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PREP HOOPS ROUNDUP: TJ boys and Nevada girls earn wins; TJ girls fall in overtime

THOMAS JEFFERSON BOYS 67, EVERTON 13

Thomas Jefferson bounced back from its first loss of the season by starting white hot and separating itself from Everton early in a 67-13 win on Tuesday.

After a tough loss to Diamond on Monday, the Cavaliers bounced back in a big way, wasting no time taking it to the Tigers to the tune of a 33-3 first quarter. With the game firmly in hand with a halftime lead of 41-9, Thomas Jefferson put the game away in the third quarter after outscoring Everton 18-2 to force a running clock in the final eight minutes.

The boys came out with great intensity early,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said to SoMo Sports. “After a tough loss last night, we wanted to focus on working hard to improve in the areas we have to get better in. I thought our kids did a good job of that tonight. We know we aren’t where we need or want to be yet, so the goal is to keep working to get there. We are excited to face a very good Lockwood team next week in our final game before the break.”

The Cavaliers, who won the Gem City Classic on Saturday, improved to 6-1 on the season with the win.

Jay Ball led Thomas Jefferson in scoring with 18 points to go along with a team-high 12 rebounds and two blocks to finish with a double-double. Caden Myers added 13 points, five steals and three assists. Drew Goodhope finished in double figures with 12 points, while Jake Jarrett added seven points. Tyler Brouhard had six points, four steals and four assists.

Thomas Jefferson is at Lockwood on Dec. 13.

 

EVERTON GIRLS 49, THOMAS JEFFERSON 45

The Thomas Jefferson girls saw a 12-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter with Everton going on to win in overtime 49-45.

The Cavaliers (0-4) held a 12-11 lead going into the second period before outscoring the Tigers 12-2 to take a 24-13 lead into the locker room. Trailing 32-20 heading into the fourth quarter, Everton outscored Thomas Jefferson 22-10 to force an overtime period, closing out the comeback big 7-3.

Jazzmenn Loney scored 32 points, including two 3-pointers, to lead Everton. Ezra Wood and Kenzie Sartin each had six.

Gabbi Hiebert led Thomas Jefferson with 13 points, including one 3-pointer, while Presley Long added nine and Nico Carlson eight. Sara Mueller finished with seven points, while Tannah and Lannah Grigg each had four.

Thomas Jefferson is at Lockwood on Dec. 13.

 

NEVADA GIRLS 53, PITTSBURG 38

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Clara Swearingen scored 18 points to lead Nevada’s girls to a non-conference victory over the Purple Dragons.

The Tigers (4-1) also received 11 points from Abbey Heathman and nine points from Maddy Majors.

Jacqueline Hall scored 15 points for Pittsburg. 

Nevada doubled up Pittsburg in the first quarter, 16-8. But at the break, the Tigers were only up 28-25. 

The visitors used a 10-4 third period to pull away at 38-29. Nevada outscored Pittsburg 15-9 in the final frame.

Nevada is at Clinton on Thursday. 

BOYS HOOPS: McAuley falls to Pierce City on late free throw in a thriller

McAuley Catholic battled back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game up late in the fourth quarter only to see Pierce City rewarded with a foul call on a 50-50 ball that ultimately led to the go-ahead free throw being made with .3 seconds remaining in a 32-31 win on Tuesday.

“They have shown me a lot in the last week,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said of his team’s ability to fight back from a deficit. “That is something we didn’t have this summer, and I was worried about it. But, there is no quit in them. We just have to do a better job of not putting ourselves in these positions to lose games. We could have won the game in the fourth quarter, sure, but the first, second and third quarter is what lost it for us. That and we missed 10 free throws, so there is the game right there.”

The Eagles led 31-21 two minutes into the fourth quarter before the Warriors scored the next 10 points over a span of five minutes to tie the game at 31-all with a minute to play. Declan Berkstresser started the run with a pair of makes from the charity stripe before Noah Black scored on a drive to the hoop to make the score 31-25. A free throw from Kable Reichardt and a baseline jumper from Michael Parrigon trimmed the lead to three with 2:30 left. Parrigon added another charity before Jacob Bracich scored inside the paint at the one-minute mark to tie the game.

After a miss from each team, Pierce City took the ball out just past midcourt with 1.1 seconds left before turning it over on an errant pass that ended up in the rafters, giving the ball to McAuley with the same time remaining.

McAuley’s inbounds pass went to the top of the key where the Warriors’ Jeffery Horinek and Eagles’ Clayton O’Hara both went up for the ball simultaneously. A whistle blew, with an offensive foul called on Horinek, sending O’Hara to the line with .3 left in regulation. O’Hara made the front end of a one-and-one to send Pierce City to the win.

“It’s tough when there is a 50-50 ball and there could be a foul called either way and the game comes down to one person making the decision, not the 10 players on the floor,” Witt said. “We are going to watch some film and we are going to figure out that in certain situations you have to keep a cool head and understand the big picture.”

Following a slow-moving first period that saw Black hit a stepback 3-pointer at the horn to tie it at 7-7, Pierce City was able to get an advantage after every quarter change thanks to being the aggressor out of each break.

“It’s almost like they are comfortable playing from behind,” Witt said of his team falling behind every quarter change. “That is not what successful teams do. We have got to do a better job every quarter and win the first two minutes, whether that is at the free-throw line or on the defensive end. We can’t just sit back and be passive for the first two minutes and then start playing.”

In the second quarter, the Eagles used a 6-0 run off consecutive 3-pointers from Ashton Medlin to build a 13-7 advantage before the Warriors closed the first half on a 6-0 run highlighted by a Black score off the drive and a 3-ball from Reichardt in the corner off the assist from Joe Staton to tie the game at 13s by halftime.

“It was big for us because even though we didn’t play well in the first two quarters, we are still tied going into halftime,” Witt said of his team’s run to close the second quarter. “

Opening the second half, Pierce City used back-to-back three-point plays from Garrett Jespersen and Emmit Price and a corner 3-ball from Medlin for a 9-0 run to push the lead to 22-13. 

And again, the Warriors rallied, going on a 7-2 run to trim the lead to four points. Horinek grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback score to kick off the run before Bracich followed suit with an offensive board and putback to make the score 22-17. After a basket off the drive by Pierce City’s Zane Clayton, a free throw from Bracich and a layup by Reichardt trimmed the lead to 24-20.

The Eagles pushed the lead back with another 3-ball from Medlin while taking a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

SCORING LEADERS

Medlin knocked down five 3-pointers to lead the Eagles with 15 points, while Price had seven and Jespersen five.

Reichardt and Black each had seven points to lead McAuley in scoring, while Bracich had five. Berkstresser and Parrigon each had three.

UP NEXT

McAuley hosts Sarcoxie on Dec. 10.

BOYS HOOPS: Thomas Jefferson suffers first loss to Diamond

DIAMOND, Mo. — Thomas Jefferson suffered its first loss of the season after taking an early first-quarter lead before Diamond rallied in the middle quarters on the way to a 47-44 win on Monday.

The Cavaliers (5-1) started the game with a 15-7 lead after the first quarter. The Wildcats cut the lead to two, 24-22, by halftime before outscoring Thomas Jefferson 14-11 in the third quarter. Both teams played even over the final eight minutes, with Diamond holding on for the win.

We got off to a great start early in the ball game and really did a great job of getting established,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said to SoMo Sports. “Credit to Diamond and Coach Adams for making an adjustment, and making it tough for us to get the ball to the basket. We kind of lost our composure late in the game and that’s something we hadn’t done over the past couple of games. From here, it’s just back to work, learning from our mistakes and looking to grow as individuals and as a team.”

Diamond was led by Hunter Shallenburger, who finished with 18 points. Tyler Daniels added 12 and Eli Cupp finished with nine. 

Jay Ball, who scored 10 points in the first quarter, finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds to lead Thomas Jefferson. Tyler Brouhard had nine points and three blocks, while Caden Myers had five points and four steals.

Thomas Jefferson hosts Everton on Tuesday.

 

GIRLS HOOPS: Diamond takes control early in win over Thomas Jefferson

DIAMOND, Mo. — Diamond built a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter on the way to a 50-23 win over Thomas Jefferson on Monday.

The Wildcats outscored the Cavaliers 19-2 in the first quarter before taking a 38-8 lead into the locker room at halftime. Diamond held pace in the second half on the way to the win.

Lauren Turner led Diamond with 12 points, while MaKaylynn Laffery finished with 10 points. Grace Frazier had six points, while Ashlyn Daniel had five.

Tannah Cassatt, Gabbi Hierbert and Lannah Grigg each led Thomas Jefferson with five points apiece. Nico Carlson finished with four points and Presley Long added three.

Thomas Jefferson hosts Everton on Tuesday.

PREP WRESTLING: Neosho wins as hosts of annual tournament; Several Wildcats with top-five finishes

NEOSHO, Mo — Neosho had quite the showing as the hosts of the 34th annual Neosho Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, closing the day with two first-place finishes as well as a bevy of wrestlers placing in the top five as well as coming away with the top team score.

Neosho’s Eli Zar (170 pounds) and Hayden Crane (136) eached earned first-place finishes, while Fisher Butler (120), Johnny Chrisco (126) and Nico Olivares (285) each took second place. 

Wyatt Black (113), Nate Copeland (145), Jack Lankford (132), Trent Neece (160), Bostyn Patterson (162), Collyn Kivett (182) and DeLeon Ulysses (195) each finished in third place. Gabe Mabery (170) and Nathan Rogers (220) each finished in eighth place for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats also took first place in a 14-team field with a 211 score. Farmington (185.5), Belton (153), Willard (140.5) and Har-Ber (113) rounded out the top five team scores.

Crane finished pool play with a 3-0 record while defeating Har-Ber’s Lane Parrish by a 15-0 technical fall 1:42 into the third period in the 138-pound first-place match. At 170, Zar finished pool play with a 4-0 record and defeated Gary Walker of Willard by ultimate tie-breaker (2-1) in the first-place match. 

Butler went 3-0 in pool and fell to Farmington’s Presley Johnson by major decision (10-2) in the first-place match at 120, while Chrisco went 4-0 in pool play and lost to Belton’s Lane Cross by technical fall (15-0) in the first-place match. Olivares closed his day at 285 with a 4-0 record in pool play before falling to Belton’s Zach Masteller by fall 1:46 into the third period.

At 113, Black went 3-2 in pool play with wins over Kickapoo’s David Duer by fall 31 seconds into the first period, Willard’s Chris Trudell by fall 30 seconds into the first period and Bentonville West’s Ryan Swain by fall 1:50 into the third period.

Lankford went 3-1 in 132 pool play and defeated Fayetteville’s Gavin Biggerstaff in the third-place match by a 9-5 decision, with Copeland finished 2-0 in pool play at 145 with a win by fall over Belton’s Brady Littleton 1:04 into the third period. 

Patterson had a 3-1 pool play record and defeated Willard’s Andrew Keithley by fall 1:13 into the third period at 152, and Neece closed with a 3-1 record in pool play and defeated Har-Ber’s Hunter Reynolds by a 13-6 decision at 160.

Kivett finished 3-1 in pool play and finished his day with a 20-6 major decision over Bentonville West’s Kaden Heintz at 182. Ulysses closed with a 2-1 pool play record and defeated Belton’s Zach Attebury by fall 1:42 into the second period at 195.

LADY TIGERS INVITE: Webb City falls to Har-Ber in third-place game

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Har-Ber used the press to pressure Webb City early and build an insurmountable lead on the way to a 70-31 win in the third-place game of the Lady Tigers Invitational on Saturday.

The Wildcats forced the Cardinals (2-2) into several early turnovers using the press, leading to a 20-5 lead by the end of the first quarter. Webb City responded with a sizable scoring run to start the second period and whittled the lead down to single digits. Har-Ber took a 12-point lead into the third quarter and caught fire from the perimeter to distance themselves in the second half en route to the win.

“We didn’t come out at the start of the game as focused or as confident as we needed to,” Webb City coach Lance Robbins said. “Har-Ber is a great team and their press gave us fits early. Once we were able to adjust and figure out how to handle the press by getting the ball to the middle and get by it, we started to do some positive things.

“I am proud of the fact that our girls picked up their effort and intensity. I thought their confidence in the second quarter was good. I think they came out and hit four 3s to start the half and kind of took all the air out of us. I thought our kids played hard the whole game, but we will learn from this and continue to get better.”

GAME ACTION

Har-Ber went to the full-court press early that led to a number of Webb City turnovers early, allowing the Wildcats to jump out to a 9-0 run over the first several minutes of play. Har-Ber closed the first quarter on a 11-1 run to push the lead to 20-5. Caylan Koons poured in 12 points in the opening period for the Wildcats.

The Cardinals got back into the game early in the second period thanks to a sizable scoring run of their own. Down 17, Webb City rattled off 11 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 22-16 with five minutes to play in the half.

“I thought we played with some confidence that we didn’t start the game with,” Robbins said of his team’s play to open the second quarter. “When we play with confidence like that, making some shots and getting a couple of stops for you on defense, it just builds momentum for you.”

Austyn Mickey accounted for six points in the run, while Kirra Long added four points.

The Wildcats responded with a three-point play from Koons before baskets by Alexus Placensia and Delaney Roller to push the lead back out to double digits, 29-16. Har-Ber eventually took a 34-22 lead into the intermission.

The Wildcats caught fire from the perimeter out of the locker room while pulling away from Webb City in the process. Koons knocked down four 3-pointers in the quarter, while Galatia Andrew also made a pair of 3-pointers to help the Wildcats to a 65-29 lead with one quarter to play.

SCORING LEADERS

Koons led all scorers with 35 points, while Andrew had nine.

Mickey, Ripley Shanks and Josie Spikereit each had six points for Webb City, while Long closed with five.

UP NEXT

Webb City is at Miller on Dec. 9.

LADY TIGERS INVITE: Carthage strong on both ends of the floor in win over Waynesville

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage came out with confidence on the offensive and defensive end and built a sizable lead early on the way to a 72-44 win over Waynesville in the fifth-place game of the Lady Tigers Invitational on Saturday.

Carthage (2-3) took command of the game early after coming out with the hot hand from the perimeter that led to two scoring runs and a double-digit lead by the start of the second period. Carthage pushed the lead to as much as 20 points in the second quarter and pulled away in the second half for the win.

“I thought we had great energy for about 30 of the 32 minutes,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “We demanded that of them before the game started, but we had a lull at the end of the second quarter when Kianna (Yates) went out. At halftime, we talked about how we needed more energy and it had to be for the next 16 minutes. I am really proud that they did. Thirty out of 32 minutes is a great start, and it’s better than the last two games, but now we need to go to the next level and play all 32 minutes with that energy. That will be the team we want to show people who we are.”

GAME ACTION

It didn’t take long for Carthage to convert from the perimeter as Raven Probert sank a 3-ball from the corner off the assist from Kianna Yates to kick off the scoring. 

With the lead at 7-6, Carthage used an 8-0 run backed by an inside score from Yates off an inbounds pass that was followed by a 3-pointer from Lauren Choate and another by Yates to push the lead to 15-8 with 2:28 left in the period.

Waynesville (0-3) cut the lead to 15-12 after consecutive baskets from Breona Hurd before Carthage closed the period on a 10-0 run to head into the intermission with a 25-12 advantage. Presley Probert kicked off the run with back to back 3-pointers before Landry Cochran knocked down a mid-range jumper from the baseline. Presley Probert closed the run after pulling down an offensive rebound, drawing a foul on the putback attempt and making both subsequent free throws.

“I thought our depth helped,” Moore said of his team’s close to the quarter. “We are going nine or 10 deep and they only really had five or six kids that they wanted to play. I thought every quarter we had a chance to make runs at the end because they would wear down and we would be reinforcing with fresh bodies.”

A key to the run before the close to the opening quarter was the press defense by Carthage that forced Waynesville into several turnovers, with three of those turnovers turning points the other way.

Carthage pushed its lead to 20 points, 38-18, with 2:50 to play in the first half on back-to-back makes from beyond the arc by Raven Probert and Maggie Boyd.

Waynesville trimmed the lead to 12, 38-26, to start the second half after closing the second quarter on an 8-0 run.

The heat from 3-point range didn’t cool off for Carthage in the third quarter, with five of the team’s buckets in the quarter coming from the perimeter. Trisha Kanas sank a triple to make the score 49-30 before Yates drilled a 3-pointer from the wing to push the lead back to 20, 52-32, with 2:05 to play. Choate and Boyd both added 3-pointers to push the lead to 58-32 to close out the Carthage scoring in the third.

Carthage extended the lead to a game-high 31 points near the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter when Boyd made her third 3-pointer of the day to make the score 69-38.

SCORING

Carthage’s Sophie Shannon puts up a shot during the win over Waynesville on Saturday. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

Carthage made 14 3-pointers as a team in the win over Waynesville. Raven Probert, Yates and Boyd all led the Tigers with three triples each. Choate and Presley Probert each converted twice from the perimeter, while Lexa Youngblood also made a 3-pointer.

“Before the season, we knew that 3s would be a skill set for us, and maybe be our best skill set,” Moore said. “If teams are going to play us in a 2-3 zone, we should probably knock down 14 3s. I am happy with that, but it’s not unexpected for me. All of those kids who knocked down multiple 3s are all shooters and we practice a ton of 3s in practice. We are not a tall team, we are a skilled team. We can shoot and handle the ball, so I am glad that showed tonight in our performance.”

Yates led Carthage in scoring with 21 points, while Presley Probert and Boyd also finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Raven Probert closed with nine points in the win.

“They should all go home pretty happy with how they performed,” Moore said of his team’s play over the weekend. “I am very happy with how they performed. So, I hope they go home happy with that. Focus on the good things and forget about the one bad thing that you did.”

Hurd led all scorers with 24 points, while Katlyn Black finished with 10 points in the loss for Waynesville.

UP NEXT

Carthage is at Springfield Central on Dec. 13.

BOYS HOOPS: McAuley rallies late for win over Sarcoxie

DIAMOND, Mo. — McAuley Catholic closed out the Gem City Classic in style, rallying back late for a 46-42 win over Sarcoxie on Friday.

After the Warriors took a 14-9 lead after the first quarter, Sarcoxie responded by outscoring McAuley 23-8 over the second and third quarters to hold a 32-22 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play. The Warriors rallied back down the stretch to outscore the Bears 24-10 on the way to their first win over the season.

“I’m extremely proud of this team’s ability to bounce back from the loss last night,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said. “Give Sarcoxie credit, we did not respond well against their defense in the middle quarters. We found ourselves down again after three quarters, but these guys showed a lot of heart in the fourth to get back in it. We could have folded but kept battling.  I was extremely please with our poise down the stretch. With an inexperienced team like we have, we showed a lot of maturity late in the 4th quarter. We grew up as a team tonight.”

Noah Black led McAuley in scoring with 16 points, while Jeffery Horinek finished with 10.
Tyler Cupp had 21 points to lead Sarcoxie.

McAuley hosts Pierce City at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

PREP WRESTLING: Neosho returns plenty of experience for 21-22 season

NEOSHO, Mo. — Despite graduating six grapplers from a squad that went 11-0 a season ago, Neosho wrestling still has plenty of experience returning for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

“My goal for this team is to put the time and effort in to reach the goals they have set for themselves and our team,” Neosho coach Jeremy Phillips said to SoMo Sports. “Take the proper ownership for us to make our goals a reality. In the end, I want to have no regrets and look back on the progress we made and be proud. I expect for us to work, grow and overcome adversities, and as a result—live up to our motto by the end and be tough.”

The Wildcats lost six seniors from last year’s squad that totaled a record of 160-32 as well as one state title and three second-place finishes from a year ago. But, with the Neosho program consistently proving the ability to produce no matter the circumstances, it’s no surprise the Wildcats have several returners with plenty of success in their prep careers to lead the way for the upcoming season.

“Our experience definitely lies in the tradition of Neosho wrestling,” Phillips said. “We will continue to work from the top to the bottom of our lineup to be competitive and contribute to the goals of our team.”

The top returners for Neosho are juniors Eli Zar, Raymond Hembree, Hayden Crane and Trent Neece. 

Zar, a junior wrestling at 160/170, finished with a 36-8 record a year ago and finished second place at the state meet, while Hembree, also a junior, finished 41-7 last season and also earned a second-place showing at state while wrestling at 120 pounds. Crane, a senior, wrestles at 132-138 and is coming off a 39-10 record from a year ago that included a third-place finish at state. Neece, a senior who competes at 152/160 finished 31-12 last season while taking first in districts and qualifying for the state tournament .

“There are always question marks,” Phillips said. “We are working with high school kids—much more than technique that has to be addressed to be successful. I never want to doubt but you never know until you start competing and see exactly what areas need the most attention. I always say we must be hungry (passionate to improve) and healthy to be where we want to be in the end.”

Also expected to make an impact for Neosho at the varsity level this year are seniors Nate Copeland (145 pounds; 20-20 record last season), Cade Daniel (170/182; 9-11) and Eric Renner (220; 12-12), junior Collyn Kivett (170/182; 22-8), sophomores Jonny Chrisco (126/132; 18-22) and Jack Lankford (126/132; 9-2) as well as freshmen Fisher Butler (113), Logan Cass (106), Trey Hardin (152/160) and Bostyn Patterson (145/152).

Neosho opens the season with the 34th Annual Neosho Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 4.

BOYS HOOPS: Carthage wins season opener against Monett

MONETT, Mo. — Carthage opened the season on a high note with a 55-45 road win over Monett on Friday. 

Carthage held a 19-16 lead after the first quarter before extending the lead to 22-15 by the intermission. The Tigers’ advantage remained at seven heading into the fourth quarter, where Carthage outscored the Cubs 13-10 down the stretch to preserve the win.

 “We are really proud of the fight and execution in stretches of the game that our guys showed tonight,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said to SoMo Sports. “You could definitely tell that this was our first game and that Monett had one under their belt already. We had a ton of 50/50 balls not go our way tonight at points when I thought we may pull away. Credit part of that to the grit of the Monett players and Coach Land—they are a tough bunch that will make some noise in the Big 8.

“I really thought our bench was the difference in the game. Logan Carmickle, Sylas Browning, Britt Coy and Clay Kinder were all great at different times in the win for us.”

Joel Pugh led the way for the Tigers with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Max Templman knocked down a pair of 3-balls on the way to 16 pints, while Justin Ray added nine points and Tyler Willis finished with four.

The Tigers host the 75th Carthage Invitational this weekend, kicking off the tournament with a 7 p.m. matchup against Fort Smith Southside on Thursday.

LADY TIGERS INVITE: Miller’s hot start from range sends Cardinals past Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Miller caught fire from the perimeter early in a 48-24 win over host Carthage on the final day of pool play in the Lady Tigers Basketball Invitational on Friday.

The Cardinals were simmering from 3-point range almost from the opening tip, with their first four shots all coming from the perimeter for a quick 12-0 run. Carthage whittled the lead down to 10 early in the third period before Miller closed the quarter with a sizable run to put the game out of reach.

“We didn’t have the energy I expected us to have on either end of the floor from the start,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “That is disappointing because this was a matchup where there were a lot of friends and relatives between the two teams, so I didn’t think energy would be a problem. … The lack of energy led to lax turnovers and making bad decisions defensively that allowed them open shots. Those are things we need to learn from. We need to learn that in a 32-minute game, we need to be ready in minute one and not wait until the second quarter to play hard.”

Miller opened the game on a 12-0 run thanks to a corner 3-pointer from Kaylee Helton before Claudia Hadlock took over with the next nine points all on makes from beyond the arc. Turnovers plagued the Tigers early and proved to be the catalyst for Miller’s momentum swing, with Carthage turning the ball over prior to three of the four makes from range by the Cardinals.

Maggie Boyd ended the early run with a 3-pointer of her own before Miller scored the next seven points, all by Hadlock, to push the lead to 19-3. Boyd answered again inside to trim the lead to 19-5 by the end of the first period.

“We just didn’t defend them well tonight,” Moore said. “We went over the scouting report pretty significantly in practice. We didn’t really execute it properly. That allowed them some open looks, and to their credit, they knocked down their open looks.”

A low-scoring second quarter played in favor of the Tigers, who outscored the Cardinals 6-3 to trim the lead to 23-11 by halftime. Kianna Yates, Sophie Shannon and Landry Cochran each had two points for the Tigers in the period.

“We made some adjustments in the break after the first quarter to shore up our press to kind of cover their press break,” Moore said about his team’s play on defense in the second quarter. “We demanded that they play harder and they did that. I am really proud that the girls can execute when we make changes.”

Carthage’s defensive intensity continued in the early portions if the third period, with the Tigers whittling the lead down to 10, 24-14, on a 3-pointer from the wing by Raven Probert off the assist by Yates, but Miller answered with an 11-0 run to close out the third period with a 35-14 to essentially put the game out of reach. Helton highlighted the run with a driving score and a 3-ball from the corner.

SCORING LEADERS

Hadlock led all scorers with 24 points, including four 3-pointers. She scored 16 points in the first quarter. Helton finished with 16 points.

Boyd led Carthage with eight points, while Cochran finished with four.

UP NEXT

Carthage takes on Waynesville in the fifth-place game at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Webb City matches up with Har-Ber at 12:30 p.m. in the third-place game, while Miller takes on Sunrise Christian at 2 in the championship game.

PREP WRESTLING: Seneca earns win over McDonald County

SENECA, Mo. — Seneca wrestling picked up eight wins to earn a 46-30 win over McDonald County on Thursday.

Seneca’s Brad Roark won by fall 1:52 into the first round over Ayden Ball at 132 pounds, while Andrew Manley won by a major decision (10-2) over Blaine Ortiz at 138.

Wrestling at 145, Seneca’s Brayden Thiel won by fall 56 seconds into the second round over Cross Spencer. Nolan Napier defeated McDonald County’s Alexis Molina-Cruz by fall 26 seconds into the third period at 160, while Seneca’s Jeremy Williams defeated Jon Clemons by fall 13 seconds into the first round at 170. 

Dane Napier (182) earned a win by fall 1:45 into the first period over McDonald County’s Juan Morales, while Seneca’s Gabriel Commons won by fall 1:58 into the match over Alex Bogart at 195 pounds. Keaton Burleson finished with a win by fall 

47 seconds into the first round over McDonald County’s Jose Mendoza Garcia.

The Mustangs’ Michal Owens (120 pounds) earned a win by fall 1:08 into the first round. At 220, McDonald County’s Malosi Sosef earned by fall 33 seconds into the second round, with Samuel Murphy defeating Nash Crain by fall 1:55 into the first period. Dominic Vervantes won by forfeit at 126 pounds, while Levi Smith won by forfeit at 152 pounds. 

LADY TIGERS INVITE: Turnover bug bites Webb City in loss to Sunrise Christian

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Webb City suffered its first defeat of the season in a 38-23 loss to Sunrise Christian on the second day of pool play in the Carthage Lady Tigers Basketball Invitational on Thursday.

After a seesaw first quarter, several second-quarter turnovers put the Cardinals (2-1) into a nine-point hole by the intermission. Webb City cut the lead to four in the third period, but that would be as close as the Cardinals would get before the Buffaloes (3-0) methodically pulled away down the stretch. 

“Overall as a team, we have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” Webb City coach Lance Robbins said. “We had too many careless turnovers offensively and too many missed assignments defensively. We just have to do a better job of things, but it is early in the season. We are playing some young kids and we are going to make some mistakes. It’s things that are correctable, and we just have to clean them up on both ends.”

The first quarter was a true back-and-forth affair, as the lead changed hands five times in the first eight minutes before the Buffaloes closed the opening period with a pair of driving scores by Stephie Salumu and KaMyra Barber for a 9-6 advantage.

The turnover bug bit Webb City in the second quarter, as Sunrise Christian scored 10 points on possessions following a Cardinal giveaway.

“I just think we started playing too fast,” Robbins said. “Other times, it was just mismanagement of executing a play offensively. But like I said, those things are correctable that we can get better at.”

After a basket from Ripley Shanks cut the lead to 11-9, Sunrise Christian went on a 9-1 run to pull out to a 20-10 lead with 2:25 to play in the first half. 

Barber started the run with a 3-ball from the wing before a Cardinal turnover led to a Barber drive on the other end before another Webb City giveaway turned into two points from Salumu at the other end to push the lead to 18-9. Following a Webb City free throw, Marta Konczalska found room on the drive inside to give the Buffaloes a 10-point lead.

Webb City’s Izzy Lopez ended the run with a 3-pointer from the wing to cut the lead to 20-13 before Konczalska answered back with a triple from the wing to push the lead back to 10, with the Cardinals heading into the intermission trailing 23-14.

Webb City came out of the locker room and was able to cut the lead to two possessions thanks to the play of Josie Spikereit, who opened the second-half scoring with a basket inside before cutting the lead to 23-19 after converting inside and drawing a foul for a three-point play with 3:15 left in the period.

“I thought she did a good job,” Robbins said of Spikereit’s play in the third quarter. “She did a good job of sealing up in the post and our guards did a good job of getting her the ball.”

Barber added a pair of driving scores to close out the third to give the Buffaloes a 27-19 lead.

Sunrise Christian pushed the lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter on a basket on the break from Samiyah Ellis and pulled away the rest of the way.

SCORING LEADERS

Kate Brownfield led Webb City with seven points, while Spikereit and Lopez each finished with five points in the loss.

Barber finished with 13 points to lead all scorers, while Konczalska finished with nine. Ellis scored seven and Salumu had six.

UP NEXT

Webb City will play on Saturday on the final day of the Lady Tiger Invite, with its opponent to be determined on Friday—the final day of pool play.

 

MILLER 41, HAR-BER 34

Miller outscored Har-Ber 18-4 in the fourth quarter to rally back for a win in the opening game of pool play at the Lady Tigers Invite.

Claudia Hadlock led the way for Miller down the stretch with nine of her team’s 18 points in the fourth quarter. She finished with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Payten Richardson had 12 or Miller, while Kaylee Helton and Alyssa Hill each scored six. 

BOYS BASKETBALL: Guard play is set to be the catalyst for Carthage Tigers in 2021-22

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Boasting perhaps the best set of guards in the area, there is reason for Carthage coming into the 2021-22 season with extremely high expectations.

The Tigers are coming off a 7-19 record a year ago, but the bevy of varsity experience returning to the fold has everyone in the program preparing and ready to take the next step in Nathan Morris’ third year as head coach. 

“We are really excited to see what this group can become once we are all together,” Morris said. “We return all five starters from last year with great depth coming off the bench. Three of those starters are in the gym together every day and we add a big group of football players that had great success on the field.”

The strength of the Tigers will come with the different looks Carthage can present to other teams. While the Tigers do not have the traditional back-to-the basket big man, they plan to use their athleticism all over the court to make up for it.”

“What we will lack in size, we more than make up for in athleticism, scoring ability, and overall high-character kids,” Morris said. “These guys will get after it defensively and look to push and play fast on the offensive end. It will be fun to sit back and watch them play as a coach and for our fans.”

Carthage’s list of returners is highlighted by senior 6-foot guard Joel Pugh, junior 5-9 G Max Templeman and sophomore 6-1 G Justin Ray.

Pugh, an all-district and all-area knockdown shooter, averaged 11.6 points, four rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season. Templeman was an all-district and all-area player who averaged 14.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season, while Ray averaged 8.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a freshman last season.

“Joel is one of the best shooters and defenders in Southwest Missouri,” Morris said. “With a young team last year, Joel had the kitchen sink thrown at him on defense. This year with older playmakers around him, I look for him to really show his skill set. … Max is an extremely unique player. Last season, 80 percent of his field foals were from 2. That isn’t due to an inability to shoot, it was his skill set to get to the rim consistently. … Justin’s game is very smooth and skilled as a three-level scorer. His strength, length and athletic ability are growing each day. He will continue to be one of the top 2024 players in the state.”

Also returning to the starting lineup is 6-3 F Caden Kabance and 6-3 F Tyler Willis.

“Caden has a unique skillset, in that he has now played all five positions for us. He had a breakout season as the quarterback of the football team and I expect that to carrey over in the basketball season. … Tyler finished last season as the starting center and really showed what kind of a player he will become. He is a tough, strong kid that will battle taller post players.”

Also expected to make an impact at the varsity level for the Tigers is 6-0 senior F Sylas Browning, 6-1 junior F Clay Kinder, 6-0 junior G Britt Coy and 6-3 senior F Logan Carmickle.

“We return really good and experienced guard play,” Morris said of his roster. “We have the ability to use multiple ball handlers that can create for themselves and their teammates. We don’t have the traditional ‘bigs’ in the post, but we view it as other teams have to match up with our athletic stretch forwards as well.”

Though there are several things to be excited about on the offensive end for Tigers, Coach Morris believes one of the biggest keys to success for Carthage this upcoming season will be how the team executes on defense. 

“This group will have to be defensive minded and really have the will to rebound against the size we see all season,” Morris said. “We have some really skilled kids that are able to score the basketball, so we will really have to battle for 32 minutes defensively.”

For Carthage to get where they want to be at the end of the season, which is competing for a Central Ozark Conference title while heading into the postseason with some steam, the Tigers must also learn how to mature menatlly when it comes to closing out games. 

“We will need to prove that we are ready to compete for four quarters and finish games,” Morris noted. Last year, we competed in every game and gave ourselves a chance to win a lot of games into the fourth quarter, but were unable to finish when it counted.”

Carthage opens the season on the road with a matchup against Monett on Dec. 3.

COLLEGE SIGNING: Joplin’s Ella Hafer signs letter of intent to play basketball at NEO

Considering the amount of adversity Joplin senior Ella Hafer has had to deal with throughout her athletic career, getting the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level is something she will always be thankful for.

Hafer sat down with family at her side and friends looking on as she signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Wednesday.

“This means a lot,” Hafer said when asked about getting to sign her letter of intent. “I didn’t think I would be here this time last year when I got hurt. So, I am just very thankful. This is very exciting. I am super excited.”

“I really like the coaches there,” she added about NEO. “Their college was really nice. It had that campus feel. (The coaches) were really welcoming and they just made me feel right at home.”

On top of several minor injuries, Hafer suffered a dislocated knee cap her sophomore season and suffered a chipped knee cap her junior season that resulted in a Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPLF) Reconstruction surgery. Both injuries caused Hafer, a multi-sport athlete, to miss nearly all of her sophomore and junior seasons.

“I went through a lot of injuries without the knees, too,” Hafer said. “It was a long process getting back. I am just thankful for my team and all of the coaches I’ve had who helped me get back into it.”

Hafer is currently taking part in her senior season of basketball without any sort of a knee brace. Obviously after having surgery roughly a year ago, Hafer is feeling healthy and is grateful for the chance to get back on the court and enjoy the game with her teammates before graduating and moving on to NEO. 

“I am very thankful to even be playing right now,” Hafer said. “Throughout my journey, I will be very thankful for every opportunity. … It’s a lot better not having the fear of hurting myself again and just getting my confidence back.”

BOYS HOOPS PREVIEW: Neosho’s returning junior class to lead the way for Wildcats in 2021-22

NEOSHO, Mo. — After graduating Landon Austin, Chase Flynn and Dalton Brodie, the Neosho Wildcats will be relying on three key returners to take over the reins and improve upon last year’s 13-13 season that ended in the district championship round.

“We expect to go out and compete in every game,” fourth-year Neosho coach Zane Culp said of his expectations for 2021-22. “Our goal is to be over .500 and finally get over the hump after losing in the district final three years in a row.”

The Wildcats will be relying heavily on their junior class this season, including the top three returners with experience—Brock Franklin, a 5-foot-8 point guard, 6-1 G Carter Fenske and 6-1 G Isaiah Green. Franklin averaged three points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season, while Fenske averaged 5.7 ppg last season, while Green put up 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and two steals per game a season ago.

“He is going to be our point guard this year after starting all 26 games last year,” Culp said of Franklin. “He is also one of our best defenders and a bulldog on the court at all times. I expect him to be one of our leaders and our heartbeat on the floor. … (Carter) was our best shooter last year. He made 44 3s while only averaging 11 minutes per game. We expect him to have a big year offensively and expand his role from last year. … Isaiah is one of our best all-around players. He not only fills up the stat sheet in all categories, but he is also one of the best defenders that usually guards the other team’s best player.”

Also expected to have a bigger role this season is returning junior Kael Smith, a 6-2 forward.

“Kael came on late last season and gave us a big spark,” Culp said. “He is one of the most skilled big men we’ve had in a while and has a great feel for the game. He is going to be a big part of what we do every possession on defense and offense.

“This group of juniors have always played well together and have always been successful up until this point. We are excited for them to translate that into a varsity season.”

New faces at the varsity level this season include junior 6-0 F Jared Siler, junior 6-4 C Carter Baslee, junior 5-10 G Michael Day and senior 6-5 G K’dyn Waters.

“I think depth and athleticism will be our strengths,” Culp said. “We have guys that can do lots of different things from handling the ball to running the floor, shooting the 3, taking people off the dribble and crashing the boards.”

Of course, with only a handful of players returning with extensive varsity minutes, experience will be the biggest obstacle for the Wildcats this season. 

“The biggest obstacle we will have to overcome is our lack of varsity experience and only having one senior,” Culp said. “We are confident guys will grow as players as the season goes along. We expect big things from all our players just in different capacities. Everyone will have a vital role to play in our team’s success.”

Neosho opens the season on the road in a matchup with Aurora on Dec. 2. After taking part in the Pea Ridge Tournament from Dec. 9-11, Neosho will take on Monett in its home opener on Dec. 14.

GIRLS HOOPS: Liberal pulls away from Thomas Jefferson

Liberal started quick before pulling away late for a 50-29 win over Thomas Jefferson on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs took control of the contest in the first quarter after outscoring the Cavaliers 13-9. Liberal took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter and outscored Thomas Jefferson 19-6 down the stretch to earn the win.

Tannah Cassatt and Sarah Mueller each scored eight points to lead the Cavaliers in scoring. Presley Long added seven points,, while Lannag Grigg finished with six.

Taylor Swarnes finished with 19 points to lead Liberal. Lainey Simpson finished in double figures with 10 points, while Abby Barton finished with nine points.

Thomas Jefferson is in action next at Diamond on Dec. 6.

PREP WRESTLING: Carl Junction opens season with win over Carthage

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Carl Junction wrestling opened the season on a high note after defeating Carthage on Tuesday.

Carl Junction avenged a season-opening loss from a year ago in a big way, defeating Carthage 34-29 to start the year 1-0.

Wrestling at 170 pounds, CJ’s Lucas Watkins defeated Carthage’s Gabe Lambeth by fall at 1:09 in the third period. Carter Foglesong earned a fall 58 seconds into the first period over CHS’ Aydan Nye in the 106 match, while Kameron Bennett wrestled at 285 and earned a fall over Carthage’s Jesua Coquij by fall 1:31 into the first period. Carl Junction’s Lukas Walker won by fall over the Tigers’ Wyatt Hole 30 seconds into the second period. At 120, CJ’s Drake Richardson earned a 9-2 decision over Emerson Ixcol, while Dylan Frazier earned a fall over Carthage’s Cody Reeves 1:39 into the first period.

Carthage’s Luke Gall won by technical fall (17-0) 32 seconds into the third period over Cayden Bollinger at 220 pounds. Bradyn Tate also won by technical fall (16-1) 1:42 second into the third period over Max Matthews at 126 pounds. Wrestling at 138, Byron Lopez earned a win by fall over Keaton Colburn 1:31 seconds into the first period. Carthage’s Eli Sneed defeated Samuel Cory by fall 1:21 into the first round at 145 pounds. Braxdon Tate won at 152 by fall over Dexter Merrell 1:48 in the first period. At 160, Davion King earned a win by gall 1:27 into the second period over Tony Stewart.

Carl Junction is at Joplin on Thursday, while Carthage hosts Cassville on Dec. 7.

GEM CITY CLASSIC: Thomas Jefferson earns opening win; McAuley’s rally comes up short

DIAMOND, Mo. — Thomas Jefferson built and early cushion before pulling away from Sarcoxie, while McAuley Catholic’s late rally came up short against Lighthouse Christian in opening round action of the Gem City Classic on Tuesday.

EARLY SURGE SENDS THOMAS JEFFERSON PAST SARCOXIE

Top-seeded Thomas Jefferson built a 10-point lead after the first quarter and never wavered in a 53-42 win over eighth-seeded Sarcoxie to open the Gem City Classic on Tuesday.

The Cavaliers outscored the Bears 15-5 in the opening eight minutes to take control of the game. Thomas Jefferson pushed the lead to 33-16 by the intermission before Sarcoxie slightly cut into the lead the final two quarters.

Thomas Jefferson improves to 3-0 on the season with the win.

Caden Myers finished a double-double to lead the Cavaliers, totaling 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Jay Ball added 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while Drew Goodhope had nine points and five assists. Tyler Brouhard had five points and five boards.

Sarcoxie was led in scoring by Terio Asterio, who finished with 11 points. Tyler Cupp had nine, while Garret Smith finished with eight points.

Thomas Jefferson is in action against fourth-seeded Diamond in the semifinals of the Gem City Classic at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

 

MCAULEY CATHOLIC’S RALLY COMES UP SHORT

Sixth-seeded McAuley saw a first-half lead vanish in the third quarter and rallied back before coming up short in a 52-49 loss to third-seeded Lighthouse Christian in the opening round of the Gem City Classic.

The Warriors (0-2) built a 27-19 lead by the intermission over Lighthouse Christian before the Chargers outscored McAuley 19-0 in the third quarter to take a 38-19 advantage. The Warriors rallied back to outscore Lighthouse Christian 22-14 in the fourth quarter but came up just shy of forcing overtime.

“Obviously, it was a less than ideal third quarter and I am disappointed in the loss, but extremely proud of my guys,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said to SoMo Sports. “These guys showed a lot of heart and courage to fight their way back into it being down 11 to start the fourth.  We know what we are capable of, we just need to concentrate on playing four quarters.  We are going to learn from it and be better because of it.”

Noah Black led McAuley with 21 points, while Will Schmidly scored 15 and Cade Bethea had 12 for Lighthouse Christian.

McAuley takes on Galena at 7:30 on Thursday in the Gem City Classic.

CJ CLASSIC: Joplin beats McDonald County; Neosho falls to Springdale

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Joplin shook off a slow start and pulled away in the second half to a 53-33 win over McDonald County, while Neosho fell in an early hole against Springdale and never recovered in a 42-27 loss in the consolation semifinals of the CJ Classic on Tuesday.

 

JOPLIN 53, MCDONALD COUNTY 33

After a slow-moving first half, Joplin gained some cushion in the third period before building an insurmountable lead in the final quarter on the way to the win over McDonald County in the CJ Classic consolation semifinals on Tuesday.

“In the first half, I thought we looked very timid and played a lot like we did last night,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “We just didn’t trust what we were supposed to do. In the second half, we simplified things and just went out and did our jobs. We couldn’t even get lined up where we needed to be in our sets in the first half. Once we were able to do that in the second half, we were able to get some easy looks offensively. It also opened things up outside. Defensively, I thought we really clamped down and limited their looks.”

Free throws also played a major role for Joplin’s struggles and success on offense. In the first half, the Eagles were 6-of-16 shooting from the charity stripe. Joplin made 11-of-14 attempts from the line in the second half.

“We really challenged them at halftime,” Coach Floyd said. “We are too good of a shooting team to be 6-of-16 from the line, and we let them know it. We also turned the ball over way too much in the first half. To the girls’ credit, they really stepped up and made an adjustment.”

Joplin trailed 7-6 after the first quarter before taking a 21-20 lead into halftime. It was in the third quarter where the Eagles gained some separation from the Mustangs.

Brooke Nice opened the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 6-1 Joplin run, giving the Eagles a 27-21 advantage. 

“Brooke is such a good shooter,” Coach Floyd said. “She made a couple off the inbounds. They were really worried about that pass back inside to Emma or Ella, which opened her up outside. Once her shot goes in, she is going to end up hitting three or four.”

Joplin carried that momentum in the fourth quarter, sporting a 33-28 lead after McDonald County’s Reagan Myrick earned a steal for a fast-break score with two seconds left to end the third.

Riley Kelly sparked Joplin out of the break, converting inside to get the scoring started in the fourth before she knocked down a 3-pointer off the assists from Ella Hafer to push the lead to 10 for the first time, 38-28.

“I can’t say enough about Riley coming in off the bench as a freshman,” Coach Floyd said. “We just told her, ‘Welcome to big girl basketball’. She came in and played her tail off, doing some good things for us.”
Joplin put the game away moments later when the Eagles hit their stride on both ends of the floor with a 13-0 run. 

“We went to our press and mixed up a little bit of what we were showing to force some turnovers and get some easy looks,” Coach Floyd said. “Even in the halfcourt, we were playing with a lot more energy. Coming out of last night, that was the biggest focus tonight—playing with energy and effort. I told them last night that I wasn’t coaching effort anymore. I felt like I didn’t have to do that at all tonight. The girls really stepped up, especially in the third and fourth quarter.”

Brynn Driver started the run with an old-fashioned three-point play before Emma Floyd grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled on the way back up and knocked down the two ensuing free throws. Hafer added two makes at the stripe before she added a fast-break score off a McDonald County turnover to make the score 47-30. Floyd added two more free throws and added a score inside to push the lead to more than 20 points for the first time, 51-30, with time dwindling.

SCORING LEADERS

Nice led Joplin with 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Kelly scored 11 and Hafer 10. Floyd finished with eight points, and Driver added seven in the win.

Nevaeh Dodson and Addy Leach each scored seven points to lead the Mustangs. Samara Smith finished with six and Jacie Frencken had five.

UP NEXT

Joplin takes on Springdale in the consolation finals with a 5:30 p.m. tip on Thursday.

 

SPRINGDALE 42, NEOSHO 27

Springdale started fast to build a double-digit lead by halftime before pulling away down the stretch for a win over Neosho in the consolation semifinals.

Springdale took control of the contest in the first quarter after outscoring Neosho 15-7. The Bulldogs took an 11-point, 21-10, lead into the intermission before holding serve in the second half.

Springdale was led in scoring Aubriana Wilson and Adriana Hernandez, who each had 10 points in the win. Carolinda Hudson added nine points.

Beclynn Garrett led Neosho with nine points, while Karlee Ellick finished with eight points. Reagan McInturff added five points.

Neosho plays McDonald County at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the seventh-place game.