Joplin boys basketball suffered its first loss of the season after falling 60-47 to Parkview in the Eagles’ final game of the 2021 calendar year.
Joplin was held to three points and trailed by nine after the first quarter. Trailing by 10 at the intermission, the Eagles cut the deficit to six midway through the third before the Vikings (7-2) responded and built the lead back to double digits to start the fourth. Joplin was never able to trim the deficit back to single digits before the final horn.
Joplin sits at 7-1 as it heads into the winter break. The Eagles host the Kaminsky Classic basketball tournament starting on Jan. 6 with a matchup against Jefferson City.
“It’s a good record going into the break,” Joplin coach Bronson Schaake said. “Obviously, this is not how you want to end (2021). But, I think you are always going to get hit in the mouth at some point in the season. … It’s always good to see what you need to work on, too. It’s not always going to be pretty, but that’s just how it goes”
Parkview made it difficult for Joplin’s offense to have success in the first quarter, limiting the Eagles to just three points with several empty possessions and turnovers over the first eight minutes of action.
“They were physical with us,” Schaake said of Parkview’s defense. “They bumped us off the screen and roll, even on the drive. They deterred us from where we wanted to go.”
The Vikings opened with the first two scores of the game on buckets inside by senior G Elijah Whitley and senior F Marcus Price. Joplin got on the board on a free throw from sophomore F Whit Hafer with 3:46 on the clock, which was followed by a bucket on the baseline drive by senior G Always Wright. The Vikings closed the period with the final eight points on 3-pointers from Whitley and sophomore G TJ Hill and two free throws from senior F Shane Glass.
Parkview pushed their lead as high as 15 points in the second period after using an 8-0 run over the middle portion of the quarter. Much of the Vikings’ success came inside when Whitley and Glass both grabbed offensive rebounds and scored on the putback before Whitley and Xzavia McArthur drove to the hoop for baskets.
“They killed us on the glass,” Schaake said. “I don’t know what they have in the first half, something like eight to 10 points just on offensive putbacks. When you are down 10 and you aren’t shooting well, you can’t give up offensive rebounds. They just killed us on the boards.”
The Eagles found life at the end of the first half, closing on a 7-2 run to trim the lead to 10 at the intermission, 24-14. Sophomore G All Wright had all seven points for Joplin, scoring on the break before driving for a bucket and knocking down a 3-ball from the corner with 20 seconds left.
Joplin cut the lead down to six, 30-24, midway through the third quarter when senior G Always Wright scored seven straight points on a three-point play, a fall-away jumper from the high block and a pair of charities.
Parkview answered back with the next six points, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Hill, to push the lead back to double digits, 36-24, with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter. The Vikings ultimately took a 43-30 lead into the final quarter of action.
“I thought we had a little energy there in the third to cut it down to six,” Schaake said. “For some reason, we just hit another wall, probably when they had a couple putbacks again. When you play defense and then give up an offensive rebound for a putback, that is deflating and it kills the momentum you’re trying to get.”
Parkview junior G Amarre Clark drilled a corner 3-pointer to start the fourth and push the Vikings’ lead to 16. Joplin cut the lead to 12 several times before Parkview used a 7-0 with less than three minutes to play to extend the cushion to an insurmountable 19 points, 59-40. Whitley had a second-chance 3-pointer from the wing before breaking loose for a dunk on the break off an Eagle turnover. McArthur closed the run with a score on the drive left.
Whitley led Parkview with 17 points, while Glass finished with 12 and Price 10 to give the Vikings three players in double figures.
Always Wright led Joplin with a game-high 21 points, while All Wright finished with 13 points.