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DOUBLE DUTY: Miller’s Price has coached both girls, boys teams this winter


Sean Price hasn’t had many nights off this winter.

That’s because Price has been coaching both the girls and boys basketball teams at Miller High School.  

Yes, you read that correctly — Price has been pulling double duty throughout the 2021-22 campaign.

After leading Miller’s boys last year, Price took over the reins of the girls program this winter after the head coaching position came open.

“We had a good year with the boys last year,” Price said. “I think these girls and the community saw what we did with the boys and they wanted me to step in and coach them too. I said I couldn’t just coach the girls, so I asked about doing both. Our administration, our school board and our community were all supportive of me doing that, so it just worked out.”

Since winter practices began in early November, Price has been on a journey that can be described as exhaustive yet enjoyable and rewarding.

Throughout the regular season, the girls play on Monday and Thursday nights, while the boys take the court on Tuesday and Friday nights. Throw in occasional tournaments on Saturdays and Price hasn’t had many nights off. 

“It’s been really busy, but I’ve got a great wife who has allowed me to be gone a lot,” Price said. “I’ve had great support in the community. They’ve let me do things the way I think it should be done. It’s really been an awesome experience.”

Price regularly held combined practices with the boys and girls. 

“We did a lot of practices together,” Price said. “I think it helped both groups to have more people to compete with. And that allowed us to do some different things in practice.” 

Miller’s boys suffered a season-ending loss to top-seeded College Heights Christian in the district semifinals this past week. 

The Miller Cardinals pose with the district championship plaque on Saturday at Verona High School. It’s the program’s fourth straight district crown. Miller meets Blue Eye in the sectional round of the state tournament on Wednesday night at Carthage High School.

Miller’s girls are in the midst of a season to remember. 

Ranked third in Class 2 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, Miller is now 23-3 after claiming the District 12 championship by beating College Heights 57-28 on Saturday at Verona High School. 

Winners of 12 straight games, Miller’s girls meet fourth-ranked Blue Eye (24-5) in the sectional round of the state tournament at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Carthage High School. 

Miller has captured four straight district championships and it’s the fourth straight season the program has secured at least a share of a conference title (three were outright championships). The girls went 28-2 last year, falling in the quarterfinal round. 

The Cardinals are led by senior standouts Claudia Hadlock, Payten Richardson and Kaylee Helton. The trio have won more than 100 games as prep basketball players. 

“We’ve got good basketball players,” Price said. “All the credit goes to the girls for their determination, their grit and their drive to be successful. They’ve been dedicated and they’ve worked hard since they were young kids. They’re the best group I’ve ever been around.”  

Blue Eye defeated Miller 31-27 back on Dec. 13. The rematch will determine who advances to the quarterfinals on March 5 in Republic. 

After pulling double duty all winter, Price is now solely focused on leading his girls squad to a deep postseason run.

“We’ve got a good group of girls and they’ve been here before,” Price said. “They know what it takes. Their hard work has paid off. It’s nothing I’ve done. It’s all them. I think anybody could have stepped in and these girls would win a lot of games. Hopefully we’ll have a few more games with these girls. We want to keep it going.”



Sean Price talks to his Miller Cardinals during a timeout on Saturday at Verona High School. Miller captured a district championship for the fourth straight season. Price also coached the Miller boys this winter. Photo by Jason Peake.

GIRLS DISTRICT HOOPS: McAuley falls to Golden City in the district championship

In a true seesaw battle, top-seeded Golden City outlasted fourth-seeded McAuley Catholic 38-36 to win the Class 1 District 5 championship on Saturday at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School. 

McAuley’s Kennedy DeRuy drives the baseline in the Warriors’ loss to Golden City on the district title game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“They gave it everything they had inside and played with so much heart,” McAuley coach Mike Howard said. “I told them to leave everything on the floor because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and they did everything I asked them to do. They played tremendously on defensive. … Our girls really executed the game plan well. It was just a back-and-forth game between two teams that know each other well. … I really felt like whoever had the ball last was going to win that game. Unfortunately, it’s just once bounce, one roll, one foul from being a different story.”


McAuley closes the season with a 18-11 record, making it to its fourth straight district title game. The Warriors graduate seniors Kennedy DeRuy, Avery Eminger and Kayleigh Teeter. Teeter (1,383 points) and DeRuy (1,379 points) are currently third and fourth on the Warriors’ all-time girls scoring list, respectively.

“I have been excited for this senior class since they came to team camp in seventh grade,” Howard said. “Once they got here, I couldn’t have asked for better leaders or role models on and off the court. … I love them to death and they’ve meant the world to me.”

McAuley’s Kloee Williamson eyes room to drive in the Warriors’ loss to Golden City on the district title game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

McAuley started the fourth quarter with a one-point advantage before Kloee Williamson pulled down an offensive rebound for a putback score, earned a steal and drew a foul on the next defensive possession and made the two subsequent free throws to give the Warriors a 39-34 lead with 30 seconds expired.

Golden City (22-5) answered with six straight points, four from Brooke Beerly, to take a 30-28 lead with 5:40 left.

Avery Gardner knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:34 on the clock to put McAuley in front 32-30 and DeRuy pushed the lead to three with free throws coming with 2:44 left in regulation. 

Beerly added an inside score with 90 seconds left to trim the lead to one before she pulled down an offensive rebound for a putback score with 16 seconds left to give Golden City a 37-36 advantage.

A game-tying shot was missed with less than 10 seconds to play at the other end, and Ahree Lutes added a free throw with 0.9 seconds left to push the lead to two.

McAuley’s Avery Eminger battles in the paint during the Warriors’ loss to Golden City in the district title game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“This team has been through more adversity than any team I have ever coached,” Howard said. “There hasn’t been one game where we have had every player healthy. We have had multiple games with only six players with girls injured. One of our best players, our point guard, Kayleigh Teeter went out halfway through the year with a knee injury. That really made other girls have to step up, take charge and fill in voids they weren’t necessarily comfortable with. It took a while but we grew as a team and were trending in the right direction towards the end of the season. For them not to give up and keep battling and fighting through all of that adversity, I just love every single one of these girls.”


Kyndall Scott led Golden City with 10 points, while Beerly and Maggie Reed each finished with nine. Lutes had seven.

DeRuy and Lily Black each had 11 points to lead McAuley in scoring. Gardner had five, while Williamson and Eminger each finished with four.


Golden City takes on District 6 champion Drexel in the Class 1 sectional tournament with a 6 p.m. matchup on March 1 at Webb City High School. 

BOYS DISTRICT HOOPS: Thomas Jefferson beats Golden City for district title

For the second time in two seasons, the Thomas Jefferson boys basketball team has earned the title of district champions.

Thomas Jefferson’s Caden Myers attacks the basket in the Cavaliers’ win over Golden City in the Class 1 District 5 championship game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Thomas Jefferson built a slim lead just before halftime and used a staunch defensive effort in the third quarter to push the margin to double digits. Golden City made a run at the lead down the stretch, but the Cavaliers held the Eagles off by converting at the free-throw line to preserve the 49-38 win for their second consecutive district title.

“It feels great,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said with a smile after his team’s win. “The biggest thing is the kids’ ability to execute a game plan, and they executed it to perfection. To hold Golden City under wraps like they did for most of the game, and we knew they were going to have a run in them, but we really held them in check all night and we are really proud of the kids for their defensive effort tonight.”

The Cavaliers, who played in their fourth straight district title game on Saturday, advance to take on District 6 champion Rich Hill at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the Class 1 sectional round at Webb City High School.

“I want to see exactly what we have been doing to get us to this point,” Coach Myers said. “We want to play team basketball. We want to play good, solid team defense and we will let the rest take care of itself.”


Thomas Jefferson’s Jay Ball scores in the low post during the Cavaliers’ win over Golden City in the Class 1 District 5 title game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Thomas Jefferson came up with the first real momentum swing in the game and it came at the end of the first half. With Golden City leading 17-15 with 2:34 on the clock, Thomas Jefferson closed the second period on an 8-0 run with field goals coming from Jay Ball, Levi Triplett and Caden Myers, with Myers’ bucket coming just before the horn to send the Cavs into the locker room with a 23-17 advantage.

Out of the break, Thomas Jefferson put the clamps down defensively and limited Golden City to just three points in the third quarter. The Cavaliers opened with a 10-1 run, with Caden Myers accounting for five points and Tyler Brouhard with three.

“Anytime you can create any type of separation against a team like Golden City, you are going to be pleased,” Coach Myers said. “We preach defense and we keep preaching it. That is two games in a row we have held two really good teams in check enough to get it done. 

“I am a defensive guy. I always have been my entire life, even dating back to my football days. You will hear me say it a zillion times, defense wins championships.”

Josh Reeves had the only make from the field for the Eagles in the third period, which came on the drive with 1:24 to play, cutting TJ’s lead to 13. 

Brouhard added a bucket on the drive just before the horn to push the TJ lead to 35-20 to open the fourth quarter.

Golden City captured its first spurt of momentum in the second half when Elijah Pettengill opened the final eight minutes of play with back to back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to single digits, 35-26. The Eagles cut the lead all the way down to four, 40-36, after two free throws from Max Parrill with four minutes left, but that would be as close to the lead that Golden City would get.

Thomas Jefferson’s Tyler Brouhard shoots from the perimeter in the Cavs’ win over Golden City in the Class 1 District 5 championship game. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Thomas Jefferson—which went to the free-throw line 20 times in the fourth quarter (14-of-20), accounting for all of their points in the final period—was 9-of-14 from the stripe in the final four minutes to ice the win.

“When you have a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter, it changes your mindset a little bit,” Coach Myers said. “They made a great run at us, and even though we would have liked to make a few more of those free throws, the kids stepped up and hit big ones down the stretch to finish it off.


Ball had 14 points to lead Thomas Jefferson, while Caden Myers and Brouhard each finished with 12 in the win.

Reeves had a game-high 20 points to lead Golden City, while Pettengill finished with 13 points in the loss. 

DISTRICT HOOPS: Area Class 5 squads have mixed results in Willard


WILLARD, Mo. — Area squads had mixed results at the Class 5 District 6 basketball tournament on Saturday at Willard High School.

Girls teams from Carl Junction and Webb City earned victories, while Neosho and McDonald County suffered season-ending setbacks.

On the boys side, Neosho and Webb City claimed wins, while Carl Junction and McDonald County saw their seasons come to an end. 



Top-seeded Carl Junction defeated eighth-seeded Hillcrest 75-34, while fourth-seeded Parkview topped fifth-seeded Neosho 53-36.

Second-seeded Willard beat seventh-seeded McDonald County 74-43 and third-seeded Webb City edged sixth-seeded Bolivar 55-51.

In Monday’s semifinals, Carl Junction will take on Parkview at 6 p.m. and Webb City will meet Willard at 7:30. 

The title game is slated for 6 on Friday night. 



Top-seeded Bolivar handled eighth-seeded Carl Junction 74-23, while fourth-seeded Neosho beat fifth-seeded Willard 78-67.

Second-seeded Parkview upended seventh-seeded Hillcrest 57-52, while third-seeded Webb City beat sixth-seeded McDonald County 71-53.

The semifinals are set for Tuesday, with Bolivar vs. Neosho at 6 and Parkview vs. Webb City at 7:30.

The title game is scheduled for 7:30 on Friday night. 




Freshman Sami Mancini scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Cardinals, while Kenzie Robbins added 11 points and Kate Brownfield had 10.

Cora Roweton scored 17 points to lead Bolivar. 

This one was close all the way, as there were eight ties and 11 lead changes. 

The Liberators led 15-12 at the end of the first quarter and 27-24 at halftime. Webb City led 39-38 after three periods of play. 

The Cardinals outscored the Liberators 16-13 in the fourth quarter. 

Robbins knocked down a key 3-pointer late in the game and the Cardinals connected on 8-of-13 free throws in the second half. 



Neosho’s Karlee Ellick and Beclynn Garrett scored eight points apiece in the loss to Parkview. 

The Wildcats finish the season at 8-18.



“We played a great team game tonight,” Neosho coach Zane Culp told SoMo Sports. “I’m so proud of our guys for showing up and just taking care of business. Our defense was outstanding on their big men tonight. I can’t say enough about our effort.”

Neosho led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter and the Wildcats held a 37-30 advantage at intermission. Neosho was clinging to a 53-45 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Wildcats finished strong by putting up 25 points in the fourth period.  

Four players scored in double figures for the Wildcats.

K’dyn Waters scored 23 points to lead Neosho, while Isaiah Green had 19, Kael Smith contributed 15 and Carter Baslee chipped in 11 points. 

Trey Pulford scored 25 points for Willard and Brett Hall had 16.



A big third quarter and Max Higginbotham’s big night propelled the Cardinals past the Mustangs. 

The Cardinals were up 28-23 at halftime, but they erupted for 27 points in the third period. 

Webb City went up 20 at 52-32 on Higginbotham’s four-point play late in the third quarter. The Cardinals never gave up their big lead in the final frame.

A senior guard, Higginbotham led Webb City with 29 points. He made eight 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the third period. 

Kaden Turner added 11 points for the Cardinals, while Isaiah Brisco, Dante Washington and Trey Roets added nine points apiece. The Cardinals, now 18-8, played without Cohl Vaden.

Acher Wagner scored 11 points for McDonald County, while Eli McClain and Teddy Reedybacon added seven points apiece.

The Mustangs finish the season at 12-14.

BOYS DISTRICT HOOPS: College Heights boys claim 2nd straight district championship, advance to sectional round


VERONA, Mo. — After last year’s historic postseason run, the College Heights Christian boys basketball team was left wanting more.

That extra motivation showed on Saturday. 

Ignited by a second-quarter surge, and with a stellar overall performance, top-seeded College Heights Christian rolled to a 71-57 win over third-seeded Verona in the championship game of the Class 2 District 12 tournament inside a packed Verona High School gymnasium.

“That’s a great win,” College Heights coach Eric Johnson said. “We played well. You just never know when you play on someone else’s court in a district championship game. They came out hot, but we were able to match them basket for basket. And when they cooled off, we kept going. I’m proud of our kids. They came ready to play. They stepped up.

“It helped us that we were in this game last year,” added Johnson, who recently surpassed 650 coaching victories. “It’s a great feeling. Our seniors experienced it last year and they wanted that feeling again. The goal is to win in the next round too. We’ll enjoy this tonight and then get ready for the next one.” 

After capturing a second straight district championship, College Heights advances to the sectional round of the state tournament, where they’ll meet Blue Eye at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday at Carthage High School.

“This feels really great,” College Heights senior guard Miller Long said. “We were expecting to win this all year. I wouldn’t want my senior year to end any other way. It’s great to put in the hard work and see it pay off. We know we can go farther this year.”

Members of the College Heights Christian Cougars celebrate after Saturday’s 71-57 win over Verona in the district championship game. College Heights is in the sectional round for the second straight year.

College Heights made its first-ever state appearance last year, falling to Crane in the sectional round. This year, the Cougars hope to go one step further.

“Last year’s experience is going to help us tremendously,” Long said. “Last year, we didn’t know what to expect going into sectionals. This year we know what to expect and I think we’re going to do great.” 

Ranked fifth in Class 2 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, College Heights hiked its record to 23-4. 

Senior Ethan Meeks scored 22 points to lead the Cougars, as the 6-7 forward recorded 11 hoops in the paint. 

Long added 18 points with two 3-pointers and junior forward Curtis Davenport had 16 points. Senior point guard Ethan Adel contributed nine points while running the show. 

Verona ends the season with a 17-11 record.

Sophomore Jacob Stellwagen scored 22 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Wildcats, while senior Jaiden Carrasquillo and freshman Jessy Gamel added 13 points apiece. Verona made 10 treys in the game. 



As far as a key to victory, the Cougars used good ball movement to get high-percentage shots in close. The taller Cougars imposed their will inside. Besides three treys, College Heights recorded nearly every other basket in the lane. 

“That was our game plan,” Johnson said of getting the ball inside. “We were able to hurt them inside. We knew that was where our advantage was.”

College Heights led 24-18 at the end of a back and forth first quarter that featured 10 lead changes.  

The Cougars took control in the second period, outscoring the hosts 21-11.

Everything was clicking for the Cougars, who closed the first half on a 16-2 run for a 45-29 halftime advantage. Meeks scored 10 in the second period.

The Wildcats stayed within striking distance by making three treys in the third quarter. 

Nevertheless, late hoops from Meeks and Long gave CHC a comfy 59-40 lead heading into the final frame.

The Cougars would never relinquish their lead in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats trimmed their deficit to 12 before the visitors responded with six of the next eight points. 

Johnson noted a tough regular-season schedule has the Cougars battle-tested for the postseason. 

“It was probably the toughest schedule College Heights has ever had,” Johnson said. “That was on purpose. We wanted to play good teams and that pays off at this time of year.”

The College Heights Christian Cougars pose with the district championship plaque on Saturday in Verona. Photo by Jason Peake.


GIRLS DISTRICT HOOPS: No. 4 Nixa starts fast in district-opening win over Joplin

Second-seeded Nixa surged out to a big lead after the first quarter and never looked back in a 78-54 win over seventh-seeded Joplin in the opening round of the Class 6 District 5 tournament inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

Fourth-ranked Nixa opened the game with all of the momentum, jumping out to a 17-2 lead and taking a 31-9 lead into the second period. Nixa carried the lead into the fourth before pushing the advantage to 30 early in the period.

“It was a rough first quarter and it was hard to overcome,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “Nixa is a great team. They are what they are for a reason. I thought our girls expected to win when they stepped on the floor and kept playing regardless of the score. … That says a lot about the character of our team. We continued to fight up until the final buzzer and I am proud of the girls for that.”


Joplin finishes the season with a 12-15 record and graduates seniors Brooke Nice, Ella Hafer and Emma Floyd, Coach Floyd’s daughter.

“Overall, we have made such great improvements from two years ago,” Coach Floyd said about this season. “Even from the beginning of this year, we have improved immensely. … To compete with a team like Nixa, that doesn’t happen last year and probably not for most of this year. Coming out and expecting to win is a huge improvement. The foundation we have laid going forward, it’s a program that is going to compete on a nightly basis and not rollover.

“As far as the seniors go, for Ella and Brooke to welcome me and my family into this community, I could not be more thankful for coming across kids like that. They wanted to buy in and build this program. 

“With Emma, from the time she was a baby, she was at practice with me. It will be different not having her going forward.” 


It was all Nixa over the first four minutes of the game, as the Eagles raced out to a 15-point lead. Macie Conway highlighted the run with seven points, including a 3-pointer. Alison Kamies also had six points in the early surge.

“I think nerves played a large part in our early turnovers,” Coach Floyd said. “They play aggressively on defense. When you give them easy layup opportunities, the basket is going to grow for them. I felt like we made the adjustment after the first quarter. We just cannot replicate what we are going to see in practice and until you actually play against it, it takes an adjustment period. That is where we fell behind early.”

Nixa took a 31-9 lead into the second period and held that margin into the intermission, holding a 52-30 cushion at the break. 

Nixa closed the third quarter on a 7-0 run and scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to start a running clock, pushing the lead to 74-43 in the process.


Conway led Nixa with a game-high 21 points, while Kamies finished with 20 points in the win. Norah Clark finished with 15 points.

Nice led Joplin after tying with a game-high 21 points, including six 3-pointers. Brynn Driver and Hafer each finished with 10 in the loss.


Nixa takes on third-seeded Republic at 7:30 p.m. on March 1 in the district semifinals inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

GIRLS DISTRICT HOOPS: Fast start leads Ozark past Carthage in opening round

No. 7 Ozark made five 3-pointers in the first quarter and built an insurmountable double-digit lead on the way to a 40-21 win over Carthage on Saturday in the opening round of the Class 6 District 5 tournament inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

Ozark (20-6) closed the first quarter with a 16-0 run and that number proved to be the difference as the lead remained the same through the second and third periods. Carthage had a chance to cut the lead to 10 early in the fourth, but Ozark was able to hold CHS at bay and push the lead back out by the final horn.

“We dug ourselves into a hole right from the beginning,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “We didn’t have game-ready energy. This is district-level play. You can’t come out half speed or hesitant, and you can’t play defense out of your area. … That was an execution problem defensively. Once we shored that up at the quarter break, it was an even game the rest of the way. I was proud of the girls for fixing that and playing better the rest of the game, but that first eight minutes dug us into a hole we couldn’t get out of.”


Carthage ends the season with an 11-16 record and graduates seniors Presley Probert and Sophie Shannon.

“Record-wise, going into the season, we probably aren’t too far off what we thought,” Moore said about his team’s season. “Kianna (Yates) and Sophie (Shannon) were our only returning varsity players with major experience. We knew the next six or seven kids in the rotation would be experiencing first-time situations. That is hard. … We played great at the Pink and White Tournament and we played really well at the Pittsburg tournament. But the last three weeks of the year, we kind of went out on a whimper. I am the type of person that wants to go out with a snarl, not a whimper. I did think we went out the last three quarters with a snarl on our face, so I am proud of them for that.”


After both teams knocked down shots from the perimeter to open the scoring, Ozark used a 16-0 run to close the first quarter to steal the momentum early with a 19-3 lead. Ozark converted five times from long range, with Lyla Watson making a trio of 3-pointers in the first eight minutes. Jordyn Foley and Zeffie Kent each connected from long range as well.

Carthage improved remarkably on the defensive end in the second quarter, limiting Ozark to six points on just two field goals and a free throw. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t find its rhythm against Ozark as Carthage went into the intermission still trailing by 16, 25-9.

Ozark played with a 16-point lead through the third quarter, but Carthage used a score off the drive by Yates and a free throw from Shannon to trim the lead to 13 early in the fourth. CHS had an open look at a 3-pointer that would have cut the lead to 10 with 4:30 on the clock, but the shot was no good and Ozark answered with a 6-0 run to essentially push the game out of reach.


Watson led Ozark with 12 points, while Moriah Putt had eight points. Alexis Solomon and Riley Boggs each finished with five.

Yates had 12 points to lead Carthage.


Ozark battles top-seeded Kickapoo at 6 p.m. on March 1 in the district semifinals. 

DISTRICT GIRLS HOOPS: College Heights suffers title game setback to talented Miller


VERONA, Mo. — College Heights Christian girls basketball coach John Blankenship focused on the positives in the moments following a season-ending setback. 

Top-seeded Miller defeated second-seeded College Heights Christian 57-28 on Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Class 2 District 12 tournament at Verona High School. 

Despite the loss, Blankenship remained optimistic, noting there’s no shame in ending the season in a district title game against one of the state’s best squads. Ranked third by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, Miller captured a district title for the fourth straight season. 

“Miller’s an incredible team,” Blankenship said. “I watched hours of game film on them and we knew what to expect. They’re quick and they rotate so well on defense. They’re smart. As a team, they probably have one of the highest basketball IQs I’ve seen in all of my years of coaching. They’re just a very solid team.”

The Cougars have another reason to feel good. College Heights will return its entire roster next winter, as the team has no seniors. 

“I hope this will motivate us,” Blankenship said. “Seven of our 13 kids are freshmen. We have no seniors. I’m hoping this will create a drive in them to work really hard in the offseason. Hopefully we’ll be back in this spot next year.”

The Cardinals used an active zone defense to force the Cougars into numerous turnovers. When they weren’t converting steals into layups, Miller showed the ability to attack the basket or knock down perimeter jumpers. 

The result was a 21-point lead by halftime. 

“I was very proud of my kids,” Blankenship said. “We came out and executed fairly well on the offensive end to start with. We didn’t turn the ball over against their traps early in the game. But we struggled defensively. They’re a hard team to match up with.”

College Heights ends the season with a record of 15-11. 

“I’ve been incredibly impressed and pleased with my team this season,” Blankenship said. “We’re so young. For them to play for a conference championship and to play for a district championship was great. I’m really excited about our future.” 

Junior guard Jayli Johnson led College Heights with nine points, while classmate Addison Lawrence added eight points and freshman Ava Lett contributed six. Freshman Libby Fanning had nine rebounds to go with four points.

The Cougars finished the season without the services of junior Lauren Ukena, who suffered a season-ending injury. Sophomore Maddy Colin and freshmen Molly Long, Fanning and Lett all gained valuable experience this winter. 

With a 12th straight win, the Cardinals improved to 23-3.

Senior guard Claudia Hadlock led Miller with 19 points, while classmate Kaylee Helton added 15 and fellow senior Payten Richardson had nine. 

Miller meets Blue Eye (24-5) in the sectional round at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Carthage High School. 



The Cougars hung tough early, as a pair of hoops from Fanning kept College Heights within one, but Miller used a 13-2 run to go up 18-6.

College Heights received treys from both Lett and Johnson late in the opening frame, but the Cougars trailed 20-12 at the end of the first quarter. 

The Cardinals took control with an 18-5 second quarter, as a bucket inside by Long and a 3-pointer from Lawrence were CHC’s only points of the frame. 

Up 38-17 at halftime, Miller blew the game open with a 16-2 third period. 

Hadlock scored 11 during the quarter, and the Cardinals held a comfortable 54-19 lead entering the fourth period.

The final outcome was never in doubt in the final frame. 

“College Heights is a really good basketball team,” Miller coach Sean Price said. “They did a lot of good things this year. Our girls are excited to get this win. To get where we want to go we needed to win districts. That’s the first step. I’m extremely proud. We’re ready to move on.”


College Heights coach John Blankenship talks to his squad during Saturday’s district title game against Miller at Verona High School.


The Miller Cardinals pose with the district championship plaque after knocking off College Heights Christian. Miller advances to the sectional round of the state tournament on Wednesday at Carthage.

DISTRICT BOYS HOOPS: Perimeter shooting catalyst for Thomas Jefferson in district semifinal win over Lockwood

Third-seeded Thomas Jefferson caught fire from the perimeter early and went on to knock down 12 field goals from 3-point range on the way to a 60-44 win over second-seeded Lockwood in the Class 1 District 5 semifinals on Friday at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School.

“It’s huge when you are shooting the ball that hot, but we shot the ball that hot because we were executing our offense,” TJ coach Chris Myers said. “If you look back at every one of those 3s, they came from a post kick. We established that post game … and got really high-percentage looks for our kids.”

The host Cavaliers (20-6) move on to the district championship round. Thomas Jefferson takes on top-seeded Golden City (18-8) with a 7:30 p.m. matchup on Saturday.


Thomas Jefferson used a barrage of 3-pointers to build an 18-8 lead over Lockwood by the end of the first period. The Cavaliers knocked down four shots from the perimeter in the first eight minutes, with Drew Goodhope, who finished with 14 first-quarter points, splashing down all four of the 3-pointers.

“Tonight is not out of the norm for him,” Coach Myers said. “He is a 48 percent career 3-point shooter. He can shoot the basketball. Whenever he gets those shots with his feet set in the flow of our offense, he’s deadly.

“There were a couple of things that really set the tone in that first quarter and I think the first one was our defense. We held them to eight points. … Our defense really set the tone and our boys’ offensive execution allowed them to shoot the ball extremely well and build that lead.”

The hot shooting from beyond the arc didn’t stop after the first period, as the Cavs buried five more 3-balls in the second period to hold a 37-23 lead by the intermission. Goodhope added two more perimeter makes, with Caden Myers knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and Jake Jarrett also converting from 3-point range.

Thomas Jefferson pushed the lead to 19 points, 47-28, with 4:45 on the clock after Goodhope capped a 10-2 run with a 3-pointer from the corner. The Cavaliers ultimately took a 50-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Thomas Jefferson maintained its double-digit lead down the stretch thanks in large part to the success at the free-throw line. The Cavs were 8-of-10 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.

“We were having a little trouble taking care of the ball there down the stretch, but we talked about it in a (late) timeout,” Coach Myers said. “We (just needed) to take care of the ball and they were going to have to foul us eventually. Knock ’em down and the free-throw line and get out of here with a W.”


Goodhope led Thomas Jefferson in scoring with a career-high 28 points. Jarrett and Tyler Brouhard each finished with eight points, while Caden Myers finished with seven.

Lockwood was led in scoring by Kane Cooper’s 18 points. Connor Lewandowski finished with nine.

DISTRICT BOYS HOOPS: Golden City pulls away from McAuley in the semifinals

Fourth-seeded McAuley Catholic played with top-seeded Golden City for every bit of the first half and even held a lead in the third quarter before the Eagles used a pair of scoring runs down the stretch as the catalyst in a 62-51 win over the Warriors in the Class 1 District 5 semifinals on Friday.

McAuley trailed by five at the half before knocking down the first two shots of the third quarter to take the lead. Golden City (18-8) used a 12-5 run in the third quarter and an 11-0 run in the fourth period to build an insurmountable lead down the stretch to earn the win.

“We didn’t give up,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said. “I don’t know what we were from the field in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t good. You have to take your hats off to Golden City. They’re not the No. 1 seed in this district just because. They are a good ball club. They exploited some of our weaknesses a couple times (in the second half). We had a little bit of momentum in the third before they went on a run to blow it open and never look back.”

McAuley ends the season with a 7-21 record and graduates seniors Kevin Tran, Jacob Bracich, Jeffrey Horinek and Declan Berkstresser.

“I am very optimistic looking forward,” Witt said. “We gained a ton of experience. … We showed signs of growth and mental toughness throughout the year in terms of taking on adversity, learning from it and getting back to what we do.”

Golden City advances to take on third-seeded Thomas Jefferson in the district championship game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.


Golden City took a 16-15 lead into the second period and pushed the lead out to nine points thanks to a 10-2 run out of the break led by four points from Josh Reeves and two 3-pointers by Elijah Pettengill to make the score 26-17.

Thomas Jefferson used a 12-4 spurt in response to trim the deficit to one with less than a minute to play in the first half. Noah Black had a pair of 3-pointers for the Warriors, while Michael Parrigon, Bradley Wagner and Bracich all head buckets.

The Eagles pushed the lead to 34-29 by the intermission thanks to two makes at the foul stripe by Reeves and a last-second jumper from Max Parrill.

The Warriors came out of halftime with back to back 3-pointers from Black and Parrigon to take a 35-34 lead, but that would be the last McAuley would hold the advantage on the scoreboard. Golden City closed out the third quarter on a 12-5 run to take a 46-40 cushion into the fourth period. 

“We’ve had eight guys lead us in scoring this year,” Witt said about the offensive struggles in the second half. “When the ball is going in, it’s contagious. We need to have someone step up next season when we have one of those scoring lulls. That is what is going to separate us from being mediocre to being a good ball club. When teams are scoring, you have to stop them or score back and we didn’t do either of those in the second half.”

The Eagles led by five early in the fourth quarter and used an 11-0 run to build an insurmountable double-digit lead. 


Reeves finished with a game-high 29 points to lead Golden City in scoring. Pettengill knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points. 

Black finished with 13 to lead McAuley, while Rocco Bazzano-Joseph finished with 12 points in the loss. Parrigon finished in double figures with 10 points, while Bracich added six points.

BOYS HOOPS: Joplin holds off Neosho for Senior Night win to close out regular season

Joplin ended the regular season on a high note, sending its senior class out with a win after holding off No. 9 Neosho late for a 67-63 win in Central Ozark Conference action on Tuesday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

Joplin senior Always Wright attacks the rim in the Eagles’ Senior Night win over Neosho on Tuesday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

The first half saw a bevy of ties and lead changes before the Eagles used a late surge to take the advantage and the momentum into the intermission. Joplin played in front for the entire second half until the Wildcats tied the game up with a minute left in regulation orchestrated by K’dyn Waters. A tip-in basket from Joplin’s Terrance Gibson with 20 seconds left ultimately sent the Eagles home with the win.

“It was Senior Night so there was probably a lot of emotions for the kids,” Joplin coach Bronson Schaake said. “That can go either one of two ways. I thought the way we ended the first half was kind of what we needed. In the second half, I was waiting for the last run to put the nail in the coffin but we let them stay in it. But, that is the way you want to end it, especially for your seniors.”


Joplin honored five members of the team with Senior Night ceremonies before the game—Always Wright, Joe Jasper, Brantley Morris, LT Atherton and Calvin Clark. 

“I told them the national average to make it to your senior year is four kids,” Schaake said. “For them to make it all the way through, and some of them weren’t suiting up on varsity last year. To keep pushing through, that showed me a lot about their character. I’ve never had any issue with them. They come in and do their job. That is big.”

Neosho’s K’dyn Waters scores inside during the Wildcats’ loss to Joplin in the season finale. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Joplin closes its first regular season under Coach Schaake with an 18-7, 6-3 COC record. The Eagles are the fourth seed as the hosts of the Class 6 District 5 tournament. Joplin opens play against fifth-seeded Republic with a 4:30 p.m. matchup on Monday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

“I told them to enjoy this win until midnight and then we have to kind of reboot it,” Schaake said. “We have a week off and then we start our second season. This is when it matters. I think over the next couple of days, we will get our legs back and start amping up for Republic. They are a tough opponent.”

Neosho closes the season with a 16-10, 3-6 COC record and is the fourth seed in the Class 5 District 6 tournament. The Wildcats take on the fifth-seeded Willard, the host school, at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Just reflecting on the regular season, it was the most wins since 2005,” Neosho coach Zane Culp said of his team’s season ahead of district play. “We won the Holiday Classic championship and competed in every COC game except two. It has been a lot of fun this season. We know we had a really good junior class coming into the season and K’dyn Waters just pushed us over the edge. … I can’t ask for a much better regular season competitive-wise.”


To say the first half was a seesaw affair would be an understatement. There were five total ties and eight lead changes through the first two quarters of play, with Joplin coming away with the last momentum swing during the closing minutes of the second period.

Neosho built a 29-23 lead after a 3-pointer from Kael Smith with less than three minutes to play in the first half. All Wright knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to cut the lead to three with two minutes to play before Morris grabbed a defensive board and went coast to coast for a layup to cut the deficit to 29-28. 

Joplin’s Terrance Gibson stuffs home a one-handed dunk in transition during the Eagles’ win over Neosho. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Two free throws from Waters pushed the lead back to three for the Wildcats, but a 3-ball at the top of the key by All Wright with 1:02 to play tied the game at 31-31. Atherton earned a steal at the other end that turned into a Gibson dunk the other way with 15 seconds left that gave Joplin a 33-31 lead. All Wright came away with another steal, the Eagles’ third forced turnover inside the final minute of the half, and finished off the play with a dunk on the break just before the horn to send JHS into the intermission up 35-31.

“We just got out of what we did a little bit,” Culp said. “We had our only bad turnovers of the whole half right there and gave up some transition points and offensive rebounds. If you give Joplin extra chances, they’re going to get you.”

The Eagles played with the four-point cushion for much of the third quarter until Carter Fenske grabbed an offensive board for a putback and Waters followed with a score on the break off a Joplin turnover to send Neosho in the fourth trailing 48-47.

Joplin looked as if it had taken control of the game with a 7-0 run near the midway mark of the fourth quarter to build a 63-35 lead. All Wright had a 3-pointer from the wing and converted a floater in the key to bookend the small spurt. Quin Renfro added a driving score.

Neosho refused to go away, answering back with the next eight unanswered points to tie the game up at 63-all with 62 seconds left in regulation. Waters accounted for all eight points, scoring three times on the drive as well as making a pair at the foul line.

“I was really proud of our guys’ effort after playing last night on the road at Ozark to come out here and compete tooth and nail,” Culp said of his team’s fight to the game late. “It could have got away from us, but we came back and fought to tie by getting some big stops on the defensive end without having to pressure them.

The Eagles regained the lead for good when Always Wright was no good on a layup while attacking the basket but Gibson was there for the clean up, tipping in the miss with 20 seconds left to give Joplin a 65-63 lead.

Joplin’s All Wright looks for room to drive in the Eagles’ win over Neosho on Tuesday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

After a turnover by Neosho and subsequent foul, Always Wright iced the Senior Night win after sinking two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining.

“That’s kind of the way you would like to end it if you are a senior,” Schaake said. 


All Wright led Joplin with a team-high 22 points, while Gibson finished with 17 in the win. Always Wright was in double figures with 12 points, while Whit Hafer closed with eight.

Waters led Neosho with a game-high 27 points, including 10-of-11 shooting at the free-throw line. Isaiah Green closed with 13 points, while Smith added 11.


GIRLS HOOPS: McAuley tops Bronaugh, advances to district title game



The fourth straight season, the McAuley Catholic girls basketball team will compete for a district championship. 

Second-seeded McAuley Catholic defeated third-seeded Bronaugh 48-41 in a semifinal contest of the Class 1 District 5 tournament on Tuesday night at Thomas Jefferson.

“Tonight was a fantastic game,” Warriors coach Mike Howard said. “It was a rematch of a game that came down to the wire last week at Bronaugh. We came up on the short end of that game and we were determined not to let that happen again. Our girls battled extremely hard tonight and showed a lot of energy and grit. Our leaders stepped up and made some big shots down the stretch. Our seniors were determined to get back to the district championship game for the fourth time in four years.” 

The Warriors (18-10) will meet No. 1 seed Golden City (21-5) at 6 on Friday in the district championship game. 

“We face a difficult challenge in Golden City for the district championship,” Howard said. “We will study film and be as prepared as possible for this game. Our girls will be ready! They are not ready to be finished playing!”

McAuley led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and took a 23-22 lead into halftime. 

The Warriors won the third period 13-5 to go up 36-27. Bronaugh outscored McAuley 14-12 in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors never gave up the lead. 

“I want to applaud Bronaugh for a fantastic season,” Howard said. “They only had six girls on their roster all year. We have faced our own challenges this year, so we know what it’s like to play with low numbers. But to do it for an entire season says a lot about their character and commitment. Hats off to them for making the most of what they have.”

Kennedy DeRuy scored 22 points to lead McAuley, while Kloee Williamson had 12 points and Avery Eminger added nine. 

Nicole Hagerman scored 18 points for Bronaugh and Gretchen Banes added 10. 

Golden City handled fifth-seeded Sheldon 46-25 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

Brooke Beerly scored 23 points for Golden City, while Maggie Reed added 12. 

Madison Garren and Deborah Lamb scored eight points apiece for Sheldon.

GIRLS HOOPS: Joplin cruises past McDonald County to end regular season

While the Joplin girls basketball team celebrated Senior Night on Monday, the Eagles officially put the regular season to bed with a 63-28 win over McDonald County on Tuesday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

Joplin used an early run in the first quarter to take the momentum before a game-defining surge in the second quarter firmly planted the Eagles in front for good.

“I thought the girls came out locked, focused and ready to go tonight,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “They played their tails off. Defensively, I could not be more proud of that first half. The way we moved the ball on offense, I don’t think we settled tonight. We made the extra pass, played good team basketball and that got us out to a big lead.”

Joplin’s Brynn Driver scores on the break in the Eagles’ win over McDonald County in the regular season finale. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Joplin closes the regular season with a 12-14 record, as the program’s win total continues to climb under Coach Floyd, who is in his second year at the helm. The Eagles up from seven wins last season and four wins the year prior.

“It’s another step in the process,” Coach Floyd said of his team’s regular season. “We let some get away that we felt we should have won, but that’s part of changing the culture here. We have to expect to win when we step on the floor. We talked last night about our three seniors (Ella Hafer, Emma Floyd and Brooke Nice) and they are a huge part of our program. Losing them, we are going to need girls in our locker room to step up next year. To see the little girls in our locker room before the game and behind our bench during the game is what it’s about. We want Joplin Lady Eagle basketball to be a destination for little girls and we can take pride that we are starting to turn that corner.”

Joplin heads into the postseason as the hosts of the Class 6 District 5 tournament. The Eagles are the seventh seed and take on second-seeded Nixa (22-4) at 2 p.m. on Saturday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

“We need to have a consistent effort,” Coach Floyd said about his upcoming matchup with Nixa. “We want to step on the floor and expect to win the game. They are good and we respect the heck out of Nixa, but we really feel like that is a good matchup for us.”


Joplin was the aggressor out of the gates, jumping out to a 13-1 lead over the first five-plus minutes of action. Brynn Driver knocked down a 3-pointer to kick off the scoring in the game. Ella Hafer added a bucket inside and Emma Floyd splashed down a 3-pointer for an 8-0 lead. Brooke Nice converted two charities and ended the early surge with a 3-ball from the top of the key.

“That is our biggest battle this year—confidence,” Coach Floyd said of the early run. “There is a difference between going on the floor expecting to win and going on the floor hoping to win. I told them we should always go out expecting to win, and that was how we came out tonight.”

The Eagles led 17-10 heading into the second quarter when Hafer earned a steal for a score on the break and followed it up with an inside score to push the lead to 21-10. McDonald County got on the board in the second period on a bucket from KaitLynn Townsend, but it was all Joplin from there. 

Joplin essentially put the game out of reach after using an 18-0 run to build a 41-14 lead heading into the intermission. Nice started the run with a 3-pointer, while Driver led the run with seven points, including a 3-pointer. Emma Floyd had four points to help fill out the spurt.

“It was all about staying focused after building the lead in the first quarter,” Coach Floyd said. “If you can stretch out an 18-0 run, it’s because you are taking care of the ball and playing good defense. That was one of our strengths tonight—taking care of the basketball. If we are not throwing the ball out of bounds or to the other team, we are a tough team to beat.”

The Eagles pushed the lead to more than 30 out of the half, using a layup off the break by Hafer and back to back 3-pointers by Nice and Driver to make the score 49-14. Joplin cruised through the final 12 minutes of action.


Driver closed with five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points, while Nice knocked down three 3-pointers on the way to 16 points. Hafer finished with 13 points and Emma Floyd added seven in the win.

McDonald County was led in scoring by Anna Clarkson’s seven points. 

BOYS HOOPS: Webb City starts fast, holds off Carthage late on Senior Night


WEBB CITY, Mo. — Ignited by a tremendous start, Webb City earned a 61-54 victory over longtime rival Carthage on Tuesday night in an intense Central Ozark Conference boys basketball clash.

Taking the court for the final regular season home date, the energized Cardinals came out firing on all cylinders. Dominant on both ends, Webb City built a 21-point cushion in the first quarter. 

“That’s probably the best eight minutes of basketball we’ve played all year,” Cardinals coach Jason Horn said of his team’s first quarter. “Defensively, we were flying around and our ball pressure was really good. Offensively, we were playing inside-out. We were getting easy shots at the rim and we were able to connect on some 3s. Everything was clicking for us.” 

The Tigers pulled within four early in the fourth quarter before the Cardinals did more than enough down the stretch to secure the Senior Night win. 

“It was a combination of foul trouble and we had a letdown defensively,” Horn said. “We started getting comfortable and getting out of position. We told them the game was far from over and that we needed to continue to play at a high level and stay focused. We had a letdown in the second quarter and Carthage’s intensity rose. We knew Carthage wasn’t going to quit. They’re a good team.” 

The Tigers, who outscored the Cardinals 48-38 after the opening frame, simply couldn’t overcome the poor start.

“You can’t fault our kids for how hard they played,” Tigers coach Nathan Morris said. “But that’s what we told the guys last year when they were learning and maturing and not ready to win games…you’re going to get congratulated for playing hard. But just playing hard doesn’t win you the game. We didn’t show up in big moments tonight. Kudos to Webb City for making free throws and kudos to their seniors.” 

Webb City’s Kaden Turner drives to the hoop against Carthage on Tuesday night. Max Templeman drew a charge on the play. Photo by Israel Perez.

Ranked sixth in Class 5, Webb City hiked its record to 17-8 overall and 5-3 in the COC.

The Cardinals went 17-for-38 from the floor (45 percent).

A key to the win was free throwing shooting. The Cardinals made 22-of-26 at the charity stripe. 

Senior forward Kaden Turner paced Webb City with 14 points and nine boards, while senior guard Cohl Vaden had 12 points and four assists before being ejected in the third quarter.

Junior guard Dante Washington scored 11 points, while senior guard Max Higginbotham contributed nine points on three treys. 

Webb City out-rebounded Carthage 35-17.  

Carthage slipped to 18-7 and 4-5 in conference games.  

The Tigers made 19-of-51 field goal attempts (37 percent). 

Junior guard Max Templeman led the Tigers with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Senior guard Joel Pugh added 13 points and five rebounds. 



With everything going their way, the Cardinals raced out to a 23-2 lead.

But the Tigers regrouped and finished the first half on a 20-8 run. Webb City’s halftime advantage was 31-22. 

Carthage’s Max Templeman scores in the lane against Webb City’s Trey Roets on Tuesday night. Photo by Israel Perez.

The third quarter was nearly even, as the Tigers outscored the Cardinals 13-10.

In a third period that featured a little bit of everything, Webb City’s Trey Roets had to go to the bench with his fourth foul. Next, Vaden had to head to the locker room after picking up a flagrant foul and then a technical.

A trey from Britt Coy cut Webb City’s lead to 39-35, but Isaiah Brisco’s hoop gave the Cardinals a 41-35 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.

The back-and-forth fourth quarter saw the Cardinals clinging to a slim lead. The Tigers received treys from Clay Kinder and Pugh, but the Cardinals never relinquished their lead.

A trey from Higginbotham made it 60-50 with just under two minutes to play. 

Webb City made 13-of-14 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter, with Dupree Jackson, Turner, Roets and Washington contributing.

“Carthage kept coming at us,” Horn said. “We had some seniors who didn’t want to lose their last home game. They willed us to that victory. Kaden Turner was great on the free throw line. Dupree Jackson and Isaiah Brisco stepped up. Max hit a big shot down the stretch. It was a group effort. Dante stepped up and handled the point. Landon Johnson was big for us in the second quarter.” 

Webb City is slated to play at Branson on Thursday, weather permitting. 



Webb City recognized seniors Cohl Vaden, Kaden Turner, Dupree Jackson, Isaiah Brisco, Max Higginbotham and Baylor Dickinson on Tuesday.

“It’s a great group,” Horn said. “They’ve gotten better every year and we’ve been fortunate to have them in the program. They’ve worked hard to get to this point. It’s been great to see their growth. Their leadership has been huge this year. They want to go out the right way. They’re hungry to keep playing.” 



Carthage’s boys are the sixth seed for the loaded Class 6 District 5 tournament. The Tigers take on No. 3 Ozark at 7:30 on Monday at JHS. 

“We didn’t take care of business against two of the three district teams that we faced,” Morris said. “We’ve got Ozark. We battled them for three quarters before they put it on us in the fourth quarter. If there’s anything that’s going to fuel you, I would think it would be giving up 80 points to Ozark last week.”

Webb City’s boys are the No. 3 seed for the district tourney. The Cardinals take on No. 6 McDonald County at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

“Our district is loaded with four ranked teams,” Horn said. “There’s not an easy game. We have our work cut out with McDonald County. They have a good group and I know they’ll be looking forward to playing us again. At this point, it’s survive and advance.” 


FULL STATS: Webb City HS (

Webb City’s Cohl Vaden looks for an opening inside against Carthage on Tuesday. All photos by Israel Perez for SoMo Sports.


Carthage’s Tyler Willis scores in the lane against the Cardinals on Tuesday.


GIRLS HOOPS: Webb City earns Senior Night win over Carthage


WEBB CITY, Mo. — A fast start, a strong finish and a little extra motivation propelled Webb City to a hard-fought 38-29 victory over rival Carthage on Tuesday night in a Central Ozark Conference girls basketball clash inside the Cardinal Dome.

Highly-motivated on Senior Night, Webb City scored the first 10 points of the game and then used an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on a solid win that closed out the home schedule.

“We wanted to come out and get off to a good start tonight on Senior Night,” Cardinals coach Lance Robbins said. “We wanted to play well for our seniors because it’s the last time they’re going to play in this gym. We wanted to send them out on a positive note, and I thought we were able to do that. Our keys were to defend the 3-point line, handle their pressure and rebounding. I thought we did that for 90 percent of the game.” 

Webb City junior guard Kate Brownfield shoots a 3-pointer during Tuesday’s game with Carthage. Photo by Israel Perez.

Webb City is now 11-13 overall and 3-5 in the COC. 

Senior forward Kenzie Robbins led the Cardinals with 12 points on four treys, while junior guard Kate Brownfield added 11 points, hitting three treys, to go with a team-high eight rebounds. 

The Cardinals made 13-of-39 field goal attempts (33 percent). The hosts out-rebounded the visitors 31-24.

Carthage slipped to 11-15 and 2-7 in the COC. 

Junior guard Kianna Yates scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Tigers, while freshman guard Lauren Choate added seven points. 

The Tigers shot 22 percent for the game, hitting 10-of-46 field goal attempts. 



The Cardinals scored the first 10 points of the night and held a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

The Tigers struggled offensively against Webb City’s zone defense. In fact, Carthage made just two of its first 16 field goal attempts. 

“I thought our length and how active we were in the zone caused them problems,” Robbins said. 

Carthage junior guard Kianna Yates makes a runner in the lane against Webb City on Tuesday night. Photo by Israel Perez.

Kenzie Robbins’ third 3-pointer of the first half gave Webb City a 13-3 advantage, but the Tigers finished the second quarter on a 9-0 run. 

Yates and Choate both knocked down treys to cap the run, trimming Carthage’s deficit to one at the break, 13-12. 

The Cardinals began the second half on an 8-0 run, but the Tigers answered with a 10-5 surge. With that, Webb City’s lead was 26-22 entering the fourth quarter.

The Tigers cut their deficit to two early in the final frame on a hoop from Yates, but the Cardinals finished strong, using an 11-2 surge to pull away for good. 

During the late spurt, Brownfield and Izzy Lopez both hit 3-pointers, Sami Mancini converted a hoop in the lane and hit a free throw and Ripley Shanks scored inside.

“Carthage’s girls played hard,” Robbins said. “I thought our kids made some huge shots at the end of the game. I thought we did a good job of being patient, getting good ball movement by using Sami inside to kick it out. We took good shots and we were able to knock them down.” 

Webb City’s girls will conclude the regular season at Branson on Thursday, weather permitting. 



Webb City recognized seniors Josie Spikereit, Kenzie Robbins, Austyn Mickey and Ripley Shanks.

“All four of those kids have brought something different to the table,” Coach Robbins said. “They’re great kids. It’s a great group. I’ll remember their work ethic and their overall toughness. We’re certainly going to miss them.” 



Webb City’s girls are the No. 3 seed for the Class 5 District 6 tournament in Willard. The Cardinals take on No. 6 Bolivar at 2:30 on Saturday.

“Bolivar is going to be a tough game for us,” Robbins said. “We just look forward to the opportunity to go out and compete.” 

Carthage’s girls are the fifth seed in the Class 6 District 5 tournament. The Tigers take on No. 4 Ozark at 12:30 on Saturday at Joplin High School. 


FULL STATS: Webb City HS (

Carthage’s Sophie Shannon puts up a jumper against Webb City’s Kenzie Robbins and Ripley Shanks on Tuesday night inside the Cardinal Dome. Photos by Israel Perez for SoMo Sports.


Webb City freshman Sami Mancini shoots in the lane against Carthage’s Sophie Shannon on Tuesday. Webb City won the game 38-29.

GIRLS HOOPS: College Heights pulls out close win, advances to district title game


VERONA, Mo. — Second-seeded College Heights Christian made more winning plays down the stretch and the Cougars upended third-seeded Marionville 52-47 on Monday night in a semifinal contest of the Class 2 District 12 girls basketball tournament at Verona High School.

“Marionville is a great team,” College Heights coach John Blankenship said. “This was a great win for us tonight. We had a strong second quarter, scoring 19 points, and our defense really stepped up holding them to eight points in the quarter. Marionville’s coach did a great job of keeping her kids in the game. They played extremely well and tied the game in the fourth quarter. It was close down the stretch. Our defense got a couple of key stops late in the fourth quarter that were instrumental in securing the win. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. They work hard, they are coachable and our team unity is great. They are such a fun group to coach.”

With the win, the Cougars (15-10) will meet No. 1 seed Miller (22-3) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the district championship game.

“Our reward for winning will be to play Miller, who is ranked third in the state for Class 2,” Blankenship noted. “It will be a difficult matchup for us, but we’re excited just to be in the championship game with such a young team. We are grateful for the opportunity.”

Libby Fanning once again had a double-double for the Cougars, as the freshman recorded 15 points and 14 rebounds. Addie Lawrence contributed 11 points for CHC, while Jayli Johnson compiled nine points, six steals and five assists. 

Maddy Colin contributed eight points, six rebounds and three assists for CHC, while Molly Long chipped in eight points and seven rebounds. 

In Monday’s other semifinal, Miller rolled past fourth-seeded Wheaton 61-18.


GIRLS HOOPS: Carl Junction ends regular season with loss to Nixa; Bulldogs are No. 1 seed in district


CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Carl Junction nearly erased a 16-point deficit in the second half, but the spirited comeback attempt fell short.

Despite a valiant effort, the Bulldogs suffered a 70-59 setback to Nixa on Monday night in Central Ozark Conference girls basketball action. 

In their regular season and home finale, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing by 16 in the third period to the league-leading Eagles.

But Carl Junction didn’t quit. Instead, the Bulldogs put together a furious 15-0 surge to pull within one with just over five minutes to play.

However, Nixa never relinquished its lead, as the Eagles closed the game on a 24-14 spurt.

Bulldogs coach Brad Shorter was definitely pleased with his team’s tenacity.

“I love how our girls didn’t give up,” Shorter said. “They just kept fighting. They did everything they could to stay in the ballgame. We started making plays and I loved how our kids kept fighting. That’s going to help us down the road.”

Ranked seventh in Class 5 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, Carl Junction ends the regular season at 19-7 and 6-3 in the COC. 

Pictured is Carl Junction junior guard Destiny Buerge. Buerge scored 27 points for the Bulldogs on Monday against Nixa. File photo by Shawn Fowler for SoMo Sports.

Junior guard Destiny Buerge poured in 27 points to lead the Bulldogs. Buerge, who has already surpassed 1,500 career points, made eight field goals, including two 3-pointers, to go with nine free throws.

Sophomore forward Kylie Scott added 13 points, while freshman forward Dezi Williams contributed 11 points and junior guard Hali Shorter had nine points on three treys. 

Ranked fourth in Class 6, Nixa hiked its record to 21-4 and 8-0 in the COC.

Four players scored in double figures for the Eagles, as Macie Conway scored 23, Norah Clark had 17, Ali Kamies scored 15 and Rhianna Gibbons contributed 12. 

The Eagles can complete an undefeated run through the COC with a win against Neosho on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs hung tough early, as the hosts trailed 16-15 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter. 

Nixa’s aggressive full-court pressure defense took its toll on the Bulldogs in the second period. The Eagles forced CJ into numerous turnovers and outscored the hosts 17-3 in the game-changing frame to take a 33-18 halftime advantage. 

Carl Junction played a large part of the second quarter without Buerge, who went to the bench with two fouls.

“The second quarter definitely hurt us,” Shorter said. “When Destiny is off the floor we turn it over more. The frustrating part is we didn’t do a very good job of running our press-breaker. Once we did, we were able to get some easy buckets. But Nixa’s defense is awfully strong.”

The teams traded hoops for a large part of the third quarter, and Nixa went up 46-30.

But that’s when the Bulldogs got going.

Carl Junction scored the final eight points of the third quarter, as Buerge scored in the lane, Hali Shorter drilled a 3-pointer and Williams contributed a hoop inside and a free throw.

Nixa’s lead was 46-38 entering the fourth quarter. 

The Bulldogs rattled off the first seven points of the final frame, as Buerge buried a trey, scored on a strong drive through the lane and made 2-of-4 foul shots. 

Buerge’s free throw cut her team’s deficit to one with just over five minutes to play.

Nixa’s Kamies stopped the run by knocking down a 3-pointer. 

Buege hit two more shots at the charity stripe to keep it a one-possession game, but the Eagles went on an 8-2 run to gain enough separation to hold off the hosts down the stretch. 

Carl Junction kept coming, as a trey from Shorter cut Nixa’s lead to 62-57 with 39 seconds remaining.

The Eagles went 8-for-8 at the foul line late in the game. 

“We just couldn’t close it out,” Coach Shorter said. “That’s something we have to continue to work on. When we have a lead or when we’re down by a few, we need to be able to get the possession that we want. It’s going to be possession basketball from here on out. But it’s great for us to be in games like this against a quality team.”



Carl Junction is the No. 1 seed for the Class 5 District 6 tournament.

The Bulldogs take on No. 8 Hillcrest at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Willard High School. 

With a win, Carl Junction would meet either No. 4 Parkview or No. 5 Neosho in the semifinals on Feb. 28. As far as a possible matchup in the title game, Willard is the No. 2 seed, with Webb City seeded third. 

Under Coach Shorter’s direction, Carl Junction has earned a district championship in six straight seasons.

The Bulldogs would love to extend the streak to seven this winter.

“Games like this and games in the COC prepare us for the district tournament,” Shorter said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do…one game at a time and all those cliches. But that’s how we look at it. We have to get ready for Hillcrest. We have to clean up some things and keep fighting. I’m proud of our kids. They’ve worked hard and they’ve gotten better this season. And they’re really fun to coach. Hopefully we can make a push in the postseason.”

BOYS HOOPS: Cavaliers, Warriors earn district tourney wins; Neosho falls at Ozark



Third-seeded Thomas Jefferson jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back in a district-opening win against Bronaugh on Monday as the hosts of the Class 1 District 5 tournament.

The Cavaliers (19-6) scored the game’s first 16 points and limited the Wildcats to three in the opening period to take control of the contest. Thomas Jefferson held a 42-21 lead by the intermission and put the game away in the third after pushing the lead to 31 points.

“I thought our kids came out strong and never really looked back,” TJ coach Chris Myers said to SoMo Sports. “It was a good opening-round win, but our focus is now on Lockwood.”

Caden Myers had 22 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead Thomas Jefferson in scoring. Jay Ball had 15 points and 13 rebounds to finish with a double-double, while Tyler Brouhard had 11 points, eight rebounds, six steals and four assists in the win. Luke Miller added nine and Drew Goodhope eight.

Eli Griffiths and Strauss Banes each scored 10 points to lead Bronaugh. 

Thomas Jefferson takes on second-seeded Lockwood (18-8) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the semifinals. Lockwood defeated seventh-seeded Everton 55-10. 



Fourth-seeded McAuley Catholic built an early lead and played add-on on the way to a Class 1 District 5 opening-round win over fifth-seeded Sheldon on Monday at Thomas Jefferson Independent High School.

The Warriors (7-20) built a five-point lead after the first eight minutes of action before taking a 27-21 lead into the intermission. McAuley pushed the lead into insurmountable territory in the third quarter, outscoring Sheldon 22-8 to balloon the lead to 20.

Noah Black led McAuley with 22 points, while Rocco Bazzano-Joseph finished with 16 points for the Warriors.

Shon Bogart had 13 points to lead Sheldon.

McAuley takes on top-seeded Golden City at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.



OZARK, Mo. — Ozark rode a strong second half to an 83-63 win over Neosho on Monday night in Central Ozark Conference action.

The Wildcats led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter, and the visitors held a 32-29 lead at intermission.

The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 54-31 in the second half. Ozark won the third period 28-13 and then won the fourth quarter 26-18.

“I’m proud of our guys’ effort tonight,” Neosho coach Zane Culp said. “They went out and competed really hard and played 20 minutes of really good basketball. Every person stepped up when we needed it tonight.”

Isaiah Green scored 12 points for the Wildcats, while Carter Baslee and Carter Fenske added 11 points apiece. Kael Smith contributed 10 points and Jared Siler had eight. Neosho played without K’dyn Waters.

Ethan Whatley scored 26 points for Ozark, while Tyler Harmon added 19. 

Neosho (16-9, 3-5 COC) concludes the regular season at Joplin on Tuesday night.

GIRLS HOOPS: Joplin pulls away down the stretch for win over Neosho on Senior Night

Joplin girls basketball sent its senior girls off on a high note, pulling away from Neosho in the fourth quarter on the way to a 40-26 win over the Wildcats on Monday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

Joplin senior Brooke Nice knocks down a shot from the perimeter in the Eagles’ win over Neosho on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

The Eagles (11-14, 2-7 COC) trailed early before rallying to take a lead by halftime. Joplin gained separation in the third quarter and pulled away from the Wildcats (8-17, 0-8 COC) for a Central Ozark Conference win on Senior Night.

“The most important thing tonight was getting the win,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “It was kind of a slow start but that is to be expected on Senior Night. There was a little bit of a lull, but I thought the girls did a great job in the second quarter of coming back and getting the lead. We calmed down the nerves and started taking care of the ball to pull away in the second half. Defensively, I thought we played great all night.”


The Eagles honored three student-athletes with Senior Night ceremonies—Ella Hafer, Emma Floyd and Brooke Nice.

“I thought Emma said it really well in her Senior Night introduction,” said Coach Floyd, who is in his second season at the helm of Joplin. “These girls have been extremely welcoming to our family. When you are a junior or senior and a new coach comes in, it’s easy to ignore them and do things the way that they’ve been doing them. But, they have bought in from Day 1, work hard every day and set a great example for our kids. As we continue to build our program, these three seniors are who our team can look up to and model themselves after in the years to come.”


Neosho opened the game with the momentum, jumping out to an 11-2 run over the first six minutes of action. Karlee Ellick started the run and closed the run with a pair of inside scores, while Beclynn Garrett added a 3-pointer and a mid-range jumper and Raine Harris scored in the paint to fill out the early surge.

Joplin responded by closing out the quarter outscoring Neosho 7-2, with Riley Kelly scoring inside and Nice knocking down a corner 3-pointer, to trim the deficit to 13-9 heading into the second period.

The Eagles took the lead for the first time 15-13 when Nice and Brynn Driver knocked down consecutive 3-balls with 4:20 left to play in the second quarter. Joplin carried that two-point cushion into the intermission, 23-21.

Joplin got hot late in the third period, closing on an 8-2 run to push the margin to 31-24 to start the fourth quarter. Nice closed the third with a 3-ball off an inbounds pass with 30 seconds left before sinking another perimeter shot with five seconds left on the clock.

“Once we started going inside out to Brooke and she was able to knock down some shots, it really opened up the rest of the offense,” Coach Floyd said. “She is such a good ball player and she really opens things up for us like that.”

The Eagles continued to separate from the Wildcats in the fourth quarter by forcing Neosho into a rash of turnovers with a full-court press out of the break that turned into a 9-0 run for Joplin at the other end, pushing the lead to 40-24 with three minutes to play.

“It was nice to be on the other side of the turnover barrage for once,” Coach Floyd said. “It created momentum for us. We should get confidence from our defense. Once we started turning them over in the press, that is when our offense got a lot better.”

Hafer and Nice had transition layups, while Driver knocked down a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass and Emma Floyd pulled down an offensive rebound for a putback score.

Joplin senior Emma Floyd contests a short in the Eagles’ win over Neosho on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Nice led Joplin with 14 points, while Driver finished in double figures with 10 points. Hafer closed with nine and Emma Floyd finished with four points.

Ellick scored 12 points to lead Neosho, while Garrett closed with seven points in the loss.


Joplin hosts McDonald County at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to wrap the regular season.

Neosho travels to Nixa on Tuesday night before taking on Parkview at 11:30 p.m. at Willard High School in the Class 5 District 6 opening round on Saturday.

Joplin senior Ella Hafer backs down her opponent during the Eagles’ win over Neosho on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

GIRLS HOOPS: Webb City suffers COC loss at Republic


REPUBLIC, Mo. — Despite a solid effort, Webb City suffered a 54-42 setback to Republic on Saturday afternoon in a Central Ozark Conference girls basketball clash.

The Tigers scored the first 13 points of the second half to take an 18-point cushion. The Cardinals trimmed their deficit to six late in the game, but it wasn’t enough.

Webb City fell to 10-13 overall and 2-5 in the COC.

Freshman forward Sami Mancini scored 19 points to lead the Cardinals, while junior guard Kate Brownfield added 14 points.

Brownfield had 11 of Webb City’s 19 first-half points, while Mancini scored 13 points in the second half. 

Ranked eighth in Class 6, Republic improved to 18-6 overall and 7-1 in the COC. 

Missouri State recruit Kaemyn Bekemeier scored 27 points for the Tigers. 

Struggling with turnovers early in the game, the Cardinals recorded just two field goals in the first quarter, hoops from Brownfield and Mancini, and the visitors trailed 14-5.

The Cardinals turned things around in a hurry as soon as the second quarter arrived. Webb City started the second period on a 12-0 run to take a 17-14 lead.

But Republic closed the first half on a 10-2 surge, with Bekemeier scoring eight to give the Tigers a 24-19 halftime lead. 

The hosts scored 13 unanswered points to begin the third quarter to blow the game open at 37-19.

The Cardinals scored seven straight points late in the third period, but the visitors trailed 39-28 entering the fourth quarter. 

Five points from Mancini trimmed Webb City’s deficit to six at 39-33 with six minutes to play. A 3-pointer from Mia Robbins and a bucket from Mancini cut Republic’s lead to six with 1:32 to play. 

But the Tigers made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to secure the win. 

Webb City, a 49-43 winner at East Newton on Friday, hosts Carthage at 6 on Tuesday.