hazley Grotjohn added 10.

Seneca held a comfortable 43-23 lead entering the fourth quarter. 

Neosho trimmed its deficit to 11 late in the game, but the Wildcats would get no closer. 

In addition to Aliya Grotjohn’s 25 points, Hazley Grotjohn, a freshman guard, added 13 points for the Indians.

Junior forward Karlee Ellick led Neosho with 18 points, while junior guard Raine Harris added 10 points. 

The Indians will compete at next week’s Carl Junction Classic.

Neosho hosts Clinton on Tuesday. 



Neosho defeated Lamar 46-30 last Friday.

Against the Tigers, Neosho’s Reagan McInturff scored 11 points, while Beclynn Garrett and Jayden Adams added eight points apiece.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Joplin returns plenty of experience as Schaake takes over the program as head coach

Following the conclusion of Joplin’s season a year ago, Jeff Hafer stepped down as head coach because of health reasons. The good news for first-year head coach Bronson Schaake is the cupboard is far from empty as he takes over the talent-rich Eagles with the expectations of elevating them to the next level under his watch.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Schaake said about being the Joplin head coach. “You look around and see the facilities and the weights program, we have some kids who can do some amazing things athletically. Coming over from Riverton was a great opportunity.”

Schaake is tasked with improving upon the Eagles’ 13-14 record from a season ago. And that goal is certainly attainable with the level of talent returning to the fold. Schaake’s latest stop at Riverton High School, in Kansas, is a testament to his ability to build a reshape a program, taking over a struggling Rams team in 2016 before leading them to a 14-5 record last season while earning finalist consideration for Kansas Class 3A Coach of the Year. 

“There are some things I couldn’t do at Riverton as far as a few sets here and there and a few pressing types of things,” Schaake said when asked what he would bring to Joplin basketball. “Overall, I am going to have the same approach, the same philosophy here in Joplin. It will be built around discipline and fundamentals. I think that carries anywhere you go.” 

Joplin’s list of returning players is highlighted by senior 6-foot-3 guard Always Wright, 6-2 sophomore G All Wright, 6-4 junior F Terrance Gibson, 6-3 senior F LT Atherton, 6-1 senior G Bruce Wilbert and 6-7 sophomore Whit Hafer, who is back after suffering a leg injury early last season.

“I think our guards, the Wright boys, are really good,” Schaake said about his team’s strengths. “I think we are actually going to be a team that can get the ball down low once we settle in and get our legs back. I think we can do a lot. I think we can go inside out, and I think we can get the Wrights around the bucket a little bit more. We just need to be harder to guard.”

And while the offense is expected to be a strongpoint, Coach Schaake also believes Joplin can be a team built around defense as well. With the amount of size and athleticism on the Eagles’ roster, playing quality basketball on both ends of the floor is not a stretch by any means.

“I think we have to become a really good defensive team,” Schaake said. “I think we can score when we get in better shape and get some continuity with each other. But I think we can be a really good defensive team. We can throw some bigs out there and the Wrights are both 6-2, 6-3. We can be a good defensive team once we hone in.”

“We can throw some different lineups out there,” Schaake added. “We can go big and we can go small. We like to do a four-out motion type of offense and then more of a structured one where we can get the ball side to side with the continuity screen and roll.”

Last season, Joplin got off to a fast start, opening the year winning 10 of its first 14 games. Unfortunately, the Eagles sputtered down the stretch by losing nine of the last 11. In order to avoid that type of letdown this season, Schaake wants to see his boys improve in the mental side of the game as well.

“Right now it’s getting in shape,” Schaake said with a laugh. “Other than that, I think we need a little tougher mentality between the ears. Not all of them, but there are some guys in the rotation who have to get tougher with that, and that just comes with getting in better shape and getting a hold of them every day in practice.”

Joplin opens the season on the road at McDonald County with a 7:30 p.m. scheduled tip on Tuesday.

PREP FOOTBALL: Late turnover, penalties cost Seneca in defensive clash


SENECA, Mo. — With just under 10 minutes left to play, Seneca needed a touchdown to tie the game. 

But after a punt that netted just 15 yards, Mexico was set up at its own 42-yard line, looking to extend its 14-7 lead and potentially put the game away. 

One play later, Seneca got the gift it needed. 

On second-and-1, the Bulldogs called a pitch play to the right for senior running back Michael White, who two drives previous had caught a pass at the hash marks around midfield and darted around multiple defenders for the go-ahead score, a 60-yard touchdown reception. 

This time, though, the toss from quarterback Ty Sims came in just above White’s left shoulder. The ball went through his hands and into the backfield, where a Seneca defender fell on it. 

“I felt like the momentum swung right there,” Seneca coach Cody Hilburn said. “I told the kids already when we were down 14-7 that we’d get that  big stop, we’re going down and scoring, we’re gonna go for two and go win the football game. And that was our mindset. Our kids knew it.”

Seneca’s Jaxson Graham attempts to break free from a Mexico defender during Saturday’s Class 3 quarterfinal. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

Unfortunately for Seneca, the momentum swing was short-lived.

On just the second play of the drive that started at the Mexico 46 and could have tied the Class 3 MSHSAA state quarterfinal game, the ball once again hit the ground. 

This time it was Seneca quarterback senior Ethan Fritchey who was stripped of the ball, and a Bulldogs defender whose arms it wound up in. 

Somewhat poetically, it was White who found the end zone 10 plays later, redeeming himself after the turnover, and sealing a 20-7 Mexico win at Tom Hodge Field.

After the game, Hilburn told of his team’s Nov. 5 playoff win against Aurora, in which Seneca came back from a 12-0 deficit to win 13-12, as an example of Seneca’s confidence late in games.

“You couldn’t have ever imagined that in our locker room, you’d have thought we were up 12-0,” he said of the win at Aurora. “That’s just our mentality, we were going to find a way to win in the fourth quarter, that’s just kind of been who we are. (Tonight), we had to trade blows with some people that may have been more talented than us early on, and we knew if we got the game to the fourth quarter, our kids believed we could win. And we believed to the very end that we were going to win the game and it just didn’t go our way.”

The loss ends Hilburn’s first season at the helm of Seneca’s program at 8-5, a significant turnaround after a 3-7 2020 season. 

Hilburn spoke of a desire to reestablish Seneca as a perennial power and credited the first team he led as head coach of the program for taking a first step toward that goal.

“I’ve never seen a group like this that wanted to win so much and would literally do anything for you,” he said. “You didn’t have to beg them to show up and work hard, they wanted to show up and work hard. They wanted to have an identity, they wanted to leave a legacy for themselves and they did. They won our first district championship in the last eight years at Seneca (2013), and Seneca has historically been a rich-tradition football program and that’s what we’re trying to get back to. And probably early on (this season), I wouldn’t have dreamed of us getting to this point, too. I wanted them to set a bar for us that next year we can shoot to achieve and they just wouldn’t ever settle for that being the case. They’re heartbroken tonight, they fully expected, I fully expected, we all did, that we’d come out and win this game tonight.”

The Seneca defense looks to bring down Mexico’s Andrew Runge. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

Seneca’s lone score came on a 4-yard run by Jackson Marrs with 6:34 left in the second quarter.

In a game in which both teams were penalized several times, Seneca was called for costly infractions on both sides of the ball.

On offense, holding and illegal procedure were called three times each, setting up long yardage situations that forced the run-dependent attack to try and pick up gains through the air. 

On defense, Seneca fell victim to a defensive pass interference call inside its own 10-yard line.  

Mexico had set itself up with a first-and-10 from the 15, but consecutive illegal procedure calls made it first-and-20 from the 25, prompting the shot toward the end zone on which the flag was drawn. On the very next play, Andrew Runge punched through the defense for a 13-yard score, to tie the game at 7-7. 

“It was frustrating,” Hilburn said. “That’s part of the game, you know. It’s part of the game.”

Mexico (10-2) will travel to St. Mary’s (10-1) in the semifinals.


Seneca defenders Dane Napier (24) and Jaxson Graham (7) look to bring down Mexico’s Michael White.


Seneca hosted Mexico in a Class 3 quarterfinal on Saturday. Mexico defeated Seneca 20-7. Photos by Jessica Greninger.

PREP FOOTBALL: Lamar upends Ava to advance to semifinals


AVA, Mo. — Lamar took control early and never relinquished its lead en route to a 35-14 victory over Ava in a Class 2 quarterfinal on Saturday at CE Harlan Stadium. 

The Tigers (12-0) host Richmond (11-1) in the semifinals at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Thomas O’Sullivan Stadium. 

In the quarterfinal round for the 13th straight season, Lamar scored two unanswered touchdowns early in the game to pull ahead for good. 

Up 21-14 at halftime, the Tigers scored a pair of unanswered touchdowns after the break. The Lamar defense held Ava scoreless in the second half to secure the win.  

After the Tigers and Bears traded turnovers to start the game, Lamar got on the board when Austin Wilkerson scored on a 20-yard run with seven minutes left in the first quarter. 

Lamar went up 14-0 on Logan Crockett’s 56-yard touchdown sprint.

The Bears broke through when Zach Richards scored on a 30-yard QB keeper at the 1:10 mark of the first quarter. 

Lamar took a 21-7 lead when a wide open Mason Gastel hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter.

The Tigers were threatening to extend their lead late in the first half, but Ava’s Richards picked off a tipped pass near midfield and then ran all the way to the 6-yard line. A few plays later, Richards’ 1-yard TD plunge cut Lamar’s lead to 21-14. 

After getting a key defensive stop to start the second half, the Tigers put together a 97-yard scoring drive in the third period. It was capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Joel Beshore to Wilkerson at the 5:03 mark of the third period.

Lamar added a late score on Crockett’s 2-yard plunge with 4:13 remaining in the game. The score was set up by Wilkerson’s interception return. 

Defending state champion Lamar finished with 422 yards of offense, with 324 rushing and 98 passing. 

Beshore ran 14 times for 124 yards, while Crockett had 93 rushing yards on seven carries and Wilkerson added 63 yards on eight carries. 

Ava (11-1) recorded 160 yards of offense. 

Richmond defeated Maryville 49-23. The other Class 2 semifinal will feature Lutheran St. Charles against Lafayette County.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Carthage falls to Kickapoo in season opener

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kickapoo set the pace early, outscoring Carthage by 21 points in the opening quarter on the way to a 75-33 win to open the season on Friday.

“Kickapoo came out fast from the start and was more aggressive than we were the entire first half ,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “That was pretty disappointing because we played so much better against them last year. I was happy to see our girls respond and play much better in the second half.  … We have a lot of younger players on varsity and they learned some touch lessons the hard way tonight. My hope is they grow from this experience and come out better next week when we play Hillcrest.”

The Chiefs led 41-11 at half before outscoring the Tigers 34-21 in second half.

Kianna Yates knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on the way to 12 points to lead Carthage. Sophie Shannon and Maggie Boyd added five points each.

Carthage hosts Hillcrest on Tuesday with the tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Joplin starts fast and cruises to season-opening win over Cassville

An early staunch defensive effort allowed the Joplin girls basketball team to jump out to a quick double-digit lead, setting the tone in a 49-26 win over Cassville in the 2021-22 season opener on Friday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

Joplin limited Cassville to seven first-half points while building a 16-point lead. The Eagles found little resistance in the second half, starting the third quarter on an 11-0 run en route to opening the season 1-0.

“I loved the effort,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said after the win. “We’ve spent a lot of time working on our defense in the preseason, and it probably showed because of our offense tonight—we missed a lot of shots. But, I think we are going to be there defensively most nights, and that is what I have been preaching to the girls—if we come out and play defense, we are always going to have a chance.”

Joplin’s Ella Hafer opens the scoring with a scoop layup in the Eagles’ win over Cassville on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Joplin used a 6-0 run from the tip to take the early advantage, with Ella Hafer accounting for two of the first three baskets on drives to the hoop.

After Macie Walker grabbed an offensive rebound for a put-back bucket to get Cassville on the scoreboard, Joplin finished out the opening period with the final seven points.

Scarlett Floyd scored inside to start the quarter-closing run, while Hafer added her third basket of the first quarter on the drive inside to push the lead to nine, 11-2, with 1:40 on the clock. Jill McDaniel finished out the scoring in the first quarter with a score off the drive to extend the lead to 13-2 heading into the second period of play.

“(Our defense) opens up our transition game,” Coach Floyd said. “The half-court offense is still a work in progress, but if we can turn them over with our defense and get out and run, particularly if we can get Ella going from the top. There are not a lot of players who can stop her from scoring.”

“I told them if we get some layups early on, that basket is going to start to grow and shots will fall for us in our half-court sets,” Floyd added. “Just bringing that energy and intensity early on set the tone for the rest of the game, I thought.”

The Eagles kept the foot on the pedal to open the second period, holding the Wildcats off the scoreboard for the first six minutes while going on a 10-0 run to balloon the lead to 23-10.

“When we were actually moving the ball and getting the ball into the paint, attacking the paint, I thought we looked really good,” Floyd said of his team’s offense. “We just have to find that consistency. I understand as a coach that the offense is going to come as the season progresses. We are going to get there. I thought we had a ton of good looks but we just weren’t knocking them down tonight.”

Joplin’s Emma Floyd scores inside during the Eagles’ season-opening win over Cassville on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Emma Floyd and Brynn Driver each had four points in the run, with Hafer adding a mid-range jumper from the baseline. 

Cassville didn’t get on the scoreboard until the Wildcats converted five free throws with roughly a minute to play before halftime, going on to trail 23-7 heading into the intermission.

After dominating inside in the first half, Joplin went to the perimeter early in the third quarter, with Hafer and Brooke Nice knocking down 3-balls to fuel and 11-0 run out of the break to push the lead to 34-7, essentially putting the game out of reach.

“We set some goals at halftime and challenged the girls,” Floyd said. “We are competing against ourselves as much as we are (any opponent). We want to be the best version of us and I think the girls have really bought into that.”

“I think any girl we put on the floor can knock down a 3,” Floyd added about his team’s perimeter attack in the third quarter. “The problem we run into occasionally is falling in love with the 3. I love the 3, but I like it when it comes from the inside-out.”


Hafer led Joplin with 15 points, while Driver finished in double figures with 11. Emma Floyd finished with eight, and Nice added five.

Madison Halterman led Cassville with nine points, while Ashlynn Bryan had five. Sharaya Seymour and Walker each had four points.


Joplin hits the road with a matchup at East Newton on Monday.

Joplin’s Brooke Nice lets go of a 3-pointer in the Eagles’ win over Cassville on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


FINISHING STRONG: Webb City advances to semifinals with win over Lebanon


WEBB CITY, Mo. — Throughout an up and down regular season, one that featured lopsided wins and painful losses, John Roderique continually stressed the ultimate goal for his Webb City Cardinals remained the same—be at their best when the postseason arrived.

It’s safe to say the Cardinals have accomplished that goal by peaking when it matters most. 

Webb City rode a strong second half to a 35-13 win over Lebanon in a Class 5 quarterfinal contest on Friday night at Cardinal Stadium. 

“It’s almost surreal right now to think about where we’re at and just getting an opportunity to play again,” Roderique said. “Coach (Scott) Bailey has been preaching to the kids about playing for a seven-day contract. Our kids have really bought into it. I’m just super proud of our guys. We’ve really gotten focused and zoned in the last few weeks. Our kids have been fantastic. It’s kind of come together for us here at the end of the season.”  

In a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, Webb City was clinging to a 14-13 lead at intermission.

Webb City senior Cade Wilson looks for running room during Friday’s quarterfinal clash against Lebanon. All photos by Israel Perez.

The Cardinals, on a quest to capture the program’s 16th state championship, owned the second half by outscoring the Yellowjackets 21-0. 

“It’s just a matter of continuing to do what you have to do,” Roderique said. “You’ve got to play well at the line of scrimmage. We’d get a stop and our kids would make a play. I think when our offense was able to get a score, it made our defense better.” 

The Cardinals (9-3) will host defending state champion Jackson (12-0) next Saturday in the semifinals. 

“I would have never guessed six or eight weeks ago that we’d be in this position,” Roderique said. “It’s about perseverance and continuing to work and trying to get better. I can’t say enough about our coaches and our kids. Our coaches have done a great job of getting our kids in this position. And our kids have done a great job on the field. That’s where all the credit goes.” 

It’s the fifth year in a row the Cardinals are in the semifinals. That’s not all, it’s the 13th time in 14 years Webb City has advanced to the Final Four (2008-15 and from ’17 to ’21).  

“As a Webb City football player, it just feels great to keep the train going,” said Webb City senior linebacker Cooper Crouch. 



In the quarterfinals for the 14th consecutive season, Webb City came up with a big defensive stop on the first series of the night by forcing a turnover on downs.

Next, the Cardinals needed just four plays to go 36 yards, as a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Dupree Jackson gave the Cardinals an early lead. A 34-yard pass from Cohl Vaden to Trey Roets set up the score.

Lebanon tied it up after a 16-play, 67-yard drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Cade Muscia.

Webb City’s Trey Roets hauls in a pass against Lebanon.

Webb City went ahead on the first play of the second quarter on Dante Washington’s 7-yard scamper. Vaden’s 48-yard pass to Washington set up the score.

Lebanon’s Quinton Doughty converted a 40-yard field goal to cut Webb City’s lead to 14-10 with 8:54 left in the first half. 

Doughty added a 23-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half, trimming Webb City’s lead to 14-13.

Roderique noted holding Lebanon to field goals as opposed to touchdowns ended up big. 

“That was huge, especially in hindset,” Roderique said. 

In the second half, Lebanon turned it over on downs three times and punted once. 

Crouch, who made 11 tackles, said the Cardinals got refocused at halftime.

“We knew we had to come out and play even better,” Crouch said. “And that’s John Roderique. He’s going to find something that’s going to help us out and get us going.” 

While the Yellowjackets were unable to get going offensively, the Cardinals finished strong. 

Jackson’s 4-yard touchdown run with 1:29 remaining in the third quarter gave the hosts a 21-13 advantage.

The Cardinals added two scores in the final frame. Vaden completed a 29-yard TD pass to Washington with 10:34 to play.

After yet another defensive stop, Webb City added a final exclamation point when Vaden sprinted 37 yards to the end zone with 3:15 left on the clock. 

“We’ve developed some weapons at the receiver position,” Roderique noted. “And with our quarterback and our two running backs, it’s nice to have those options.” 


Webb City’s Dante Washington is pictured during Friday’s game with Lebanon. Washington scored two touchdowns in his team’s 35-13 win.


Ranked fourth in Class 5 by the Missouri Media and the lone Central Ozark Conference team still alive in the postseason, Webb City had 289 yards of offense, 158 passing and 131 rushing. 

Vaden ran 10 times for 55 yards, while Wilson had 49 yards on 11 carries. 

Vaden completed 7 of 16 passes for 158 yards. Washington caught four passes for 91 yards to lead the receiving corps. 

In addition to Crouch’s 11 tackles, Brody German made 10 stops, while Braxton Surber and Brentan Wilson added nine tackles apiece. 

Lebanon, ranked seventh, had 317 yards, 234 rushing and 83 passing. Muscia had 84 yards on 34 carries, while Jax Glendenning added 79 yards on 11 attempts. 

The Yellowjackets finish the season with a record of 10-2.


CLASS 5 NOTES: Jackson defeated Rockwood Summit 49-14. Next weekend’s other Class 5 semifinal will feature Holt (12-0) vs. Fort Osage (11-1). The Class 5 title game is scheduled for Dec. 3 in Columbia. 




Lebanon      7    6   0   0—13

Webb City   7    7   7  14—35



WC: Dupree Jackson 1 run (Dante Washington kick)

LEB: Cade Muscia 4 run (Quinton Doughty kick)

WC: Washington 7 run (Washington kick)

LEB: Doughty 40 field goal. 

LEB: Doughty 23 field goal

WC: Jackson 4 run (Washington kick)

WC: Washington 29 pass from Vaden (Washington kick)

WC: Vaden 37 run (Washington kick)


FULL STATS: Webb City HS (


Webb City’s Kaylor Darnell returns a kick during Friday’s Class 5 quarterfinal against Lebanon.


Webb City’s McQuade Eilenstein looks to bring down Lebanon’s Peyton Mitchell.

BOYS BASKETBALL: McAuley boys looking for returning lettermen to step up in 2021-22

After graduating three key seniors last season, McAuley Catholic boys basketball will be looking to its returning players to take on a bigger role in order to find success in 2021-22.

“We lost a lot statistically from last season due to graduation and we have some guys who lack varsity experience,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said. “We gained valuable experience this summer, but we still have some unknowns. It is going to take some time to develop a rotation and for guys to accept their role. This is a hard-working, coachable, tight-knit group that is very motivated. We are going to get better every day and hopefully be playing our best basketball in February. I am extremely excited to see what this group can do.”

The Warriors are looking to replace graduates Daniel Wagner, Thomas Black and Matthew Dohmen, who accounted for 78 percent of the team’s scoring last season and 77 percent of the team’s rebounding for a squad that advanced to the district title game a year ago.

Among the returning lettermen expected to play a more important role this season is sophomore guard Rocco Bazzano-Joseph, junior guard Joe Staton and senior forward Jeffery Horinek. Bazzano-Joseph was the sixth man last year, averaging 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, while Staton started 24 games and averaged 2.2 points and Horinek started 20 games and averaged 2.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

“Jeffery is a solid post defender and rebounder,” Witt said. “We will need him to take on a bigger role this year on both ends of the floor. … Joe is a crafty guard who loves to play defense. He has a high basketball IQ and is a natural born leader. … (Rocco) played significant minutes in every game (last season) and is our returning leading scorer. He is a good shooter and has worked on being a scorer.”

Other returning lettermen include junior G/F Kable Reichardt, senior G Kevin Tran, senior G Jacob Bracich and sophomore G/F Bradley Wagner. Also joining the varsity squad this year is senior F Declan Berkstresser, junior G Noah Black and freshman G Michael Parrigon.

“We need multiple guys to step up and provide for us this year,” Witt said. “And we have guys who are capable of doing that, but will it be the same guy’s night in and night out? It is going to take some time for us to figure some things out. Our roles are going to shift a bit, but once we get that figured out as well as a stable rotation, I expect us to start making some positive strides.”

The biggest keys to success this season will be how well the Warriors compete on the defensive end and then follow that up with a rebound. While it is expected that the offense will need some time to get the rotations figured out, Witt was adamant that the effort on the defensive end will be what decides the outcome of most games.

“Competing consistently, especially on the defensive end and rebounding,” Witt said. “We can’t have a great defensive possession and then not rebound. We can’t have bad quarters or wait to start playing until the second half. … We will have to come out every night playing our best to win games. For us to reach our full potential, we will have to be solid defensively. We must collectively guard the ball without fouling and finish off possessions by limiting teams to one shot. Offensively, it is essential for us to value the basketball and give ourselves opportunities to score, but it is crucial for us to keep people from scoring.”

McAuley opens the season with a road matchup against Liberal on Nov. 23 before taking part in the Gem City Classic from Nov. 29-Dec. 4. The Warriors open at home against Pierce City on Dec. 7.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Four key performers return for Carl Junction 


The Carl Junction High School boys basketball will rely on four returning letterwinners and a large group of newcomers this winter.

“We are excited for this season,” Carl Junction coach Justin Pock said. “I think we have multiple athletes who will get the chance for some varsity minutes. We have multiple guys that are capable of doing many positive things for us on the basketball floor.”

Seniors Kyler Perry, Josh Cory and Jaiden Cherry and junior Ayden Bard are expected to lead the way for Carl Junction in 2021-22.

A 5-foot-11 guard, Perry averaged six points and three rebounds last season.

“He has good speed and can take it to the basket,” Pock said. “He also is very capable from 3. Kyler will be a leader and comes in with the most varsity experience of all of our players.” 

Cory, a 6-2 forward, averaged 10 points and five boards last year.

“Josh is a solid, physical presence on the floor that can play inside,” Pock said. “He is a tough and aggressive physical presence. Josh will need to be a leader on both ends of the floor for us.”

Perry and Cory gained starting experience last year. 

Cherry, a 6-2 G/F, contributed three points and two rebounds a game last winter.

“He’s an athletic inside-out type player who can use his length on the defensive end,” Pock said. 

Bard, a 6-2 guard, is expected to take on a bigger role after averaging two points and two boards a game last season.

“Ayden is very athletic,” Pock said. “He is smooth with the ball. He has quick feet and we expect him to have a big year and make a big impact for us.” 

Pock noted there are several juniors and sophomores who are competing for varsity playing time.

“It’s a hungry group that is ready to work and prove that they can compete at a high level,” Pock said. 

Juniors who could possibly contribute at the varsity level are Ky Warren, Malachi Moore, Xavier Perkins, Nate Planchon, Andrew Jones, Lucas Vanlanduit, Zach Merwin and Jayden Wingo. 

Sophomores who are expected to compete for playing time are Jett Hocut, Quin Kennedy and Aiden Beachner.

The Bulldogs went 7-19 last season and graduated Alex Baker, Blake Poorman, Sincere Williams and Mylas Derfelt. Baker was an all-conference and all-district performer who is now playing baseball at Missouri Southern. 

Pock noted the keys to success are simple.

“We’ll need to leave it all on the floor every night,” Pock said. “We play in the toughest conference in the state and we know you can’t have any off nights in this league. You have to answer the call night in and night out. Our plan is to focus on what we do and make sure our execution is as clean as it can be. We know we will need to play a high level defensive ballgame in which we hope to create turnovers and easy opportunities. We’ll need to be physical on the glass and be able to push teams out of their comfort zones.” 

Carl Junction will begin the season at the Forsyth Tournament on Nov. 29. The team’s home opener is Dec. 14 against Seneca.