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BOYS HOOPS: Webb City starts fast, finishes strong against Seneca

Jason Peake

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Taking the court with a little extra motivation, Webb City started fast and finished strong in an 88-58 victory over Seneca on Thursday night in a non-conference boys basketball clash inside the Cardinal Dome.

In a game they never trailed, the speedy Cardinals built a 16-point lead by the midway point of the first quarter.

“Our guys were really motivated tonight,” Webb City coach Jason Horn said. “Coach (Cort) Hardy spent a lot of time here as an assistant and he coached a lot of our guys when they were coming up through the program. They wanted to have a good showing against him. I thought we were very aggressive, sharp and focused to start the game. And it always helps when you hit some shots early. That really fed our defense.”

Propelled by its full court pressure defense, and getting plenty of hoops in transition, Webb City held an 18-2 lead by the 3:55 mark of the opening stanza.

But Seneca adjusted to the speed of the game and the Indians started getting high-percentage shots from in close. In fact, the Indians closed the first quarter on a 13-4 surge, trimming Webb City’s lead from 16 to seven at 22-15.

“You have to give Seneca credit,” Horn said. “We won that first four minutes, but they were much better in that second four minutes. They made a run at us.” 

In the first meeting between the two programs since 2012, the fast-paced and back and forth second period was nearly even, as the Cardinals outscored the Indians 19-18 in the frame for a 41-33 halftime advantage.

“Seneca was hurting us in the soft spots of our 1-2-2,” Horn said. “We talked to our kids about that at halftime and we were able to make the adjustment.”

The visitors were still within striking distance when Webb City finished the third quarter on a 17-6 run for a 65-45 cushion.

“We wanted to wear them down and keep running at them in waves,” Horn commented. “We hope the wear and tear will take its toll. We play nine guys, and with the way we want to play, we’re going to need all of them. We want the tempo as fast as we can get it and we want to use our speed to our advantage. And the guys really like playing that way. I enjoy coaching that way and I think our fans like watching us play that way.” 

Webb City senior guard Barron Duda hit a trio of 3-pointers in the game-changing third quarter, while Eli Pace, Omari Jackson and Holton Keith all contributed buckets as the hosts won the third quarter 24-12.

In the early stages of the fourth quarter, Gabe Johnson and Keith both drilled 3-pointers before Jackson converted a steal into a layup, and the Cardinals blew the game open by pushing their lead to 30 at 79-49.

“We’re going to score in waves and it’s going to come in bunches,” Horn said. “But there are also going to be some short droughts. We have to play through them. And I thought our kids played extremely hard tonight.” 

Receiving votes in the MBCA’s Class 5 poll, Webb City hiked its record to 5-2.

Webb City shot 56 percent from the floor, making 36 of 64 shot attempts, including 11 of 24 from long range.

Four players scored in double figures for the Cardinals. 

Duda led the way with 24 points on 8 of 16 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point land. 

A junior point guard, Pace scored 20 points to go along with eight assists.

Keith scored 16 points and Jackson added 12. Johnson just missed double figures with eight points.

Johnson and Keith compiled four assists and three steals apiece.

Hardy’s Seneca squad fell to 4-4. 

The Indians made 51 percent of their field goal attempts (23 of 45) and out-rebounded the Cardinals 27-26, but the visitors had 24 turnovers to Webb City’s 12.

Three players scored in double figures for the Indians. Senior forward Morgan Vaughn scored 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting and also grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Indians.

Senior Gavyn Hoover added 14 points and junior Zane Grotjohn had 13 points.



Webb City will take on St. Joseph Central at 3:30 on Dec. 28 at the Twelve Courts of Christmas tourney in Kansas City. 

Seneca will be among the teams competing at next week’s Neosho Holiday Classic.


FULL STATS: Webb City HS (


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