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BILL HANSON MEMORIAL: Carthage girls fall in title game and CJ takes third; Joplin boys fall to Willard

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Turnovers plagued Carthage early and helped Kickapoo build a sizable lead by the intermission before holding serve in the second half for a 47-26 win in the girls championship game of the Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament on Saturday.

“The score may not reflect it, but I’m pretty proud of how we played today,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “We battled one of the top teams in the state and kept them below their season scoring average. Kickapoo is tall, talented and aggressive. They play the game with the speed that we want to play. Today, we just didn’t seem to have the legs to run with them for 32 minutes. We used a lot of energy and emotion to beat Carl Junction yesterday, so our shots fell short today and Kickapoo capitalized on that in transition.” 

Carthage moves to 8-10 on the season and the way to the second-place tournament finish. The Tigers are on the road against Seneca on Thursday.

“We wanted to bring home the championship trophy today,” Moore added. “So the girls are a little disappointed. However, they should be proud of themselves for the work they did to put us in position to compete in the championship game.”

Carthage held an early 5-2 lead off a 3-pointer from Kianna Yates before Kickapoo swung the momentum with a 10-0 run, backed by a strong defensive effort. The Chiefs turned the Tigers over three times for baskets the other way in the surge, which was highlighted by two buckets and two free throws from Kaya Goldsby. 

Kickapoo took a 14-9 lead into the second period and pulled out to a double-digit cushion after limiting Carthage to one field goal and a free throw in the quarter. The Chiefs used a 13-0 run to build a 31-11 lead before going into halftime up 19 points. Mikayla Pilley highlighted the run with seven points on three field goals.

Carthage opened the second half on an 8-2 run started by 3-pointers from Landry Cochran and Maggie Boyd to trim the lead down to 13, but Kickapoo closed the period with the final six points to push the lead to 19 to start the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs pushed the lead to more than 20 points in the fourth quarter and held the pace down the stretch. 

Ysabella Fontleroy finished with 16 points to lead the Chiefs in scoring. Goldsby added 10 points and Pilley finished with seven.

Yates had seven points to lead Carthage, while Boyd had five. Cochran and Lauren Choate each finished with three in the loss.

 

FOURTH-QUARTER SURGE SENDS CJ PAST BLUE VALLEY NORTHWEST

After getting outscored 9-3 in the third quarter to trail 25-24, Carl Junction used a game-changing run to open the fourth quarter to build a double-digit lead on the way to a 44-32 win over Blue Valley Northwest in the third-place game of the Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament.

Down one heading into the fourth, Carl Junction (13-5) opened the final eight minutes with an 11-0 run to completely flip the momentum. Klohe Burk started the run with a bucket inside to give the Bulldogs the 26-24 lead before Destiny Buerge scored the next four on a mid-range jumper and a pair of free throws before Kylie Scott closed out the run with three straight buckets in the paint to give the Bulldogs a 36-25 advantage with 4:52 left in regulation.

After a 3-pointer from BVNW’s Brynn Grosdidier, Buerge added two more free throws before Scott followed with a three-point play. Buerge added an up-and-under score as Carl Junction built a 44-28 lead in the closing minutes.

Carl Junction scored 24 points through the first three quarters before the 20-point outburst in the fourth. The Bulldogs limited the Huskies to seven points over the final eight minutes.

Buerge led all scorers with 26 points, while Scott finished with 12, nine coming in the fourth quarter. 

Grosdidier led Blue Valley Northwest with nine points.

 

JOPLIN BOYS FALL TO WILLARD IN FIFTH-PLACE GAME

Willard built a small lead by the intermission before pulling away down the stretch for a 71-54 win over Joplin in the boys fifth-place game of the Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament. 

The Eagles (12-4) took a 17-16 lead into the second quarter before the Tigers outscored Joplin 13-6 in the second period to take a six-point lead into the intermission. Willard pushed the lead to nine to start the fourth and pulled away in the final eight minutes of action.

Gavin Davis finished with a game-high 34 points, 21 coming in the second half, to lead Willard. Trey Pulford added 13 points.

Always Wright finished with 23 points, while All Wright had 16 points to lead Joplin in scoring. Terrance Gibson finished with 12 points to give the Eagles three players in double figures.

Joplin hosts Kickapoo on Tuesday.

BILL HANSON MEMORIAL: Carthage girls take down Carl Junction in tourney semifinals

PITTSBURG, Kan. — After a seesaw battle in the first half, Carthage was able to gain a footing on the lead in the second half on the way to a 53-45 win over Carl Junction in the semifinals of the Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament on Friday in non-conference action.

The first half saw double-digit lead changes without either team distancing itself from the other, with Carthage (8-9) taking a three-point lead into halftime. The Tigers pushed the lead to double digits early in the third quarter before Carl Junction (11-5) used a scoring run to trim the lead to one possession to start the fourth. Carthage pushed the lead back to eight early in the fourth and made free throws down the stretch.

“What an amazing team win tonight!,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “It’s been a long time since Carthage girls have beaten Carl Junction and we are so proud of the girls for executing the game plan tonight.

“We walked through a new game plan today before we left and the girls executed perfectly. I’m proud of all 14 girls for their efforts and focus in practice and in games. That’s a major key to our success.”

Carthage advances to take on Kickapoo in the championship game at 1 p.m.

The first half was as tightly contested as could be, with neither team gaining a lead greater than three points through the first two quarters. 

There were two ties and five lead changes in the first quarter, which saw Carl Junction holding a 13-12 advantage with Destiny Buerge accounting for 10 points. There were five more lead changes and another tie in the second period.

Carthage limited the Bulldogs to three field goals in the second quarter—two offensive rebounds and putback buckets by Kylie Scott and a 3-pointer from Hali Shorter—and took a 23-20 lead into the intermission. Maggie Boyd led the way with eight points, including a pair of 3-balls.

Carthage opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run to build their biggest lead of the game to that point, 34-22, near the five-minute mark. Boyd started the run with another 3-pointer while Kianna Yates added seven of the next eight points.

Buerge picked up her third personal foul at the 5:43 mark and was relegated to the bench with Carl Junction in need of someone to step up. Scott answered the call, scoring 10 of the Bulldogs points with Buerge on the bench, including a pair of three-point plays. Shorter added a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to cut the Carthage lead to 36-33 by the start of the fourth quarter.

Buerge fouled out after picking up her fourth and fifth fouls inside the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.

After a 6-2 run to start the fourth on a bucket and two free throws from Yates as well as a mid-range jumper from Landry Cochran to give Carthage a 42-34 advantage. The Tigers pushed their lead to nine on a 3-pointer from Boyd before back to back buckets inside from Scott brought Carl Junction within five, 46-41, with 1:52 to play.

Carthage shot eight free throws and made seven of them down the stretch. For the game, the Tigers were 13-of-18 shooting from the charity stripe.

“Our starting guard trio of Kianna Yates, Maggie Boyd and Lauren Choate did a great job shooting the ball tonight,” Moore said. “Equally important was their defense on CJ’s guards tonight. We limited their scoring chances and rebounded really well.”

Yates finished with 19 points, seven coming in the fourth period to lead Carthage. Boyd finished with four 3-pointers on the way to 16 points, while Choate finished with 12 points in the win.

Scott finished with 27 points, 22 coming in the second half. Buerge finished with 10 points, while Shorter closed with six.

KAMINSKY CLASSIC ROUNDUP: Nevada outlasts CJ for 7th place; William Chrisman, Poplar Bluff end the Kaminsky Classic with wins

NEVADA OUTLASTS CARL JUNCTION IN OVERTIME

With the game tied at 63-63 in overtime, Nevada’s Owen Swearingen drove to the hoop for a layup and drew a foul, sinking the ensuing and-1 free throw with three seconds remaining to send the Tigers to a 66-63 win over Carl Junction in the seventh-place game of the Kaminsky Classic on Saturday.

It is only fitting that a game that saw eight ties and 10 total lead changes would need an overtime period to decide a winner. Nevada got the scoring starting in overtime with a basket by Evan Rea before Carl Junction’s Kyler Perry buried a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 57-56 advantage with 2:38 to play.

Cade Beshore answered with a bucket to give Nevada the lead back before Leo Gayman knocked down a 3-pointer to push the Tigers’ lead to four with 90 seconds left. Nevada remained in front until CJ’s Jett Hocut tied the game up with a jumper with 20 seconds left.

Nevada shot 43 percent from the field in the win and was led by Rea’s game-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting. He had four rebounds, two assists and five steals. Brice Budd scored 11 points, had three rebounds and three assists. Beshore finished with eight points, while Swearingen finished with six points and five rebounds. Gayman had five points and eight rebounds.

Carl Junction had three players finish in double figures, with Perry’s 22 on 8-of-15 shooting leading the way. Perry made four 3-pointers, while adding four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Josh Cory finished with 15 points and four rebounds. Ayden Bard added 11 points and nine rebounds.

 

WILLIAM CHRISMAN PULLS AWAY FROM FRANCIS HOWELL IN 3RD-PLACE GAME

Francis Howell held a nine-point lead by the intermission only to see William Chrisman rally down the stretch to earn a 58-49 win in the Kaminsky Classic third-place game on Saturday. 

William Chrisman (9-3) limited Francis Howell (9-6) to 30 percent shooting from the field in the third quarter and 18 percent in the fourth quarter. The Bears outscored the Vikings 20-10 in the fourth quarter.

William Chrisman won the battle in the paint 28-16, with the Bears bench outpacing the Vikings’ 28-6. 

William Chrisman was led in scoring by Dayne Herl, who finished with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He added 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks to finish with a double-double. Ralph Covington added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Jesse Minter finished with 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Gabe James led Francis Howell with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, to go along with five rebounds, four steals and two assists. Dwight Lomax Jr. added 10 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds. Booker Simmons finished with nine points and five rebounds.

 

POPLAR BLUFF TAKES DOWN JEFFERSON CITY IN 5TH-PLACE GAME

Poplar Bluff built a double-digit lead by halftime and held on down the stretch to earn the win in the fifth-place game on Saturday.

The Mules (10-3) took a three-point lead and outscored the Jays (6-7) by nine in the second period to take a 37-25 into the intermission. Jefferson City cut the lead to eight by the start of the fourth quarter and got as close as three points of the lead, 59-56, with two minutes left before Poplar Bluff pulled back out in front with free throws to close out the win.

Darius Graham led Poplar Bluff with 13 points, while Gavin Rivers finished with 12 points and five steals. Darian Webb had 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Gage Rivers had 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Poplar Bluff had the advantage in paint points (38-30), points off turnovers (23-11), second-chance points (20-12) and points on the break (18-8).

 

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Always Wright, Joplin

All Wright, Joplin

Kaden Turner, Webb City

Cohl Vaden, Webb City

Kevion Pendleton, Jefferson City

Gabe James, Francis Howell

Darian Webb, Poplar Bluff

Dayne Herl, William Chrisman

KAMINSKY CLASSIC: Joplin holds off Jefferson City down the stretch; Francis Howell, William Chrisman earn wins

What better way to kick off the 23rd annual Kaminsky Classic than with a win by the home team coming off a long holiday layoff?

Playing for the first time in two weeks as the hosts in front of a packed house made up predominantly of the JHS student body, Joplin opened up the yearly basketball tournament with a tight-knit contest against Jefferson City, rallying in the fourth quarter to defeat the Jays for a 70-64 opening-round win on Thursday.

“I think it took a little bit to kind of settle into the surroundings with what was going on, but it was good for the kids to come out here and support the team,” Joplin coach Bronson Schaake said. “I hope they continue to do so as well. … We have had 14 days off and it looked like we were just a step slow. … I told the coaches that (game) looked like one we would have lost before the break, towards the end, because we wouldn’t have held it together. We came out in the fourth quarter and held them to six points and they shot 20 percent. I thought we zoned in, I just wish it would have happened sooner.”

Joplin improves to 8-1 on the season and takes on Francis Howell (9-4) in the semifinals of the Kaminsky Classic at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

BY THE NUMBERS

Joplin shot 50 percent in the win, while Jefferson City converted at a 44-percent clip in the loss. The Eagles outscored the Jays 42-30 in paint points, but Jefferson City had the advantage in points off turnovers, 15-8, and second-chance points, 18-13. 

Joplin finished with four players in double figures, with Always Wright leading the way with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He added six rebounds, a team-high five assists, two blocks and a steal. All Wright closed with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. Terrance Gibson scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double, while also leading the team in steals with three. Bruce Wilbert finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Jefferson City was led in scoring by Steven Samuels’ 16 points off 5-of-8 shooting. Jordan Martin added 13 points and five rebounds, while Kevion Pendelton finished with 12 points and four boards.

GAME ACTION

Joplin closed the second quarter, which had eight lead changes, by holding Jefferson City to one free throw over the final three minutes while using a 9-1 run to go into the intermission with a 43-37 advantage. 

“We didn’t hedge hard or rotate in the first quarter,” Schaake said of his team’s play in the first half. “They were hitting some tough, contested shots, but (Jefferson City) didn’t feel it. … I thought we locked in (defensively) in the last two and a half minutes of the first half.”

Always Wright hit a floater to start the run, while Gibson had a bucket on the pick-and-roll before All Wright grabbed his own miss for a putback score. Wilbert finished out the run with a 3-pointer from the corner just before the horn.

Joplin pushed its lead to 10 early in the second half when Gibson converted inside at the six-minute to make the score 50-40, but Jefferson City rallied in a big after closing out the quarter on an 18-6 run to take a 58-56 advantage into the final eight minutes of play. The Jays shot 57 percent in the third quarter.

Trailing 60-58 with six minutes left to play, Joplin used a 10-2 run to swing the momentum for the final time. 

Gibson started the run with a bucket inside to tie the game before drawing a foul on a basket in the paint and sinking the and-1 free throw for a three-point play to give Joplin a 63-60 lead. Samuels cut the lead to one with a score on the drive before a three-point play from Wilbert and a layup from Always Wright pushed the Eagles’ lead to 68-62 with 2:43 left in regulation.

The Eagles limited the Jays to 3-of-15 shooting in the fourth quarter, with the defensive effort paving the way down the stretch in the win.

“I think this shows that even when you don’t play your best, you can find a way to close (out a win),” Schaake said. “I thought we rebounded better in the second half. … We are going to have to play a lot better and finish around the rim tomorrow.”

 

WILLIAM CHRISMAN 60, CARL JUNCTION 42
William Chrisman built a nine-point lead by halftime and outscored Carl Junction 21-4 in the third period on the way to a win in the opening round of the Kaminsky Classic on Thursday.

William Chrisman (7-2) shot 48 percent in the win, while limiting Carl Junction (3-8) to 37 percent shooting from the floor. The biggest discrepancy in stats came in the turnover battle, with the Bears holding a 20-7 advantage and outscoring the Bulldogs 21-3 in points off turnovers. William Chrisman also had a big advantage in points in the paint, 44-8.

The Bears were led by Dayne Herl’s 12 points and five assists, while Jesse Minter had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Carl Junction’s Kyler Perry and Josh Cory each finished with 13 points to lead the Bulldogs. Cory had nine rebounds to finish one board shy of a double-double, while Perry had a team-high four assists. 

William Chrisman takes on Webb City in the semifinal round and 9 p.m. on Friday, while Carl Junction takes on Poplar Bluff in consolation semifinals at 6 p.m.

 

FRANCIS HOWELL 67, NEVADA 14

Francis Howell opened the game on a 14-0 run and never looked back in the win over Nevada in the opening round of the Kaminsky Classic 

Francis Howell (9-4) won the rebounding battle 37-18 and turnover battle 19-6, while holding the advantage in paint points (32-4), points off turnovers (29-0), second-chance points (18-5) and fast-break points 19-0.

The Vikings were led in scoring by Tre Liner’s 13 points, while Dwight Lomax Jr. finished with 11 points. Francis Howell finished with 11 players reaching the scorebook.

Nevada (1-9) was led in scoring by Brice Budd, who finished with five points.

Francis Howell takes on Joplin at 7:30 on Friday in the semifinals. Nevada takes on Jefferson City in the consolation semifinals at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

NOTE: The nightcap of the Kaminsky Classic between Webb City and Poplar Bluff was canceled after weather in the area forced Poplar Bluff to forfeit the opening-round matchup. Webb City advances to play William Chrisman in the semifinals at 9 p.m. on Friday. Poplar Bluff takes on Carl Junction in the consolation semifinals at 6 p.m. on Friday.

PREP HOOPS: Carl Junction girls, McDonald County boys begin ’22 with wins

 

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Taking the court for the first time in 2022, Carl Junction’s girls and McDonald County’s boys recorded prep basketball victories on Monday night at Carl Junction High School.

However, those respective victories were quite different. 

In a non-conference doubleheader, Carl Junction’s girls grinded out a 49-34 win over the Mustangs, while McDonald County’s boys rode a huge first quarter to an 85-50 victory in the nightcap.

 

CARL JUNCTION GIRLS 49, MCDONALD COUNTY 34

In the team’s first action since Dec. 15, Carl Junction held a 14-point lead by the end of the first quarter. But the Bulldogs only outscored the Mustangs by one, 31-30, the rest of the way. 

“We started off really well,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said. “We made some substitutions and we quit communicating and we didn’t do some things we’re capable of doing. I saw some good things over the break, but I think our application is really poor right now.”

The Bulldogs hit four treys in the opening frame en route to an 18-4 lead. But the Mustangs outscored the Bulldogs 18-12 in the second quarter, trimming their deficit to eight at the break, 30-22.

Destiny Buerge scored seven straight points during the third quarter and Kylie Scott’s coast-to-coast layup gave the Bulldogs a 41-27 cushion entering the final frame.

In a low-scoring fourth quarter, one where both teams struggled, Carl Junction outscored Mac County 8-7 for the final margin.

“We may have been a little rusty tonight, but for the first four or five minutes of the game, we looked pretty good,” Shorter said. “If we can’t carry that over to the rest of the game we have to do some soul searching and just be better at what we do. I felt like we were pretty robotic tonight. We have to be better defensively. We just have to come together as a team, just get out there and play and see what happens.”

Buerge led Carl Junction with 19 points, while Anna Burch scored 10 points. Also for the Bulldogs (8-3), Scott contributed nine points and Klohe Burk chipped in seven points.

“I thought Anna Burch was superb off the bench,” Shorter said, noting the sophomore forward had 11 rebounds. 

Samara Smith scored 12 points for the Mustangs, while Anna Clarkson added seven points and Kaitlynn Townsend had five. 

The CJ girls will take on Fatima at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Southwest Baptist University. McDonald County hosts Carthage on Thursday. 

 

MCDONALD COUNTY BOYS 85, CARL JUNCTION 50

With Cross Dowd’s hot-shooting leading the way, the Mustangs came out firing on all cylinders in an impressive first quarter. McDonald County hit eight 3-pointers in the opening frame, six by Dowd, and the visitors took a commanding 34-12 lead into the second quarter.

“Our team played a great first quarter,” Mustangs coach Brandon Joines said. “Everything fed off Cross Dowd’s hot start. And 34 points in a quarter…that’s tough to come back from for anybody. That’s more points than we’ve been averaging in a half. It was a great team game overall where one guy got to stand out.” 

The Mustangs led 48-26 at halftime and 78-46 at the end of the third period en route to the lopsided win.  

McDonald County’s Cross Dowd scored 31 points on Monday against Carl Junction. Dowd hit nine 3-pointers. File photo by Shawn Fowler.

A junior guard, Dowd erupted for a career-high 31 points.

The 5-foot-9 sharpshooter made nine 3-pointers, a layup and two free throws.

“Cross is very capable of doing that…he’ll pull up from anywhere,” Joines said. “When someone’s doing that, hitting six 3-pointers in a quarter, everything else comes easier. We ended up with a lot of nice looks down low for Eli McClain and Teddy (Reedybacon). Pierce Harmon and Sterling Woods found driving lanes and Cole (Martin) was more than willing to distribute the ball to every one of them. Everyone got involved, including Toby Moore, Weston Gordon and Destyn Dowd off the bench. It was just a good team win.”

In addition to Cross Dowd, three others reached double figures for the Mustangs, as McClain scored 15, Harmon had 11 and Woods chipped in 10. 

Kyler Perry scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Ayden Bard added 12 points and Ky Warren had 11. 

Perry hit four treys, while Warren made three 3-pointers and Bard added two makes from long distance. 

The Mustangs were coming off a runner-up finish at the Neosho Holiday Classic, while the Bulldogs were competing for the first time since Dec. 18. 

Carl Junction (3-7) will compete at this week’s Kaminsky Gymnasium at Joplin High School, while McDonald County (7-5) is at Webb City on Tuesday night. 

“Coming into the new year, we wanted to get something going and that’s a heck of a start,” Joines said of Monday’s win. “Tomorrow night will be a tough one at Webb City. We’ll have to come out and be ready to play with some grit. I know we will.”

LADY MUSTANG CLASSIC: Carl Junction opens tourney with win; Webb City and McDonald County fall

ANDERSON, Mo. — Carl Junction kicked off its third tournament of the young season with a 69-49 win over Alma on Monday at the Lady Mustang Classic hosted by McDonald County High School.

Also locally, Webb City fell 50-22 to Bentonville West, while the host Mustangs fell to Fort Smith Southside by the score of 58-37.

 

CARL JUNCTION OPENS THIRD TOURNAMENT WITH WIN

Carl Junction is playing in its third tournament of the season and after winning the CJ Classic as the hosts two weeks ago and finishing second at the Freeman Lady Eagle Classic last weekend, the Bulldogs started the Lady Mustang Classic on a high note—defeating Alma 69-49 in the opening round to move onto the semifinals.

“It is always our focus to prepare ourselves to be successful at the end of the year, and hopefully we can make a postseason run,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said when asked how tournament play helps prepare for the postseason. “Obviously, with the state changing the rule to being able to play in as many tournaments as you want, we’re going to get into as many tournaments as we can in the next few years to prepare us for tournament play at the end of the year. I am very proud of our kids. Three tournaments in three weeks with an extra game in there, they have to be tired. I am tired and worn out. They fought really hard tonight against a really good team.” 

After building an eight-point lead by the intermission, Carl Junction (6-2) started the second half on a 12-0 run to take all of the momentum on the way to building a 20-point lead. The margin pushed as high as 26 in the second half, with the Bulldogs cruising to their third opening-round tournament win of the season.

“I thought our kids probably played our best game all year as far as playing clean and efficiently,” Shorter added. “We took good shots, moved the ball extremely well and rebounded well. When you play a zone (defense) like we do, teams are going to hit 3s just like if you press you’re going to give up layups. Being able to sift through it and understand how to close out on shooters and show to non-shooters, our kids did a really good job of that tonight. They also did an excellent job of getting hands on passes and in the passing lane, and I thought that was the difference tonight.”

GAME ACTION

Carl Junction led 13-12 in the first quarter after Alma’s Kenzie Rushing converted from the perimeter with less than two and a half minutes to play. The Bulldogs responded with a quick 8-0 spurt to build a 21-12 lead. The run was fueled by a midrange bucket from Anna Burch, a second-chance 3-pointer from Klohe Burk and a 3-ball from Hali Shorter, with the assist going to Burk off the drive and kick.

“It is a confidence builder,” Coach Shorter said of the early run. “Our kids shot it well tonight, but I thought we took good shots and I thought we passed the ball so much better. When we pass the ball that well, we put kids in a position to catch and shoot.”

The Bulldogs pushed the first-half advantage to 38-24 with 1:17 to play in the second quarter when Destiny Buerge came up with seven points in a 9-2 run, including a 3-pointer in the corner off the assist from Kylie Scott.

“Kylie is a stud,” Shorter said of Scott’s ability to influence a game. “She catches the ball at the high post and there are so many things she can do. She can drag it out and hit a 3, she can drive to the basket and she can pass really well. Her presence is huge. We lost that last year about halfway through the year, so you can see what kind of an impact she has with this team.” 

Alma didn’t go away easily however, switching to the press the final 60-plus seconds of the period and forcing CJ into a couple mistakes while closing the half on a 7-1 run to trim the deficit to eight, 39-31. Presli Taylor and Halyn Carmack each converted from the perimeter in the run.

Carl Junction punched back to start the second half, essentially putting the game away by opening the third quarter on a 12-0 run to build a 20-point lead, 51-31, while keeping the Airedales scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of action.

“We focus on the first five minutes of the second half,” Coach Shorter said. “We talk about the little things like that because I think it is important for our girls to understand that it is 0-0 at halftime. Whatever lead we have is a little cushion, but when we come out, it is 0-0 and we want to see what you’ve got. I challenged them and they rose to the occasion for sure.”

Scott started the run with a bucket inside before Buerge knocked down a stepback 3-ball from the wing off the assist from Scott. After two free throws by Buerge, Burk splashed home a triple from the corner with the assist going to Scott. Ellie Lawson closed out the run with a bucket. 

“She took great shots,” Shorter said of Burk. “She was shot-ready when she caught it, and she can hit them from 25 feet out. She took great shots and she passed the ball well. She has been playing outstanding, and so has Ellie Lawson. She does so many important little things, being in on plays, getting tips and keeping the ball alive. I am so proud of her, and Hali, too.”

The Bulldogs added an 8-0 run early in the fourth to push the lead to a game-high 26 points, 63-37.

SCORING LEADERS

Buerge led all scorers with 31 points, 13 coming in the second quarter. Burk made three 3-pointers on the way to 15 points, while Shorter and Scott each finished with six points.

Taylor had 15 to lead Alma in the scorebook, while Jordan Gramlich finished with eight and Rushing with seven.

UP NEXT

Carl Junction takes on Fort Smith Southside in the Lady Mustang Classic semifinals at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

 

BIG SECOND QUARTER LEADS WOLVERINES PAST CARDINALS

Webb City trailed by four after the first eight minutes before Bentonville West went on a 15-2 run in the second period en route to the 50-22 victory in the opening round of tournament play on Monday.

The Cardinals fall to 2-4 and match up with Frontenac at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Bentonville West led 9-5 after the first quarter before outscoring Webb City by 13 in the second quarter to take a 24-7 lead into the intermission. The Wolverines added to their lead in each of the final two quarters on the way to clinching the win.

Ripley Shanks led Webb City with four points, while Izzy Lopez, Kate Brownfield and Sami Mancini each finished with three in the loss.

Laynee Tapp had 15 to lead Bentonville West, while Ivorionna Johnson had eight.

 

FORT SMITH SOUTHSIDE PULLS AWAY FROM MUSTANGS

McDonald County went into the intermission trailing 23-20 before Fort Smith Southside outscored the Mustangs 17-7 in the third quarter to swing the momentum. The Mavericks didn’t let up down the stretch to seal the 58-37 win.

The Mustangs match up against Alma at 6 on Tuesday.

Samara Smith led McDonald County with 11 points, while Addy Leach closed in double figures with 10. KaitLynn Townsend finished with six points in the loss. 

Sierra Smith and Sophia Neihouse finished with 15 points to lead Fort Smith Southside, while Addi Branham and Dylon McCord finished with five each.

LADY EAGLE CLASSIC: Carl Junction falls to Farmington in title game; Eagles’ late rally comes up short

Farmington put early pressure on Carl Junction on both ends of the floor to build an insurmountable cushion on the way to a 68-49 win over the Bulldogs to win the 25th annual Freeman Lady Eagle Classic.

In the third-place game, Joplin fell into an early hole against Blue Valley North only to see its late rally come up short in a 52-48 loss to the Mustangs on Saturday.

 

RELENTLESS PRESSURE FROM CARDINALS SINK BULLDOGS

Farmington used the press early to pressure Carl Junction before catching fire behind the perimeter to build an overwhelming lead on the way to clinching the Lady Eagle Classic title game over the Bulldogs, 68-49.

Carl Junction, winners of the CJ Classic a week ago, takes second place and currently holds a 5-2 record.

“I thought our kids played hard, but we didn’t play our best basketball and (Farmington) had a lot to do with that,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said. “We gave ourselves a shot early and they hit some shots, got a few offensive rebounds and we lost a few defensive assignments here and there. That is going to happen sometimes, but I am proud of them and we will keep getting better. These are games that are really good for us.”

GAME ACTION

Carl Junction’s Destiny Buerge releases a floater in the Bulldogs’ loss to Farmington in the Freeman Lady Eagle Classic title game on Saturday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

The Cardinals opened the game with a full-press defense, jumping out to an 8-2 lead over the Bulldogs thanks to a deep 3-pointer from Reese Shirey and a 3-pointer from the wing by Jenna Lawrence. Carl Junction waded the storm and trailed just 14-12 after the first quarter. Destiny Buerge had five of the 12, including a 3-pointer, while Hali Shorter also had a 3-ball in the opening period.

“The thing that was frustrating for us was as a team, we typically do a good job of handling the basketball and handling the pressure,” Coach Shorter said about the pressure from Farmington’s defense. “You can see it was there at times, there were kids who were open and we just needed to make a better pass here or there. … That is something that we will continue to focus on and learn and get to where we need to be at the end of the year.”

Farmington pulled out in front and took the momentum in the second period thanks to its perimeter scoring. Lawrence knocked down two more triples in the second quarter, while Morgan Brye added a 3-pointer as well. More importantly for Farmington, Carson Dillard saw a pair of 3-pointers fall, igniting her way to a big night.

The Cardinals outscored the Bulldogs 19-7 in the second period and took a 33-19 advantage into the intermission.

“They move the ball really well and they have so many kids who can shoot it,” Coach Shorter said. “There are a couple of kids who we didn’t see shoot it the first couple of nights that hit shots tonight. That is a sign of a really good basketball team.”

Farmington started the second half even hotter than it finished the first, scoring 15 unanswered points out of the break to build a commanding 50-19 lead midway through the period. Dillard kicked off the run with two more 3-pointers before another 3-ball from Brye followed by a make from the perimeter by Megan Hernandez made the score 44-19. J’Myra London added two buckets and Dillard closed the run with a basket.

Carl Junction never recovered from the deficit.

SCORING LEADERS

Dillard led the Cardinals with 16 points, making four 3-pointers. Lawrence splashed home four 3-point field goals on the way to 14 points, while Brye added eight and Hernandez seven.

Buerge had 13 to lead Carl Junction, while Shorter finished with 12. Dezi Williams scored nine.

UP NEXT

Carl Junction takes part in the Mustang Classic at McDonald County High School on Dec. 13.

 

EAGLES’ RALLY COMES UP SHORT AGAINST MUSTANGS

After trailing nearly the entire game, Joplin rallied back in the fourth quarter and took a brief lead in the final minutes only to see Blue Valley North make enough plays to hold on for a 52-48 victory in the third-place game. 

Joplin takes fourth place and sits at 5-3 on the season.

“I am proud of them,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said about his team’s weekend. “It is disappointing to come away with two losses because our goal in every tournament is to get at least two wins. … But, they continued to fight, they continued to battle and they gave themselves a chance at the end. At the end of the day, that is all you can ask for.”

Joplin’s Brynn Driver scores on the break during the third-place game of the Lady Eagle Classic. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

GAME ACTION

Blue Valley North came out with the first momentum swing, starting the game on a 9-1 run over the first four minutes of action with several JHS turnovers fueling the run. The Mustangs ultimately took a 12-7 lead into the half over the Eagles, with Brynn Driver accounting for all of Joplin’s points in the opening quarter.

“Turnovers, transition buckets and second-chance points,” Coach Floyd said when asked what led to the early run for BVN. “For us not starting out any better than that, that falls on me as a coach. I have to find a way to have us more prepared and ready to play coming out of the locker room.”

Blue Valley North continued as the aggressor in the second period, pushing the lead up to 12 by the intermission. Aubrey Shaw led the Mustangs in the second quarter with six points. 

The Mustangs pushed their lead to as much as 17 points in the third period, 32-15, on an inside score from Nyla Hale but Joplin was able to trim the margin back to 10 to start the fourth quarter after closing the third period on a 7-2 run highlighted by back-to-back buckets from Ella Hafer and a three-point play by from Driver.

Down 11 two minutes into the fourth, Joplin rallied back with a 10-0 run to trim the lead to one, 40-39, with four minutes to play. Hafer and Driver each had a pair of three throws in the run before Brooke Nice drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to close the surge.

“As bad as we started … to show that kind of resiliency and fight, I am extremely proud of them,” Floyd said. “If we could just get that effort for four quarters, that would be wonderful.”

The Eagles rallied all the way back to take a 43-42 after Hafer picked up a steal and finished off the play with a layup. 

“Energy and effort,” Floyd added about what led to the comeback. “I told the girls it is a pretty simple game, we just make it complicated. When we play with energy and effort and more importantly, when we play as a team instead of five individuals, we’re pretty good.

“I thought our defensive rotations were a lot better, we were able to rebound a lot better and we started moving the ball on the offensive end.”

BVN took the lead back on a pair of free throws from Tyara Davis before the Mustangs extended the lead to 48-43 with 1:15 to play after two more free throws from Shaw and a bucket from Hale.

Joplin cut the lead to one possession on a 3-pointer from Nice with 1.9 seconds left to make the score 50-48, but the Mustangs converted at the charity stripe at the other end to seal the win.

Joplin’s Ella Hafer drives for a reverse layup in the third-place game of the Freeman Lady Eagle Classic on Saturday. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

SCORING LEADERS

Shaw had 12 points to lead Blue Valley North, while Hale and Logan Parks each finished with 10. Caroline Cool closed the game with nine points. 

Driver led the way for Joplin with 16 points, while Hafer finished with eight points. 

UP NEXT

Joplin is at Seneca on Dec. 17.

 

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

The following players were named to the Freeman Lady Eagle Classic All-Tournament Team: Joplin’s Brynn Driver, Blue Valley North’s Aubrey Shaw, Rogers’ Ava Maner and Perla Morales, Carl Junction’s Destiny Buerge and Farmington’s Reese Shirey, Carson Dillard and Jenna Lawrence.

LADY EAGLE CLASSIC: Carl Junction rallies with dominant third quarter in win over Rogers

Coming off its first loss of the season and trailing at the intermission, Carl Junction shifted the momentum in its favor permanently in a dominating third quarter on the way to a 56-46 win over Rogers in the opening round of the Freeman Lady Eagle Classic on Thursday.

“It was big for our kids and especially for our youth,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said about bouncing back from their first loss with a win over Rogers. “We have a lot of experience from last year, but we still are in that position where we have to understand that we have to come out and play our best game every night. We can’t just go through the motions because things aren’t going to go our way, myself included. We can do a lot of great things with this group if they play together and play hard every night.”

Carl Junction (4-1) matches up with Blue Valley North in the semifinals at 9 p.m. on Friday.

GAME ACTION

Carl Junction got off to a good start in the win, which hasn’t always been the case through the early portion of the season. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-4 lead through the first five minutes of action, with Destiny Buerge accounting for eight of the 10 points.

Rogers went on a quick 9-0 run on a 3-pointer from Perla Morales and six points from Ava Maner on a three-point play and a 3-ball from the wing to send the Mounties into the second period with a 13-10 lead.

“I was much more pleased with our effort to start the game, and that is something that we have been focusing on,” Shorter said. “But, it’s a game of ups and downs. They are going to go on a few runs. Our job is to limit those. I think the speed and pace of (the game) is something we had to adjust to pretty quickly. Once we did, that was a big piece of our success—settling into the game and almost catching our second wind, really.”

The lead changed hands four more times in the second quarter with Kennedi Blockburger splashing home a 3-pointer just before the horn to send Rogers into the intermission with a 26-24 advantage. 

“We are still working on our rotations and we were talking to our younger kids about knowing their responsibilities on a few possessions,” Shorter said. “Also, (Maner) picked up three fouls, so our idea was to immediately try to post her up and isolate her on Destiny. We also wanted to get Kylie (Scott) isolated out along the perimeter and get Hali (Shorter) and Klohe (Burk) spotted up. … I think we were able to do that. We did it with a few sets out of our continuity offense and were able to take advantage of some of those mismatch opportunities they had on us because they were in foul trouble.”

The Bulldogs took control of the contest with an 11-1 run out of the locker room. Buerge started things off with a 3-ball from the wing to give Carl Junction the lead before Burk followed with a 3-pointer of her own to make the score 30-26 with 4:40 on the clock. Scott closed the run with an inside score followed by a triple of her own to give Carl Junction a 35-27 lead with less than four minutes to play in the period.

The Bulldogs used a putback score off an offensive board from Scott, a three-point play from Buerge and a charity from Scott to close out the third quarter on a 17-3 run for a 41-29 lead.

“I thought Hali did a great job of rebounding on the backside and Kylie did a monster job on the boards,” Shorter said of his team’s play in the third quarter. “They put us in some tough positions (defensively) … but we were able to adjust some things and tweak them just a little bit. Our pressure up top is important and our ability to take vision away with our hands. … It got better and I think that was a big key for us.”

The Mounties cut the lead to six early in the fourth quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers from Maner and Morales but a 6-0 run fueled by drive from Scott and a pair of baskets from Buerge pushed the Carl Junction lead back to 12, 47-35, midway though the period. Rogers never made a serious run at the lead through the remainder of the contest.

SCORING LEADERS

Buerge led all scorers with a game-high 32 points, including three 3-pointers. Scott finished in double figures with 17 points.

Maner and Morales each had 13 points to lead Rogers.

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.

CJ CLASSIC: Carl Junction, Nevada advance to championship game with semifinal victories

 

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Carl Junction and Nevada will meet for a tournament championship after both squads earned semifinal victories on Tuesday night at the 45th annual CJ Classic. 

Nevada started fast and held off Parkview 64-58 before Carl Junction shook off a slow start to upend Seneca 59-42.

“I’m just really excited for our girls and for our program,” Nevada coach Blake Howarth said. “A year ago, we were playing for seventh place in this tournament. Hats off to our girls. That shows the improvement they’ve made. They’ve worked hard and they’ve earned this and I’m overwhelmed. I know the girls are excited for the championship game on Thursday.” 

The championship game is slated for 8:30 on Thursday night.

“It always feels good to be in the championship,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said. “Nevada has a lot of weapons. They have a lot of kids who can score and who can shoot it. They’re quick and they can press. We’re going to have to play really well. I think our girls will be ready for the challenge.” 

 

CARL JUNCTION 59, SENECA 42

The tourney hosts had to overcome a bit of a sluggish start. 

Led by Aliya Grotjohn’s six points, Seneca held a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But the Bulldogs looked like a different team as soon as the second period began. Carl Junction scored the first 15 points of the second quarter and outscored Seneca 21-2 overall in the frame to take control. 

“It was a little bit of a slow start, but it was just settling in,” Shorter said of what changed in the second quarter. “We forced some things and pressed a little bit in the first quarter. We were trying to get going by doing too much. But when we let the game come to us, shots started falling. It was a good run for sure.”

Carl Junction junior guard Destiny Buerge scores in the lane against Seneca on Tuesday night. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

During the second quarter surge, junior guard Destiny Buerge swished three treys, Kylie Scott scored on a drive through the lane, Buerge went coast-to-coast for a layup and Anna Burch converted two free throws to give Carl Junction a 23-9 lead.

The Indians stopped the spurt with a hoop from Hazley Grotjohn, but the Bulldogs then scored six straight points to end the first half, as Scott converted in the paint off a nice feed from Klohe Burk to give Carl Junction a 29-11 halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs blew the game open by starting the third period on a 12-2 run for a 41-13 advantage. 

Carl Junction’s lead was 45-20 entering the fourth quarter and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way. 

“Defensively, we looked a lot better tonight,” Shorter said. “I thought the kids played really hard tonight and played smart. We got some good things out of our defense and it always helps when shots fall.”

Ranked sixth in Class 5 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, Carl Junction is now 2-0. 

Buerge led the Bulldogs with 22 points. She hit five 3-pointers. A junior guard, Burk added 10 points for Carl Junction, while sophomore forward Scott contributed nine points. 

A senior guard, Aliya Grotjohn scored 19 points for the Indians (2-1), while freshman guard Hazley Grotjohn added 10 points. 

Carl Junction’s Kylie Scott puts up a contested shot in the lane against Seneca on Tuesday night.

NEVADA 64, PARKVIEW 58

The Tigers built an 18-point lead by the early stages of the second period, but the Vikings rallied to pull within single digits in the final frame. 

In the end, the Tigers did more than enough to advance to the tourney’s championship game. 

Nevada sophomore guard Clara Swearingen looks to score in the lane against Parkview sophomore Jestiny Worley. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

Sophomore guard Clara Swearingen scored 26 points to lead the Tigers (3-0), while junior guard Maddy Majors added 19 points and junior forward Abbey Heathman had 13. 

Tara Masten scored 21 points to lead Parkview (2-1), while Leah Reichert added 11 points. 

Utilizing good ball movement and shooting well from the floor, the Tigers led 20-5 at the conclusion of the opening frame. Swearingen scored eight points in the first quarter, while Majors and Heathman had six apiece.

A hoop in the lane by Swearingen and a 3-pointer by Majors gave Nevada a comfortable 25-7 cushion and it looked like the game was going to get out of hand. 

But the Vikings got back into the game with an 11-0 run. A pair of mid-range jumpers from Majors stopped Parkview’s spurt, and by the break, Nevada’s lead was 31-22. The Vikings closed the first half on a 15-6 surge. 

Swearingen drilled a trey at the end of a back and forth third period to put Nevada up 53-41.

Parkview trimmed its deficit to 62-56 with 2:42 remaining after a putback by Brooklynn Masten and a layup by Tara Masten. 

But the Tigers never relinquished their lead down the stretch. 

“We were able to hold them off,” Howarth said. “I think that was on me. We got off to a great start. I took the foot off the gas too quickly by making a lot of subs. I should have let the flow of the game continue to happen.” 

Parkview and Seneca will play for third place at 7 on Thursday.

 

Seneca’s Aliya Grotjohn shoots a jumper against the defense of Carl Junction’s Dezi Williams. All photos by Shawn Fowler.

 

Nevada’s Maddy Majors scores in the lane against Parkview on Tuesday night. Nevada and Carl Junction will meet for the CJ Classic title at 8:30 on Thursday night.

 

Seneca’s Zoei Dodson is trapped by Carl Junction’s Destiny Buerge and Klohe Burk during Tuesday’s game.

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

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

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

 

CARL JUNCTION 48, NEOSHO 34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCORING LEADERS

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

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

UP NEXT

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

 

SENECA 61, SPRINGDALE (ARK) 48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCORING LEADERS

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

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

UP NEXT

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

 

PREP FOOTBALL: Turnovers cost Carl Junction in loss to Hillcrest to open district play

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Turnovers sealed Carl Junction’s fate in the first round of Class 4 District 6 play Friday night.

The Bulldogs committed eight turnovers—four of them interceptions, including one on their final play of the game—and the Hillcrest Hornets made sure to capitalize on the way to upsetting the Carl Junction 24-14.

With the win, Hillcrest improves to 2-8, and advances to the second round of district play, while the Bulldogs’ season ends at 3-7.

Hillcrest went three-and-out on its first series and a bad punt put CJ in excellent field position. However, a few plays later on fourth-down-and-8 deep in Hillcrest territory, the Bulldogs threw their first interception of the night. Fortunately, the Hornets were unable to capitalize after turning the ball over on downs, but a few minutes later, a high snap and fumble with 7:42 to go in the half was the second turnover of the night for Carl Junction.

Hillcrest turned the second turnover into points with a 25-yard field goal with 5:05 to go in the half put the Hornets on top 3-0.

With 53 seconds in the half, what looked like a 14-yard run for a touchdown was called back on a holding penalty, but a few seconds later, Kyler Stewart grabbed a pass for a 14-yard touchdown from Nathan Planchon to give Carl Junction a 7-3 lead with 41 seconds left in the half.

The Bulldogs’ defense forced another three-and-out, with the special teams unit recording a blocked punt with seven seconds left that gave Carl Junction the ball deep in Hillcrest territory. CJ suffered its second interception of the game trying for the end zone before the half.

The Bulldogs broke loose for a huge return but a fumbled gave Hillcrest the possession, and less than three minutes later, the Hornets took the lead with a 42-yard touchdown pass with 9:36 left in the third to make the score was 10-7 in favor Hillcrest.

Hillcrest later took possession on the Bulldog 20-yard line following an interception by Carl Junction followed by a 15-yard penalty and eventually punched it in from 8 yards out to push the lead to 17-7.

Carl Junction connected on a 72-yard bomb from Planchon to Jordan Woodruff to trim the lead to 17-14.

With 5:58 to go in the game, the Bulldogs turned it over for the seventh time in the game with a fumble that ultimately led to another Hornet score with 2:20 left to play to push the lead to 24-14.

DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: Webb City starts fast, finishes strong in upset victory over Carl Junction

 

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — When nearly two and a half hours of intense volleyball concluded, the Webb City Cardinals were the team hoisting a district championship plaque into the air. 

With a fast start and a strong finish, second-seeded Webb City knocked off top-seeded Carl Junction 3-2 in the title match of the Class 4 District 12 tournament on Monday night at Carl Junction High School.

In a five-set thriller, the Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 28-26, 25-15, 23-25, 20-25 and 15-10. 

“I’m so proud of them,” Webb City coach Rhonda Lawrence said. “CJ is a great team. We were definitely the underdog coming in. I don’t think anybody is going to believe it’s going to say Webb City instead of them. But I felt like we played strategically and very smart. It was a great match. We really stepped it up as a team and were locked in with each other. We settled in and the girls did their jobs.”

Webb City’s Kate Brownfield slams a kill at the net during Monday’s district championship match against Carl Junction. Photo by Israel Perez.

After capturing a second district title in three seasons, the Cardinals (19-12-2) will meet the to-be-determined champion of District 11 in the sectional round of the state tournament at 6:30 on Thursday night. 

Meeting in a district championship match has become a regular occurrence for these Central Ozark Conference rivals. The Bulldogs beat the Cardinals in last year’s district title game after Webb City topped Carl Junction in the 2019 championship match. 

“We see these guys a lot and we tried to make some adjustments in our offense to help us score better,” Lawrence said. “Hat’s off to CJ. They have a great program. We make each other better. Iron sharpens iron. That’s why we’re always here.” 

This year’s postseason meeting was a hard-fought, back-and-forth clash that went the Cardinals’ way. Lawrence noted getting off to a good start by winning the opening set was crucial for her squad, especially after the Bulldogs topped the Cardinals 3-0 just three weeks ago. 

“Winning that first set gets the monkey off your back and you’ve got the momentum,” Lawrence said. 

Carl Junction, in a district championship match for the sixth straight season, ends the season with a record of 24-11. 

“I thought we played really tight and under a lot of pressure, especially in the first two sets,” Carl Junction coach Cheryl Sharples said. “We made a lot of errors. But they forced us into some situations and we didn’t handle them real well.”

Down 2-0, the Bulldogs won the third and fourth sets.

“We never quit,” Sharples added. “We were making some aggressive errors, but our kids never quit. I’ve been proud of them for that all year. When Jessa (Hylton) went out, we could have easily been done. But they stepped up and we had a great year.”

 

MATCH RECAP

All five sets were close.

The first set was deadlocked at 26 when Webb City’s Kearston Galardo slammed a kill before a hitting error on the Bulldogs gave the decision to the visitors. 

The second set was tied at 15, but Webb City grabbed the momentum with Kate Brownfield serving. The Cardinals rattled off 10 straight points. 

The third set was tied at 22 when the Bulldogs scored three of the next four points.

Carl Junction pulled away late in the fourth set, with Destiny Buerge serving a pair of aces. A kill from Kylie Scott finished off the set and forced a deciding fifth set.

In the finale set, Webb City went ahead right away with leads of 6-3 and 8-5. Galardo, Aubree Lassiter and Brenda Lawrence all had kills late in the set to give the Cardinals the win.

Lawrence noted she was proud her squad kept its composure after dropping two straight sets. And of course, getting a lead early in the final set proved key. 

“After the second set, I told our kids that Carl Junction wasn’t going to lay down,” Lawrence said. “They are used to this. We’ve played in a lot of four or five set matches. In the fifth set, you’ve got to go fast. That 15 points goes quick. You have to be on target.” 

 

NAMES & NUMBERS

A senior outside hitter, Galardo had 15 kills, eight digs and four aces for the Cardinals. Junior outside hitter Brenda Lawrence recorded 15 kills, while junior outside hitter Brownfield added nine kills and nine digs. 

A sophomore outside hitter, Lassiter added four kills and four blocks, while senior middle blocker Makenzie Storm had three kills and seven digs. Junior defensive specialist Jenna Noel chipped in five digs.

Webb City junior Kyah Sanborn handed out 41 assists and had 14 digs from the setter position, while sophomore libero Sophia Crane had a team-high 16 digs.

Carl Junction junior outside hitter Destiny Buerge tips the ball over the net during Monday’s match with Webb City.

A junior outside hitter, Buerge led the Bulldogs with 21 kills and 17 digs, while Scott, a sophomore middle hitter, added 14 kills. 

Freshman outside hitter Karissa Chase contributed eight kills and five blocks, while senior defensive specialist Ellie Lawson served five aces.

Junior setter Logan Jones, an Arkansas recruit, handed out 46 assists. 

Carl Junction’s seniors were Hylton, Lawson, Olivia Vediz, Maisen McCluney, Abigale Wilson, Maggie Brown and Delani Mertens. A standout outside hitter, Hylton suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 30. 

“Our seniors are a great group of kids,” Sharples said. “They’ve been playing since they were really young. All of them contributed in big ways. It was hard to say goodbye to them.” 

 

Note: The District 11 title match between Willard and Logan-Rogersville is scheduled for Tuesday night. The Cardinals own a win over Rogersville and have lost to Willard. 

 

Webb City sophomore libero Sophia Crane is pictured during Monday’s district championship match at Carl Junction. Photos by Israel Perez/SoMo Sports.

 

Carl Junction junior setter Logan Jones is pictured during Monday’s Class 4 District 12 championship game.

 

DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: Carl Junction, Webb City advance to title game

 

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — For the third straight year, Carl Junction and Webb City will meet with a district championship on the line.

Top-seeded Carl Junction defeated fourth-seeded McDonald County 3-0 and second-seeded Webb City handled third-seeded Nevada 3-0 in semifinal matches of the Class 4 District 12 volleyball tournament on Saturday at CJHS. 

Both teams earned convincing wins, as the Bulldogs defeated the Mustangs 25-9, 25-9, 25-14 and the Cardinals topped the Tigers 25-13, 25-12, 25-19.

The district championship match is slated for 6 p.m. on Monday at Carl Junction. 

“It’s pretty exciting,” Carl Junction coach Cheryl Sharples said. “Our kids have been there before and they have that experience. We don’t have to worry about inexperience, so we like our chances. I think both teams have come to expect to meet in this game. That’s great because it’s always such a great rivalry. We’re ready for Monday. We’ll be ready to go.” 

The Bulldogs beat the Cardinals in last year’s district title game after Webb City topped Carl Junction in the 2019 championship match. 

Now, the rivals will meet again with the season on the line. 

“It’s always exciting to be in the district championship,” Webb City coach Rhonda Lawrence said. “The last few years it’s been us and CJ. We won two years ago and they won last year. So we hope it’s our turn this year. We’ll have to play well to do it. They have a solid team. I hope we play as well as we can.” 

The Bulldogs won two regular-season meetings with the Cardinals this fall. 

It will be the fourth straight season the two programs have met in the postseason, as Carl Junction knocked off Webb City in the district semifinals in ’18.

The Bulldogs are in a district title match for the sixth straight season, with titles in ’20, ’18 and ’17 and losses in ’19 and ’16.

 

CARL JUNCTION 3, MCDONALD COUNTY 0

The Bulldogs (24-10) gained all of the momentum early in each set against the Mustangs. The hosts never relinquished it either.

“I really challenged them to control the level of their play on the court,” Sharples said. “I felt like we were pretty crisp and clean tonight. That’s what we needed to do.”

Sharples noted the Bulldogs are close to peaking at the right time. 

“We’re getting pretty close to doing that,” Sharples said. “We’ve had some changes in our lineup and so we’ve been developing that lately. Now it’s time to peak.”

Junior outside hitter Destiny Buerge recorded 11 kills and eight digs for the Bulldogs, while sophomore middle hitter Kylie Scott added 10 kills. Freshman outside hitter Karissa Chase contributed six kills and two blocks. 

Junior setter Logan Jones handed out 30 assists and also contributed five aces and five kills. Senior libero Olivia Vediz had nine digs and five aces.

In the first set, the Bulldogs led 11-7 when they rattled off 10 straight points. Maggie Brown had three aces during the run.

Three aces from Vediz gave Carl Junction a 12-5 lead in the second set. Later, a pair of kills from Buerge gave the Bulldogs a 20-8 advantage en route to the set victory.

In the third set, the Bulldogs led 15-10 when they closed out the final set and the match on a 10-4 surge. 

Playing their final match for McDonald County (7-23-1) were seniors Lana Yang, Kirklyn Kasischke, Kloe Myers and Abby Wiseman. 

 

WEBB CITY 3, NEVADA 0

Like the Bulldogs, the Cardinals (18-12-2) simply took care of business. 

“We did not play well at Carthage on Tuesday, so it was nice to see us play the way we played today,” Lawrence said. “I’m proud of the way they played. They were a little more meticulous about things.”

Lawrence noted playing in the always-tough Central Ozark Conference pays off in postseason matches against non-conference opponents like Nevada.

“I think that’s obvious,” Lawrence said about being battle-tested. “Unfortunately, a lot of teams in our conference are in the same districts and we beat each other out in the postseason. But our matches in the COC are a notch higher than what some of these teams are used to seeing, and that always helps us this time of the year.” 

In the opening set, Nevada hung tough early, but Webb City led 15-9 and 20-11 en route to victory.

The Cardinals snatched the momentum right away in the second set, leading 15-4.

Webb City scored the first eight points of the third set and never looked back.  

Senior outside hitter Kearston Galardo and junior outside hitter Brenda Lawrence led Webb City’s attack at the net with 10 kills apiece. 

Senior middle hitter Makenzie Storm added nine kills and three blocks, while junior outside hitter Kate Brownfield contributed nine digs, six kills and three blocks. Sophomore Aubree Lassiter chipped in three kills, three digs and two blocks.

Junior setter Kyah Sanborn handed out 32 assists and had seven digs. Sophomore libero Sophia Crane had a team-high 15 digs. 

Seniors Grace Barnes, Hadley Bruce, Macy Cussimanio and Taylor Thompson played their final match for Nevada (12-17-1).

NOTE: The District 12 champion will meet the District 11 champion (Willard or Logan-Rogersville) in the sectional round on Oct. 28.

PREP FOOTBALL: Ozark hands Carl Junction a loss in the season finale

For most of the first quarter it looked like the Carl Junction Bulldogs were in control of the game — and then a series of penalties and turnovers flipped the momentum and the Ozark Tigers quickly capitalized, taking the lead — and then the game, 37-16, to close out the regular season.

Currently, Carl Junction is the third seed in the Class 4 District 6 with a 3-6 record. The Bulldogs would host sixth-seeded Hillcrest (1-8) in the district opener.

Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a horse collar put a stake in three drives, and two interceptions and a fumble in the first half alone, allowed Ozark (3-6) to take a lead they would not surrender.

Ozark started the game with a short kick and on the first play from scrimmage, Carl Junction’s Dexter Merrell busted loose for 28 yards to get the ball deep into Ozark territory.

However, an unsportsmanlike conduct call shortly after left the Bulldogs with second-down-and-25, effectively puttting a stake in the drive.

The ensuing punt was a booming and pinned the Tigers on their own 1-ard line. On Ozark’s second play of the game, a sack in the end zone gave the Bulldogs the early 2-0 lead on a safety and a free possession with 9:35 left in the quarter.

Just a few short minutes later, Merrell hammered out a 20-yard touchdown run with 6:20 left in the first quarter to make the score 9-0.

It was the last time the Bulldogs would see the end zone until the end of the fourth.

Ozark struck for the first time with 9:35 left in the first half, on a 40-yard pass from quarterback Brady Dodd to Will Scheer to cut the lead to 9-7.

With 7:36 to go, and driving, the Bulldogs fumbled deep in Ozark territory. The Tigers proceeded to break loose for an open field run that would have put them on the CJ 28, but a horse-collar penalty moved the ball to the CJ 13, and with 5:57 left in the half Jake Beets rumbled in from the 9 and left the score 14-9.

The Bulldogs threw an interception with 5:36 left in the half, and a few minutes later, with 2:27 left in the period, Dodd would dash into the end zone on a 9-ard run to extend the lead to 21-9 in favor of Ozark.

The woes continued in the second half. After forcing a quick three-and-out on Ozark, the Bulldogs blocked the ensuing punt with about 9:50 to go in the quarter, but were unable to capitalize, throwing a second interception in the red zone of the game, and Ozark returned the ball to the CJ 31.

CJ held the Tigers to a 37-yard field near the end of the third quarter.

A 25-yard pass from Dodd to Scheer pushed the Ozark lead to 31-9 with just 35 seconds left in the third.

Just seven seconds later, the Bulldogs turned the ball over again on a fumble — this time on their own 15 — and on the next play, Beets scored from 3yards out to bring the score to 38-9 with 10:43 left in the game.

Carl Junction was able to get into the end zone again with 40 seconds left in the game, on an 8-yard run by Chance Benford.

PREP VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: Carthage, Joplin win in season finales; District play on the horizon

CARTHAGE BEATS WEBB CITY IN FOUR SETS TO CLOSE REGULAR SEASON

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage closed out the regular season with a four-set win over Webb City 27-29, 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19 on Tuesday. 

Carthage finishes the regular season with a 17-13-1 record and is the No. 1 seed in the Class 5 District 12 tournament hosted by Joplin. The Tigers take on the winner of fourth-seeded Raymore-Peculiar and fifth-seeded Neosho at 4 p.m. on Saturday inside Kaminsky Gymnasium.

Webb City finishes the season with a 17-12-2 record and is the second seed in the Class 4 District 12 quarterfinals, where the Cardinals will face third-seeded Nevada at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Carl Junction High School.

Sydnee Dudolski led Carthage with 23 kills and 23 digs. Mia Camarillo had 12 kills, with Grace Pickering finishing with 10 kills, five digs and four blocks. Raven Probert had 28 assists and 14 digs, and Olivia Bougault had 32 digs.

 

JOPLIN ENDS REGULAR SEASON WITH WIN OVER NEOSHO

NEOSHO, Mo. — Joplin ended the regular season on a high note after earning a 25-22, 25-10 and 25-14 win over Neosho on Tuesday.

The Eagles finish the regular season with a 13-11-5 record and play as the second seed in the Class 5 District 12 tournament. Joplin hosts third-seeded Belton (14-14-3) in the semifinals at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Fifth-seeded Neosho (6-19-5) takes on fourth-seeded Raymore-Peculiar (10-15-1) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round of Class 5 District 12 play inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

In the win over the Wildcats, Angelina Schramm and Emma Floyd each had 11 kills to lead the Eagles. Schramm added two aces and three digs, while had a block and block assist. Abby Edwards added nine kills and two digs, while Allie Lawrence and Bailey Owens each added seven kills. Lawrence had 15 digs and an ace. Paisley Parker had 30 digs and three assists. Kaya Cooper had 25 assists and four digs, while Abby Hembree had 17 assists and six digs.

 

CARL JUNCTION FALLS TO NIXA IN FINALE

NIXA, Mo. — Carl Junction closed the regular season with a 25-21, 25-21 and 25-17 defeat against Nixa on Tuesday in the regular season finale. 

The Bulldogs end the regular season with a 23-10 record and is the top seed in the Class 4 District 12 tournament. Carl Junction hosts the winner of fourth-seeded McDonald County (5-20) and fifth-seeded Monett (4-20-1) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Destiny Buerge led Carl Junction with 13 kills and 10 digs against the Eagles. Logan Jones had 26 assists and three blocks, while Olivia Vediz added 13 digs and three aces. Maggie Brown had 12 digs.

THOMAS JEFFERSON FALLS TO GOLDEN CITY

GOLDEN CITY, Mo. — Thomas Jefferson closed out the regular season in a three-game defeat against Golden City 25-19, 25-13 and 25-12 on Tuesday.

Third-seeded Thomas Jefferson battles sixth-seeded Bronaugh in the opening round of the Class 1 District 9 tournament on Thursday.

PREP FOOTBALL: Nixa pulls away from Carl Junction 49-21

The final score didn’t really tell the tale of the game.

Despite falling 49-21, the Carl Junction Bulldogs (3-5) were largely competitive with the Nixa Eagles (7-1) for much of Friday night’s game.

Five interceptions and a fumble were largely the difference in the game, with the scoring being otherwise fairly even.

In fact, the Bulldogs held the lead for most of the first quarter, putting together a solid drive that took nearly 8 minutes off the clock and scoring first on a 3-yard run by quarterback Dexter Merrill  to make the score 7-0 with 3:55 left in the period.

Both teams went three and out on their following possessions and with time running out in the first quarter, the Eagles managed their first conversion of the game on a fourth-down-and-1 on a fake punt.

Nixa got on the board with 9:27 left in the half on a 30-yard pass from Connor Knatcal to Austin McCracken to tie the game at 7-7.

Nixa struck again with 6:52 in the half on a Spencer Ward 22-yard touchdown reception to go up 17-7.

On the next possession, an interception left Nixa on the Bulldog 32, but on the very next play Carl Junction returned the favor with 4:04 left in the half when CJ’s Jordan Woodruff busted a 14-yard run for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.

On the following kick off, however, Nixa busted loose for a massive return landing on the Bulldog 44.

With 1:42 left in the half, Ward punched it in for another TD and the Eagles were on top 21-14.

The Bulldogs attempted to answer back, but with just 18 seconds left in the half a fumble deep in their own territory set up another Nixa touchdown, and with three seconds left on the clock, a 16-yard pass to McCracken to make the score 28-14.

On the opening drive of the second half, Nixa’s Kael Combs caught a short pass and went 59 yards with 9:40 left in the quarter and after the kick the score was 35-14.

With 5:26 left in the third, a pitch to Woodruff for a 2-yard run brought the Bulldogs back at 35-21.

But just about two minutes later a pick-6 by Nixa’s Ty Harman brought the score to 42-21 with 3:31 to go in the period.

At the start of the fourth, the Bulldogs were driving but were again picked off, and a couple possessions later Nixa punched in with 2:51 left in the half from the 1 by John Gholson to make the score 49-21.

DISTRICT SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: McDonald County cruises in district opener; Joplin and Carl Junction seasons come to an end

MCDONALD COUNTY BLASTS WAY PAST PARKVIEW IN DISTRICT OPENER

NEOSHO, Mo. — Top-seeded McDonald County started off Class 4 District 6 play with a bang, erupting for nine runs in each of the first two innings on the way to an 18-0 win over eight-seeded Parkview in three innings on Tuesday.

Nevaeh Dodson earned a three-inning no-hit win, striking out eight for McDonald County.

Isabelle Vergarza took the loss after allowing 18 runs, 16 earned, on seven hits and 11 walks.

After the first two batters reached on a walk, Reagan Myrick brought two runs home with a double to give the Mustangs the early advantage. Carlee Cooper added a bases-loaded, three-run double later in the inning to make the score 8-0 before scoring on an RBI single from Myrick, her second run-scoring hit of the inning.

After collecting five walks and two hit-by-pitches in the first, McDonald County walked four more times in the second. Dodson added a two-run double and Mariana Salas had an RBI single. Myrick added a two-run double as well.

Myrick had three hits, three RBI and three runs scored to lead the Mustangs. Cooper had a hit, three RBI and scored three times. 

McDonald County plays the winner of fourth-seeded Neosho and fifth-seeded Branson at 6:30 on Thursday.

 

REPUBLIC RALLIES FOR 6-4 WIN OVER JOPLIN

NIXA, Mo — Sixth-seeded Joplin scored twice in the top of the fifth to break a 2-2 tie before third-seeded Republic rallied for four runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 6-4 win in the Class 5 District 6 opening round on Tuesday.

With the loss, Joplin ends the season with a 16-14 record.

Mara Lakey earned the win after allowing four runs, two earned, on nine hits, four walks and three strikeouts over seven innings.

Jill McDaniel took the loss after allowing six runs, two earned, on eight hits, three walks and four strikeouts in six innings.

With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, Maria Loum came around to score on an error to give Joplin a 3-2 lead. Jadyn Pankow followed with a lineout to right field that brought a run home on the sac fly to push the lead to 4-2.

Republic cut the lead to one in the bottom of the sith when Jenna Belcher doubled home a run on a line drive to left. An RBI fielder’s choice in the next at-bat tied the game at 4-all. Following an error on Joplin and a walk, Emi Essary singled to left to plate a pair of runs to give Republic the 6-4 advantage.

Republic takes on second-seeded Ozark at 6:30 on Wednesday in the district semifinals.

 

WILLARD BEATS CARL JUNCTION 8-0 TO OPEN DISTRICTS

NEOSHO, Mo. — Seventh-seeded Carl Junction’s season came to an end on Tuesday when the Bulldogs fell 8-0 to second-seeded Willard in the Class 4 District 6 opening round.

The Tigers (22-7) scored two runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead before adding two runs in each the fourth, fifth and sixth innings en route to the win.

Hannah Burks earned the complete-game win after pitching seven scoreless innings, scattering two hits and striking out 16.

Hannah Cole took the loss after allowing eight runs, four earned, on 12 hits, a walk and two strikeouts in six innings of work for Carl Junction (2-24).

Ryley Ritchey homered on the way to three hits, two RBI and a run scored to lead Willard at the plate. Alyson Miller doubled twice and finished with three hits, an RBI and a run scored.

Hannah Cantrell and Madi Olds picked up the only hits for Carl Junction.

Willard takes on the winner of third-seeded Webb City and sixth-seeded Hillcrest at 5 p.m. on Thursday in the district semifinals.

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Carl Junction scraps way to 3-0 win over Joplin

Despite nearly every game being tightly contested, Carl Junction was able to earn a 3-0 sweep of Joplin in a late-season Central Ozark Conference contest inside Kaminsky Gymnasium on Tuesday.

“I thought we struggled tonight,” Carl Junction coach Cheryl Sharples said. “We just looked like we were playing in slow motion and that created a lot of errors for ourselves. Somehow, we found a way to dig deep and figured out how to win.”

The Eagles (12-10-5, 1-6 COC) led for much of the first set before the Bulldogs (19-6, 4-2 COC) rallied late on the way to a 27-25 win. Carl Junction started off with a sizable lead to open the second game before Joplin found its rhythm to take the lead midway through. A huge service run swung the momentum in favor of the Bulldogs, who went on to win 25-18. CJ played in front for most of the third set before the Eagles briefly tied it in the middle stages, but the Bulldogs never gave up the lead en route to a 25-21 win to complete the sweep.

Carl Junction’s Destiny Buerge (33) earns a kill with Joplin’s Logan Bruggeman (8) and Angelina Schramm (2) attempting a block on Tuesday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“I think we are playing really good volleyball,” Joplin coach Desiree Felker said. “We play good volleyball through the majority of the games. Now we just have to figure out a way to play well all the way through games. … Once we get that taken care of, we are going to be on the other side of these kinds of games.”

Joplin led 21-17 late in the first set on a kill from Allie Lawrence before CJ’s Kylie Scott earned a kill to force a sideout. Scott served up an ace and followed with a kill to cut the Bulldogs’ deficit to 21-20. 

Carl Junction’s Maggie Brown earned a block moments later to tie the set at 22-all. A kill from Joplin’s Angelina Schramm forced a sideout and put the Eagles up one before an attack error and block by Karissa Chase put the Bulldogs back front 25-24. Schramm earned another kill, but Chase matched it with a kill of her own to give CJ a 26-25 lead, with the Bulldogs closing the set out on the next point.

“We have talked about playing with confidence and wanting the ball in their hand,” Felker said when asked what the key to taking the next step in close games is for Joplin. “Right now, we are playing careful at times when we need to be all in.”

Scott boosted Carl Junction to a 6-0 lead to start the second game thanks to a long service run that was highlighted by a kill from Destiny Buerge and Brown. Joplin whittled into the lead with multiple kills from Emma Floyd and Schramm before ultimately taking a 12-10 lead on a block from Logan Bruggeman.

Joplin’s Angelina Schramm earns a tip kill in the Eagles’ loss to Carl Junction on Tuesday in COC action. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

The Eagles pushed the lead to 14-12 on a kill from Lawrence before Scott forced a sideout with a kill and went back to the service line to rip off nine straight points, swinging the momentum permanently in favor over the Bulldogs 22-14. Scott had three aces in the run, with Buerge earning a kill and Logan Jones a block.

“I kind of felt like in the first game, we were all serving a little tentative,” Sharples said. “In the second game, (Kylie) really went after it and got on a nice run. She has a great serve when she is on. She can be really effective and was hitting the spots I was giving her well.”

While Carl Junction played in front for much of the final set, the Bulldogs never held a lead greater than four, which came off a kill from Brown to push the lead to 14-10. The Eagles trimmed the lead to 16-15 on a block from Bruggeman and tied it on an attack error before a sideout  followed by an ace from Olivia Vediz put CJ back on top 18-16. Joplin tied the set at 19-all on an ace from Lawrence, but a kill from Scott followed by consecutive kills from Buerge put Carl Junction in front 22-19, with Scott ending the match shortly after with a kill.

Carl Junction’s Kylie Scott earns a kill in the Bulldogs’ win over Joplin on Tuesday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“These types of wins absolutely prepare us for the postseason,” Sharples said. “They help give you the confidence to come back when you are down and not let that be the end of your game. The further people push us every night the better it is going to make us in the postseason. 

STATS

Buerge led Carl Junction with 17 kills, while Scott had nine kills and five aces. Jones finished with 32 assists, six kills, 14 digs and two blocks. Brown had 13 digs, while Vediz added 10 digs.

Schramm and Floyd led Joplin with seven kills each, with Floyd adding three blocks. Kaya Cooper had 11 assists and eight digs, with Paisley Parker finishing with 20 digs and two aces.

UP NEXT

Carl Junction hosts Branson on Thursday, while Joplin hosts Willard.

GIRLS GOLF ROUNDUP: Carthage’s Bryant leads local qualifiers at C3D3; Nevada’s Cameron is district champ; Joplin takes 8th

CARTHAGE’S BRYANT LEADS LOCAL QUALIFIERS AT CLASS 3 DISTTRICT 3 TOURNAMENT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Postseason golf kicked off Monday with Carthage, Webb City and Carl Junction all taking part in the Class 3 District 3 tournament at Bill and Payne Stewart Golf Course.

The top two teams and top 12 individual golfers not on an advancing team all qualify for the state tournament.

Springfield Catholic (304) finished first and Glendale (363) second as the two teams qualifying for the state tournament, while Willard (389), Carthage (398) and Webb City (398) finished third, fourth and fifth. Carl Junction (464) took seventh as a team.

Carthage senior Hailey Bryant was the top score for individual qualifiers after shooting a 17-over-par 88 to finish in a tie for fifth place and qualify for the state tournament for a fourth straight season. 

Webb City’s Laya McAllister shot a 19-over-par 90 to tie for ninth and advance to the state tournament. Sydney French shot 22-over 93 to finish in 13th, while Sophia Coulson carded a 26-over 97 to also qualify for the state tournament for the Cardinals. 

The final local qualifier was Carthage’s Ava Lacey, who shot a 29-over 100 to finish in a tie for 20th.

Rounding out the Tigers’ play, Caitlin Derryberry shot a 103 to finish in 25th and Shay Gaddis shot a 107 to finish in 30th place. Aubrianna Fisher placed 38th with a 122. 

Webb City’s Jacie Crouch placed 35th with a 118, while Langlee Walker tied for 44th with a 126. 

Carl Junction’s Rylee Sprague placed 29th after shooting a 106, while Anna Burch shot a 113 to take 32nd. Olivia Teeter shot a 122 to take 38th place, while Addison Teeter shot a 123 to finish in 41st place. Chloe Mitchell carded a 132 and finished in a tie for 49th. 

McDonald County’s Kyla Moore shot a 110 to finish in 31st, and Jolie Stipp shot a 124 to finish in 43rd. Lundyn Trudeau closed with a 130 to finish in 48th, and Kelsie Lilly shot a 151 to place 56th.

The Class 3 state tournament will take place over the course of two days at the Meadow Lake Acres Country Club in New Bloomfield starting on Oct. 18. 

 

NEVADA’S CAMERON IS DISTRICT CHAMP; TIGERS TAKE SECOND AT CLASS 2 DISTRICT 3

CASSVILLE, Mo. — Nevada’s Emree Cameron was the individual medalist and the Tigers were the second place team at the Class 2 District 3 tournament at Cassville Golf Club.

Eldon (410) and Nevada (412) were the top two teams. 

A freshman, Cameron carded a 6-over-par 78 to claim the district championship by two strokes over Marshfield’s Marlene Edgeman. It was Cameron’s fifth individual tournament championship this season. 

The top 12 individuals not on the qualifying teams advanced to state. 

Cassville’s Avery Chappell finished fourth overall with a 90, Monett’s Claire Nation was eighth with a 99 and Seneca’s Britany Adcock took 13th with a 105.

Nevada’s Paige Hertzberg (108) and Katie Pennington (110) were 14th and 15th, while Cassville’s Alyzea Myers finished 16th (111), Seneca’s Madison Babbitt was 17th (112) and Nevada’s Riley Severance tied for 18th (116).

All of the above players will compete at the Class 2 state tournament, which will be held Oct. 18-19 at the Columbia Country Club.  

 

JOPLIN TAKES 8TH IN CLASS 4 DISTRICT 3 TOURNAMENT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — St. Teresa’s Academy and Raymore-Peculiar took first and second as a team in the Class 4 District 3 tournament on Monday to qualify for the state tournament.

Joplin took eighth as a team with a 450.

Sophia Schwartz was the top Eagles golfer with a 34-over 106 to finish in a tie for 27th, while Kenna Haley carded a 39-over 111 to place 35th. Lindsey Belnap scored a 113 to finish in 36th. Chloe Friend finished in 40th after shooting a 120. Drew Yockey scored a 128 to tie for 46th.