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BOYS HOOPS: Carthage battles until the end in title game loss to Bishop Miege

 

CHANUTE, Kan. — After fighting their way past two state-ranked opponents on their way to the championship, Carthage came up short of the title.

The Tigers fell to the Bishop Miege Stags, 77-57, bringing home second place in the 50th annual Ralph Miller Classic.

The Ralph Miller Classic, touted as one of the toughest mid-season tournaments in the state of Kansas, hosted four top-15 ranked teams in their respective state and class.

Carthage coach Nathan Morris speaks with an official during the championship game of the Ralph Miller Classic on Saturday night at Chanute High School in Chanute, Kansas. Photo by Huntyr Schwegman.

“If this doesn’t get you ready for what you’re gonna see in your conference and district games, then I don’t know what will,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said of the Ralph Miller Classic as a whole. “For us to come over here and beat two state-ranked teams and go toe-to-toe with another one, we’ll take that.”

Sophomore Justin Ray, juniors Max Templeman and Clay Kinder, and seniors Caden Kabance and Joel Pugh took the floor to start for Carthage.

The Tigers were on their game early, knocking down four 3-pointers on the way to a 16-point first quarter, trailing by just three. Carthage’s 9-for-20 performance from deep was good for 44% on the night.

“I feel like we came out and shot the ball well to start the game,” Morris said. “Our kids did an excellent job executing the scouting report.”

The second quarter is where things started to get interesting. 

After two Tigers took an elbow to the face on the same play, and a crowd uproar from numerous missed calls against Bishop Miege, Carthage started to slip. Although he was visibly, and audibly, frustrated with the officials during the game, Morris refuses to blame a loss on officiating.

Carthage’s Joel Pugh puts up a jumper against Bishop Miege during the championship game of the Ralph Miller Classic on Saturday at Chanute High School. Photo by Huntyr Schwegman.

“I think the game got a little wild there for a little bit,” Morris said. “I told our guys in the locker room… continue to do what you’re taught to do and how you’re coached, and I thought our kids did a good job of keeping their head in the basketball game.”

Even as the Stags tried to pull away, Carthage held it together until the intermission. The half ended with the Tigers on the Stags’ heels, 32-28.

“I didn’t think we played very well in the second quarter, and to only go down four was huge for our basketball team,” Morris said.

Bishop Miege hit a hot streak after halftime, out-scoring Carthage 25-11 in the third frame on the way to a score of 57-39 with just eight minutes to play.

Pugh led the Tigers on offense, notching a team-high 23 points.

Templeman added 16 points, while Kinder had 11.

Although Carthage managed three players in double-digits, bench production was non-existent. 

Carthage struggled on the boards in this matchup, allowing numerous offensive rebounds by the Stags.

This, alongside their inability to contain Bishop Miege’s transition game, ultimately led to the squad’s demise.

“I feel like the game was played extremely physically, and it kinda wore us down as the game went on,” Morris said. “I felt like we gave up way too many easy baskets.”

With a 2-1 showing at the Ralph Miller Classic, Carthage sits at 14-3 overall.

 

UP NEXT: Carthage returns home to Southwest Missouri to resume action next Thursday, when they host the Nevada Tigers.

“I think we need to go back and get our kids healthy and get their legs back under them,” Morris said.

 

RALPH MILLER CLASSIC TITLE GAME

Bishop Miege 77, Carthage 57

Carthage           16 12 11 18 – 57

Bishop Miege: 19 13 25 20 – 77

CARTHAGE: Joel Pugh 23, Max Templeman 16, Clay Kinder 11, Justin Ray 5, Caden Kabance 2.

BISHOP MIEGE: Christian Bowen-Webb 28, Daegan Jensen 16, Mack Martin 8, Aidan Wing 8, Kellan Boylan 8, Xavier Hall 7, Team 2.

 

Carthage’s Max Templeman attempts a layup against Bishop Miege on Saturday night at during the championship game of the 50th Ralph Miller Classic at Chanute High School. Photo by Huntyr Schwegman.

 

Carthage’s Tyler Willis puts up a shot from in close against Bishop Miege on Saturday night at Chanute High School. Photo by Huntyr Schwegman.

 

The Carthage Tigers pose with the runner-up plaque at the conclusion of the Ralph Miller Classic. Photo by Huntyr Schwegman.

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.

BILL HANSON MEMORIAL: Carthage girls rout Cassville in opening round

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Carthage girls basketball held Cassville to single-digit scoring in every quarter while building a big lead early on the way to a 63-29 win to open the Bill Hanson Memorial basketball tournament on Thursday at Pittsburg High School. 

The Tigers (7-9, 0-2 COC) were led by point guard Kianna Yates, who finished with a game-high and career-high 34 points in the win. Yates, who had 19 first-half points, converted six times from the perimeter. Maggie Boyd knocked down three 3-pointers on the way to nine points for Carthage. 

Pittsburg was led in scoring by Riley Morris, who finished with 13 points. Sharayah Seymour closed with eight points in the loss.

“Kianna Yates had an amazing 34 points tonight as she scored inside and outside against Cassville’s zone,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “When she’s on fire, there isn’t much the other team can do to stop her.

“However, it was our total team defense that set the tone for this game for 32 minutes. Our full-court press and overall ball pressure kept Cassville from running any semblance of offense, which is what our goal is every night.” 

Carthage advances to play conference rival Carl Junction in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. in the main gym on Friday.

“We now need to refocus our energy and prepare for Carl Junction tomorrow,” Moore said. “We had a close, tough game with them a week ago. So, our girls should be mentally and physically ready to battle them again tomorrow.”

BOYS HOOPS: Carthage finishes strong, knocks off state-ranked Shawnee Mission South

 

CHANUTE, Kan. — The Carthage Tigers wouldn’t be denied. 

With a gritty overall performance and a strong finish, the Tigers knocked off one of the top teams from the state of Kansas on Wednesday night. 

Carthage earned a hard-fought 80-72 victory over Shawnee Mission South in double overtime in the opening round of the Ralph Miller Classic at Chanute High School. 

Shawnee Mission South (6-2) is ranked seventh in Class 6A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. 

The game was deadlocked at 59 at the end of regulation and was tied at 70 at the conclusion of the first overtime before the Tigers outscored the Raiders 10-2 in the second OT.

Carthage took the lead for good in the second extra session when Justin Ray drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Joel Pugh hit two free throws. 

The Tigers also drew a pair of charges early in the second OT and went 7-for-8 from the foul line to earn what could be described as a signature win. 

Receiving votes in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 6 poll, Carthage improved its season record to 13-2. 

Four players scored in double figures for the Tigers. 

A sophomore guard, Ray scored a game-high 24 points and hit six 3-pointers to lead the Tigers. Junior guard Max Templeman scored 20 points, while junior guard Clay Kinder had 18 points with three treys and senior guard Pugh added 12 points with two 3-pointers. 

Mason Close and Harrison Hughes scored 18 points apiece for the Raiders from Overland Park, Kansas. 

The Tigers made four 3-pointers in the opening period, with Ray and Pugh hitting one apiece and Kinder knocking down two treys, but Carthage’s lead was just 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Carthage went up 26-20 late in the second quarter before the Raiders scored five straight to end the first half. With that, the Tigers led 26-25 at intermission.

An old-fashioned 3-point play by Templeman gave Carthage a 38-36 lead late in the third period, but the Raiders hit a 3-pointer on the other end to take a one-point advantage into the fourth quarter. 

Kinder and Ray hit key 3-pointers for the Tigers late in regulation, but the Raiders responded each time.

In the first OT, Caden Kabance made a short jumper and Templeman scored on a baseline drive to give Carthage the lead, but the Raiders tied it up with two seconds left.

The Tigers scored the first five points of the second overtime and then converted more than enough free throws down the stretch to secure the win. Shawnee Mission South’s only points of the second OT came on two free throws, as the Tigers held the Raiders without a field goal in the final session. 

Carthage returns to the Ralph Miller Classic on Thursday, where they’ll take on Andover Central at 7 p.m. Andover Central is ranked first in Kansas’ Class 5A.

PREP HOOPS: Carthage sweeps twinbill at McDonald County

 

ANDERSON, Mo. — Stellar guard play proved key as Carthage swept a non-conference prep basketball doubleheader from McDonald County on Thursday night.

Led by junior point guard Kianna Yates, the Carthage girls rolled to a 53-32 win over the Mustangs in the opener. 

In the nightcap, Max Templeman and Joel Pugh propelled the Carthage boys to a convincing 66-43 win over the Mustangs. 

 

CARTHAGE GIRLS 53, MCDONALD COUNTY 32

The Tigers scored the game’s first 12 points and never looked back. 

“We exploded out of the gates with a 12-0 run to start the game,” Tigers coach Scott Moore said. “When we make baskets and get into our press package, we can hang some points on people. Our offense triggers our defense and we had some really good scoring runs tonight.”

The visitors failed to score in the final four minutes of the first period, but Carthage led 12-6 entering the second quarter.

The Tigers outscored the Mustangs 15-2 in the second quarter to take a comfortable 27-8 lead at the break. 

“Our shots quit falling for a few minutes and allowed them back into the game,” Moore noted. “I’m immensely proud of our defense tonight, especially in the second quarter where we held them to just two points.” 

Carthage was up 37-14 at the end of the third period en route to the lopsided win.

McDonald County outscored Carthage 18-16 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers’ lead was never in jeopardy. 

Carthage improved to 6-7 on the season. 

Yates led Carthage with 22 points, with 11 in each half. Lauren Choate added 14 points with four treys for the Tigers, while Presley Probert chipped in seven points. 

“It was good to get a lot of players major minutes tonight,” Moore said. “Kianna Yates is our constant catalyst every night. What we need is a consistent second and third scorer for us. Sometimes, that’s Sophie Shannon or Maggie Boyd. Tonight, freshman Lauren Choate found her groove and swished in four threes. She has that sniper mentality and she will become an even bigger threat as she gains more varsity experience.”

Addy Leach scored 11 points for the Mustangs and Samara Smith added nine. 

Carthage will host Carl Junction on Tuesday in Central Ozark Conference action. 

McDonald County (1-11) is at Reeds Spring on Monday. 

 

CARTHAGE BOYS 66, MCDONALD COUNTY 43

Now receiving votes in the MBCA’s Class 6 poll, Carthage hiked its record to 10-2 with a solid road win.

Backcourt mates Templeman and Pugh combined to score 38 points for the Tigers. Templeman scored 20 points and Pugh added 18 points with four 3-pointers. Fellow guard Justin Ray added nine points for the visitors.

The Tigers used an early 12-0 run to take a 15-4 lead. By the end of the first quarter, Carthage held a 19-10 advantage. 

A pair of hoops in transition from Templeman extended Carthage’s lead to 25-15.

Teddy Reedybacon, a 6-10 senior center, scored seven points in the second quarter to keep the Mustangs within striking distance.

But Britt Coy scored in the lane and Pugh drilled a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, giving Carthage a 30-18 halftime cushion. Pugh had 11 points in the opening half.

The Tigers began the second half on a 7-2 run to go up 17 at 37-20.

The Mustangs received treys from both Pierce Harmon and Cole Martin late in the third period, but the hosts trailed 50-33 entering the fourth quarter.

Templeman’s conventional 3-point play and five straight points from Pugh gave the Tigers a 58-33 lead early in the final frame.

Reedybacon scored 14 points to lead the Mustangs, who fell to 7-7 on the season. Also for the Mustangs, Eli McClain contributed seven points and Harmon had six.

Carthage will host Carl Junction on Tuesday in a COC ‘Super Night.’ 

McDonald County is at Providence Academy on Tuesday. 

PREP HOOPS: Big 2nd quarter propels Strafford past Carthage girls; Nixa stifles Carthage boys down the stretch

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A dominant second quarter by Strafford opened up a double-digit lead that was too great for the Carthage girls to rally back from in the opening contest of the night.

In the nightcap, Nixa held the Carthage boys quiet in the first quarter while building a double-digit lead it wouldn’t relinquish down the stretch in a conference win on Tuesday.

 

DOMINANT 2ND QUARTER PROPELS STRAFFORD OVER CARTHAGE

Strafford took a two-possession lead into the second quarter before ballooning the margin to 20 points by the intermission en route to a 64-37 win over Carthage on Tuesday.

The Indians (11-1) got hot from the perimeter in the opening eight minutes of play to build a six-point lead by the start of the second quarter. Strafford outscored the Tigers (5-7) 18-4 in the second period to take a 36-16 advantage into the locker room. Strafford built a large enough lead in the third quarter to initiate a running clock in the final eight minutes.

“Strafford is a really good team and obviously they have a lot of state championships and wins in the past few years,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “And I know they were extra motivated because we beat them last year at their place. So, I knew they were going to bring their best energy against us. It felt like we were still zapped from the big run in the Pink and White Tournament. We just didn’t seem to have our legs, which is probably why we didn’t shoot well. 

“I am proud of the fact our girls went down fighting. … That is something we want to build on. When we play with energy, good things happen for us. When we don’t have the right energy or the right attitude and frame of mind, things get out of hand early and I think it kind of did tonight.”

Carthage’s Kianna Yates and Lauren Choate scored the first two baskets of the game before Strafford went on a 12-2 run thanks to four 3-pointers over a span of two minutes of game action to build a 12-6 advantage. Lauren Jones and Bailey Chrisman knocked down the first two shots from the perimeter before Laney Humble converted a pair of shots from range. The Indians ultimately took an 18-12 lead into the second period.

Strafford limited Carthage to a pair of free throws and one field goal in the second quarter while taking control of the contest with a 36-16 lead at halftime.

“I thought they did a good job of walling us off from the paint and forcing us to shoot from the outside,” Moore said. “Which a lot of times I am OK with, but, tonight, our shots didn’t fall. I thought that was the big determiner (in the outcome). It wasn’t so much what they did, we just missed a lot of shots. We had some point-blank bunnies, layups and (putbacks) that we missed. We had some wide-open 3s on great kickouts that we missed. Then, it’s a rebound for them and they get out and run and it turns into a track meet and we didn’t do a good job of transition defense. So, if you have a bad shooting night and your transition defense isn’t on point, that’s what happens against a team like Strafford.”

Senior guard Emma Compton had a memorable second quarter for the Indians. Not only did she score 14 of her team’s 18 points in the quarter, she also joined the 1,000-point career scorers list with a 3-pointer at the 1:11 mark to give Strafford a 36-16 lead.

Strafford pushed the lead to quarter-high 31 points with 27 seconds left to go in the third period on a three-point play from Chrisman, which led to a running clock to start the final eight minutes of play.

SCORING LEADERS

Compton finished with a game-high 18 points in scoring, while Humble finished with 17 points that included a trio of 3-pointers. Jones added 10 points.

Maggie Boyd led Carthage with 11 points, while Kianna Yates and Zye Clark had eight points each.

UP NEXT

Carthage is at McDonald County on Thursday.

 

NIXA BUILDS EARLY AND PULLS AWAY FROM CARTHAGE LATE

CARTHAGE, Mo. —  Nixa’s defense stifled Carthage in the first quarter and the Eagles built a double-digit lead by halftime that held up down the stretch in a 57-40 win over the Tigers on Thursday in Central Ozark Conference play. 

“I think it took our kids eight minutes to figure out we could play basketball with them,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. “I felt like we were extremely passive and I didn’t think we defended like we just defended for three days at the (Hy-Vee) Holiday Shootout. … It was (also) a weird atmosphere. … I told the guys what happens in that game if you don’t spot them a (9-0) hole.” 

Nixa (9-1, 2-0 COC) had a strong defensive presence early, limiting Carthage (9-2, 0-1 COC) to just one field goal in the first quarter. The Eagles started the game with a 9-0 run that included four points from Jaret Nelson, a bucket from Colten Berry and a 3-pointer from Jordyn Turner. 

Carthage’s Joel Pugh got the Tigers on the board with a score on the drive at the 2:42 mark before Nixa scored the final four points to close the period. 

Carthage cut the lead down to two possessions early in the second quarter after Pugh caught fire from the perimeter, knocking three straight 3-pointers to make the score 15-11 with 5:30 on the clock. He finished the period with 11 points for the Tigers.

“They were definitely trying to take Joel Pugh away, and I think he started the game 0-for-4 and then we went into halftime and he had 14. That’s huge for him to show up in a moment like that.”

Nixa recovered to push the lead back to double digits by the intermission after closing the half on a 7-2 run, including a 3-pointer from Colin Ruffin at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 28-17 lead.

Carthage was able to trim the lead to single digits in the third period on a three-point play following an offensive rebound and putback score from Tyler Willis, but the Tigers ultimately went into the fourth period trailing by 12, 39-27.

The Tigers trimmed the lead to 10 in the fourth quarter when Caden Kabance connected on a 3-ball with 3:44 to play, but Carthage would get no closer to the lead down the stretch.

“We had some tired bodies out there,” Morris said about his team’s inability to come up with one final push towards the lead. “You can tell we were a little gassed and our energy dropped, but to be able to play against the (size) that Nixa has for 32 minutes is tough. … I don’t think we played our best brand of basketball tonight against a state-ranked team.”

SCORING LEADERS

Ruffin led Nixa with 15 points, while Kael Combs added 12. Nelson gave the Eagles three players in double figures with 10 points. Turner finished with eight points.

Pugh led Carthage with 17 points, while Max Templeman closed with nine. Willis and Kabance each had five points.

UP NEXT

Carthage is at McDonald County on Thursday.

GIRLS HOOPS: Carthage falls to Republic in Pink and White semifinals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Republic built a six-point lead by halftime and pulled away from Carthage in the final two quarters in the semifinal round of the Pink and White Tournament on Wednesday.

Carthage (5-5) plays Cabot in the third-place game at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Second-seeded Republic takes on top-seeded Kickapoo in the championship game at 1 at the same location.

“We battled a tough district opponent for the third day in a row for 32 minutes,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “The only difference between today and the past two days is that our shots didn’t fall as much on the offensive end.

“Our coaches are incredibly impressed by our effort and energy on both ends of the court. The girls have really raised the bar for themselves this week and I look forward to coaching this team every game we play.

“We are such a young team, that we are constantly learning on the fly. The players have been great listening to the coaches and executing the game plan on both ends of the floor. They are really fun to coach. Sometimes I just step back and enjoy watching them play ball.”

Republic held a 23-16 lead after the first quarter before Carthage whittled the lead to six by the intermission. Republic outscored Carthage 12-7 in each the third and fourth quarters to distance themselves in the win.

Kianna Yates led Carthage with 20 points, scoring 14 points in the first half. Sophie Shannon, Maggie Boyd and Lauren Choate each finished with five points.

4-STATES CHALLENGE: Carthage builds halftime lead and holds off Rogers down the stretch

WEBB CITY, Mo. — After watching a double-digit lead vanish in the second half in a double-overtime win over Springfield Central on Tuesday, Carthage wasn’t about to allow history to repeat itself in a 51-44 win over Rogers (Arkansas) on Saturday in the 4-States Challenge hosted by Webb City. 

The Tigers improved to 5-1 after a strong surge to the first half led to a double-digit advantage in the second half. The Mounties made a run at the lead late, but Carthage staved off the comeback attempt to earn its second win of the week.

“That shows that the maturity day by day is there,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. “I told the guys that for us to have briefly touched on our 2-3 zone (on defense) and then have them sit in it at the end of the first half and the entire second half is huge for this group. It just shows how much they wanted to battle, being able to make some winning plays at the end to finish that out.”

To say the first half between the Tigers (5-1) and Mounties was a seesaw battle would be an understatement. There were 10 lead changes and two ties in the first half, but Carthage rallied to close the first half on a 9-0 run over the final three minutes to take a 29-22 lead into the intermission.

“We finally started getting downhill,” Morris said of his team’s run to close the half. “They are an extremely aggressive half-court team. … They fight every passing lane and they fight through screens. It took us a little bit to trust ourselves and get downhill. When Max started attacking and started screening bodies, I think that was the difference in the first half.”

Max Templeman opened the surge with a 3-pointer before Joel Pugh converted the and-1 free throw for a three-point play after pulling down an offensive rebound and scoring on the putback. Pugh closed the run with a 3-ball in the corner off the assist from Tyler Willis.

Carthage pushed its lead to double digits for the first time in the second half with Pugh splashed home a perimeter shot from the wing to make the score 36-26 with 6:02 on the clock. The Tigers ultimately took a 39-31 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Mounties made a run at the lead twice in the final eight minutes, but were never able to get closer than two possessions before the Tigers would respond.

Will Liddell knocked down two free throws to cap a 6-0 run by Rogers to cut the lead to 41-37 with six minutes left before Carthage’s Clay Kinder scored inside on the inbounds and drilled a corner 3-pointer on the next trip to push the lead back to nine, 46-37, with five minutes left.

“Clay is getting more comfortable every game,” Morris said. “This is very similar to Clay on JV last year. It took him a while but once he started to feel good, he got rolling. That is something you can say of Clay, he is never scared of the moment. He made a huge corner 3 when we were reeling just a little bit.”

Rex Krout brought the Mounties to wishing four again after he connected from the perimeter before scoring off the drive to cut the lead to 46-42 with 2:50 on the clock. 

One again, the Tigers responded. Kinder knocked down two free throws before Liddell found room on the drive to make the score 48-44. The Tigers sank three of four free throws inside the final minute to seal the win.

SCORING LEADERS

The Tigers finished with three players in double figures, as Templeman and Pugh led Carthage with 14 points each. Templeman had 10 in the first half, while Pugh knocked down three 3-pointers to lead the perimeter scoring. Kinder added 12 points in the win, seven coming in the fourth quarter.

Krout led all scorers with 18 points, 12 coming in the second half. Liddell had 11 points for Rogers.

UP NEXT

Carthage takes part in the Hy-Vee Holiday Shootout from Dec. 20-22.

BOYS HOOPS: Carthage outlasts Springfield Central 69-63 in double OT

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage saw a double-digit halftime lead vanish by the fourth quarter and trailed by two possessions late in regulation only to rally and defeat Springfield Central 69-63 in double overtime on Tuesday. 

Carthage spent the first half building a 34-22 lead before Central used an early run in the third to trim the deficit to four to start the fourth. Turnovers plagued the Tigers early in the fourth, but Carthage found some magic late in regulation to force overtime. The Tigers and Bulldogs remained tied and went into a second overtime, where Carthage gave up the first basket before holding Central silent down the final stretch on the way to the win.

“That is a different Central team,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. “I think (first-year Central coach Jordan Epps) has done a great job with those kids. The young kids they have helping him are going to be studs. … I told our guys they weren’t ever going to go away. I knew it was coming. I told our guys that we had three chances to lose that game and we didn’t let it happen. I am so proud of my guys because last year, those are the ones we let get away.”

The Tigers, coming off a third-place finish at the Carthage Invitational, improve to 4-1 on the season and are next in action in the 4 States Challenge hosted by Webb City. The Tigers take on Rogers (Ark.) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“We talked about at the end of our tournament how it’s been a while since a Carthage team took third and started the season 3-1,” Morris said. “Even moreso, it’s been a lot longer since a Carthage team has started 4-1. I don’t think some of the guys were even aware that this makes us 1-0 in our district. Now, with the eight-team district, to take care of those when you can early in the season, that is a big-time win for this group.”

SCORING LEADERS

Junior guard Max Templeman was the offensive leader for the Tigers, scoring a game-high 29 points in the win, with 17 of those coming in the second half and overtime periods. Senior G Joel Pugh finished with 17 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. Junior G Clay Kinder finished with 10 points, while sophomore G Justin Ray had seven.

Junior G Sterling Vinson led Central in scoring with 17 points. Freshman F Bryce Walker closed with 16 points, while sophomore G Antonio Starks-Fewell finished with 13. 

GAME ACTION

Carthage faced the full-court press early, but that didn’t stop them from building an 11-5 lead over Central through the first four-plus minutes of action thanks in large part to a 9-0 run led by its own defensive effort. The Tigers forced three consecutive turnovers to fuel the run, which turned into seven points the other way.

Templeman was the offensive catalyst for the Tigers in the first quarter. He scored 10 points, including Carthage’s final six, and did it with his ability to knife through the lane and attack the basket.

Templeman’s ability to create off the drive opened up the perimeter in the second quarter, as the Tigers knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the period to build a 34-22 lead by the intermission.

“That is where Max has stepped up his game,” Morris added. “Last year, he had the same ability to get to the paint but some of the decision making was questionable. He has really changed that. That comes with growth and maturity, and that also comes with knowing the work the guards around him have put in.”

Kinder knocked down the first 3-pointer to start the scoring in the second for Carthage, while Pugh splashed home a pull-up 3-ball from the top of the key off a ball screen to make the score 25-15—the Tigers’ first double-digit lead of the game—with 3:38 on the clock. Pugh added a 25-foot bomb from the perimeter seconds before the buzzer to send Carthage into the intermission with a 34-22 advantage.

The tide turned in the third quarter, as Central used a 12-3 run through the first four-plus minutes of action to trim the 12-point lead down to five, 39-34. Freshman G Keion Epps and Starks-Fewell each had five points in the run, with both players knocking down 3-pointers.

“They took away Joel and started fighting passing lanes on Joel, Max and sometimes Justin,” Morris said of Central’s defensive adjustments. “We just didn’t do a good enough job of staying aggressive. I told the guys we needed to slow it down a little in transition, so that was probably my fault. I think we need to know what this team is, they are go, go, go. We weren’t real sound with it, and I told the guys the start to the half was totally on me.”

The Bulldogs ultimately went into the fourth quarter down 45-41 after Vinson converted a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The turnover bug hit Carthage hard early in the fourth quarter, as the Tigers turned it over several times in the first four minutes, allowing Central to come all the way back and take the lead on a score from Vinson on an inbounds play under his own basket with 6:05 to play.

Vinson added a score on the break off a Carthage turnover near the two-minute mark to give Central a 52-48 advantage.

Templeman made a pair of charities before converting the and-1 free throw after drawing contact on a drive to the left with 35.8 seconds left to give Carthage a 53-52 lead.

Starks-Fewell looked to ice the game when he followed with his own three-point play coming off a drive, score and foul with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to put Central up 55-53.

Junior F Tyler Willis had other ideas, as a full-court heave intended for Ray was tipped near the top of the key before falling into the hands of Willis, who raised up just beyond the free-throw line and dropped the midrange bucket at the buzzer to tie the game at 55 and send it into overtime.

“That was drawn up to go to Tyler on the throw, but (Central) hunkered down at midcourt and the play saw an opening to Justin,” Morris said. “They made a good play on it, but luckily J was able to get enough of it to tip it to Tyler. … I told (Tyler) it never was a question was it?”

Central built a 61-58 lead in the first overtime period before Ray splashed a 3-ball from the wing with 68 seconds left to tie the game, ultimately sending it into a second overtime.

Walker scored inside to start the second overtime to give Central a 63-61 lead, but that was the last bucket for the Bulldogs.

Kinder tied the game on the next trip down the floor with a basket inside before finding Templeman on a back cut with two minutes left to give the Tigers a 65-63 lead. But Kinder’s biggest play of the night was yet to come. With 10.6 seconds left and Central attacking the rim, Kinder drew a charge on a drive by Vinson to force a turnover. Pugh knocked down two free throws on the ensuing foul to essentially seal the win for Carthage.

“I am so proud of Clay,” Morris said. “We have asked him to help us on JV this year because of numbers and he has stepped up and carried that role this season. He is now leading our team in charges … but for that kid not having played this load of minutes to play through the fourth and both overtimes, bury an early 3 in the first overtime to get us rolling, and then to step over in front of a special player and take that charge is a big moment in his career.”

GIRLS HOOPS ROUNDUP: Carthage upends Springfield Central; Seneca, East Newton, Mount Vernon earn wins

 

CARTHAGE 48, SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL 43

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Trailing by three after the first quarter, Carthage rallied to take the lead by halftime and never relinquished it on the way to a win over Springfield Central on Monday.

“This game was a physical battle from the opening tip to the final whistle,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “I’m proud of our girls for bowing up and finding a way to gut out a win against a good Central team.”

Central led 12-9 after the first eight minutes of action before the Tigers (3-3) outscored the Bulldogs 17-10 in the second period to go up four at the half. Carthage added to its lead in the third and held serve down the stretch to preserve the win.

Kianna Yates led Carthage with 15 points, including a 3-pointer. Sophie Shannon added 10 points, while Landry Cochran, Presley Probert and Raven Probert each finished with five. Maggie Boyd added four points in the win.

“Kianna Yates was our floor general tonight and kept us going on both ends of the floor,” Moore added. “Sophie Shannon fought her way into double figures by making some crucial free throws down the stretch.”

The Tigers are at Nevada on Thursday.

 

SENECA 64, AURORA 31

Hazley Grotjohn scored 24 points and Aliya Grotjohn added 23 to lead the Indians to a convincing win.  

Seneca improved to 4-2. 

Seneca hosts Joplin on Friday night.

 

EAST NEWTON 51, PIERCE CITY 31

Freshman Kylee Cole scored 23 points to lead the Patriots past the Eagles. 

Josie Guinn added 11 points for East Newton, while Shaw Coburn and Alyssa Coffey chipped in six points apiece.

The Patriots will return to action on Dec. 28 at the Neosho Holiday Classic. 

 

MOUNT VERNON 41, FORSYTH 36

Mount Vernon used a 13-5 run in the second quarter to pull away.

Mount Vernon received 14 points from Cameryn Cassity and 11 from Raegan Boswell. Cheyenne Bieber contributed seven points. 

The Mountaineers will take on Capital City at noon on Saturday at the 12 Courts of Christmas tourney in Kansas City.

CARTHAGE INVITE: Joplin advances to championship game; Carthage falls to Ray-Pec late, Webb City earns special win for Coach Horn

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Joplin dominated the second half to earn a 51-23 win in the semifinals on Friday over West Plains to earn a trip to the championship round of the 75th annual Carthage Invitational.

In other semifinal action, host Carthage rallied back from a double-digit deficit late before Raymore-Peculiar scored with less than 10 seconds to play to hold on for a 42-40 victory. Webb City knocked off Leavenworth 59-51 in a memorable win for coach Jason Horn.

 

JOPLIN DOMINATES SECOND HALF IN WIN SEMIFINAL WIN

Joplin closed the third quarter on a sizable run and held West Plains off the scoreboard for the entire final eight minutes of action on the way to the 51-23 win over the Zizzers for a bid to play in the tournament title game.

“I guess you could call it choppy,” Joplin coach Bronson Schaake said. “It seemed dead the way we started, energy-wise. We gradually picked it up. … I thought we started grinding defensively. … They only had nine total points in the second half. I told them we could be a really, really good to great defensive team if we just buy in, and I saw that tonight. We need that to carry us when we aren’t shooting well.”  

GAME ACTION

Joplin guard All Wright fights to get off a floater in the Eagles’ win over West Plains in the semifinals of the Carthage Invitational on Friday. Photo by Brennan Stebbins.

After a tightly-contested first quarter, Joplin gained its first real cushion as it closed out the half with an 8-2 run. Leading 14-12, senior guard Bruce Wilbert knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead to five before sophomore G All Wright pulled up in transition for a mid-range jumper. Senior F LT Atherton added a score on the break off a turnover and senior G Always Wright made a technical free throw with a minute to play to send the Eagles into the intermission with a 22-14 lead.

Like they did in the first half, Joplin closed the third quarter with all of the momentum thanks to a game-defining run. Holding a 26-19 advantage with 5:36 left to play, the Eagles used a 13-4 swing to build a 16-point lead with one quarter left to play.

“It was discipline,” Schaake said about what changed defensively in the second half. “We were leaving our feet on things that we shouldn’t be when we were closing out. We clamped them up. I think they got a little tired, too. … They are a physical team and I knew if we could match that, we would be alright.”

Always Wright started the run with a score off the drive before All Wright pushed the lead to 32-19 after splashing home a 3-ball from the wing with 3:50 on the clock. 

Garrett Mahan scored inside for West Plains before Joplin junior F Terrance Gibson added to the run with an offensive rebound for a putback. Always Wright stopped and stepped back in transition at the top of the key, losing his defender, and sank a 3-pointer before picking up the assist on a Whit Hafer dive to the rim on a pick-and-roll to push the lead to 39-21 with 1:10 to play.

Joplin senior Bruce Wilbert smothers West Plains’ Landon Casey in the Eagles’ win over the Zizzers on Friday. Photo by Brennan Stebbins.

“That is our mentality,” Schaake said about the importance of using defense to create offensively in transition. “We practice that way for defensive reasons because if we are not shooting well, we can get some buckets here and there from steals or deflections when we are getting out and running. That is what we are trying to build this through, the defensive end.”

Joplin locked down on the defensive end in the fourth quarter, holding the Zizzers off the scoreboard for the entire eight minutes of action while cruising to victory with 12 unanswered points in the quarter. Sophomore Quinton Renfro accounted for four points, while Always Wright, All Wright, Gibson and Hafer all added buckets.

SCORING LEADERS

All Wright led Joplin with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Always Wright closed with 13 points, with a pair of 3-balls. Gibson finished with nine points, eight coming in the second half. Wilbert, Hafer and Renfro each had four.

 

RAY-PEC HOLDS ON FOR WIN OVER CARTHAGE

Carthage trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half only to rally and tie the game up late in the fourth before a layup from Raymore-Peculiar’s Myles Sutton inside the final 10 seconds to give the Panthers a 42-40 win over the Tigers in the first semifinal of the 75th annual Carthage Invitational on Friday. 

“There were times a lot last year that it happened the same way,” Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. “We didn’t start well and we had to fight back. I am never going to question the fight in our kids, but I told them that the first three minutes of basketball games have got to change for us. The days of getting in a 7-0 hole and having to call a timeout just aren’t going to cut it this year. We talked a lot about our guard leadership. We have got to be able to start a basketball game better than that.”

The Tigers take on West Plains in the third-place game at 3 p.m. on Saturday, while Ray-Pec takes on Joplin in the championship at 4:30.

SCORING LEADERS

Sophomore G Ashton Jermain led Ray-Pec with 19 points, including a game-high five 3-pointers. Senior F Tucker Miller finished in double figures with 10 points. 

Junior G Max Templeman led Carthage with 13 points, while senior G Joel Pugh, sophomore G Justin Ray and junior F Tyler Willis each added six points in the loss. 

GAME ACTION

Carthage went scoreless for the first three minutes of game action, giving Ray-Pec an opportunity to build an 8-0 lead highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Jermain. Jermain hit two more 3-balls in the quarter to give Ray-Pec a 16-9 lead after the first period.

“I think they have to trust the work they’ve put in within our half-court offense,” Morris said about what adjustments need to be made to start games. “(Ray-Pec) did a good job of taking away sets early that we like to get into. Our kids were kind of put back on their heels by that. Once we settled in and realized that we could play basketball, we fought them really well.”

Pugh splashed home a 3-pointer to start the second quarter to cut Carthage’s deficit to four, but Jermain connected on three more 3-pointers, accounting for all of Ray-Pec’s points in the second period, to help the Panthers hold on to a 25-18 advantage at the break. Junior F Clay Kinder and Willis both added baskets for the Tigers in the second period.

Carthage senior Joel Pugh looks for room to drive in the Tigers’ loss to the Panthers on Friday. Photo by Brennan Stebbins.

Ray-Pec pushed the lead to double digits with an 8-2 run out of the intermission, with Miller accounting for six of those points.

The Panthers played with the double-digit lead for much of the third quarter before Carthage’s Templeman knocked down a long 3-pointer from the wing with 1:20 left and added a pullup jumper from the elbow to trim the margin to seven, 36-29, with eight minutes to play.

Heading into the fourth, the Tigers were in need of a run on offense, and they turned up the heat on defense to get it. Using the press at the six-minute mark, Carthage forced Ray-Pec into four turnovers over the next five minutes that led to a 9-0 run, tying the game at 40-40 with 1:03 left in regulation.

“Our kids took the challenge of one-on-one matchups,” Morris said about his team’s defense late. “We tried some zone press early in the game and they did a good job of breaking it. So, I asked the kids what they wanted to throw at them. They wanted to challenge them with full-court man. Our kids took that challenge, I just wish they would have earlier on.”

Pugh started the run with a 3-pointer from the wing before Ray added a pair of charities. Pugh pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled on the putback, converting the and-1 free throw to trim the deficit to 40-39 with 2:34 to play. Templeman tied the game with a free throw with a minute to play.

The Panthers held possession until going into their offense with 10 seconds left, with Sutton finding room on the drive to the right for a layup off the glass to give Ray-Pec the lead and eventual win.

 

HORN EARNS WIN NO. 200

Webb City bounced back from an opening-round defeat with a 59-51 win over Leavenworth in the Carthage Invitational consolation semifinals after erasing a slim deficit at halftime with a dominating third quarter.

The victory over Leavenworth is Webb City coach Jason Horn’s 200th of his career.

The Cardinals (2-1) went into the half trailing by one before outscoring Leavenworth 14-5 out of the break to go up nine with eight minutes to play. Webb City held serve down the stretch to preserve the win.

The Cardinals will play Fort Smith Southside in the fifth-place game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Junior G Dante Washington led Webb City with 23 points, while senior F Kaden Turner finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Junior F Trey Roets had eight points, five assists and three blocks. Senior G Dupree Jackson added six points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

JaiKuan Darthard led Leavenworth with 17 points, while Eddie McLaughlin had 12.

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

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

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

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

GAME ACTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCORING

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

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

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

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

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

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

UP NEXT

Carthage is at Springfield Central on Dec. 13.

BOYS HOOPS: Carthage wins season opener against Monett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCORING LEADERS

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

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

UP NEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

PREP WRESTLING: Carthage returns six state qualifiers and bevy of experience in 2021-22

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage wrestling returns 11 varsity members, including six state qualifiers from a year ago, to give the Tigers a bevy of experience to rely on as they head into the 2021-22 season.

“Our goals this season are the same as every season,” Carthage coach Kenny Brown said. “We want to continue to improve throughout the course of the season to give us the best opportunity to challenge for a district championship and set ourselves up for a run during the state tournament.”

Even though the Tigers graduated four seniors from last year’s 9-1 squad, Carthage is back with enough experience to expect just as good a season as a year ago, if not better.

Carthage’s list of returners are highlighted by seniors Eli Sneed (138 pounds) and Braxdon Tate (145), junior Grey Petticrew (152), Davion King (160) and Luke Gall (195) and sophomore Bradyn Tate (120 pounds).

Sneed had a 35-11 record last season, was the Central Ozark Conference champ and was a state qualifier, while Tate went 26-9 and was a state qualifier at 152 pounds.

“Eli really came into his own last year,” Brown said. “For the first time in high school, he pulled a little weight and was actually wrestling at a better weight class for his height. His wrestling took off and surprised quite a few kids.

“Braxdon wrestled up a weight class last year and at times, struggled with the strength of the larger kids coming down to 152. This year, he is planning on pulling down to 145. He is tall and his length gives his opponents a lot of trouble.”

King finished last season with a 40-6 record, was the district champ and finished fifth at the state tournament wrestling at 145 pounds, while Gall was 32-6 as the district champion at 182 pounds, qualifying for the state tournament. Petticrew went 15-12 at 160 pounds.

“Davion placed fifth last year at state and, unfortunately, ran into the state champion in quarterfinals,” Brown said of his junior class. “Davion has worked on putting on weight for football this summer and will be bumping up to 160 this year. … There’s not much I can say about Luke that hasn’t been said about him in the football articles this fall. He is a tremendous athlete and very dedicated. … Grey is another one of my boys who wrestled up from his natural weight class last year. He was a district finalist at 160, and we look for him to put up even better stats this season down at 152.”

Bradyn Tate finished with a 25-6 record last year as a freshman at 113 pounds. He was also a qualifier for the state tournament.

“Bradyn had a very consistent season for us last year,” Brown said. “Moving up a weight class, we are looking for more of the same with the hope of putting up more bonus-point wins with a year of varsity experience under his belt.”

Also expected to contribute at the varsity level this year are seniors Christian Brown (126 pounds), Brett Rockers (170/182; 19-10 record last year), Kanen Vogt (220; 22-7) and Cristian Salas (285), juniors Kip Castor (126; 21-21) and Gabe Lambeth (170-182) and sophomores Dylan Huntley (106; 8-8) and Josh Griffith (113; 16-4 at 106).

“Christian has been on JV the past three years and should finally be getting his chance in the varsity lineup,” Brown said. “He had a good camp this season and we are needing him to step up and produce like a senior. … Cristian Salas has been a 220 for the past three years. He has put on some weight over the past year and we need him to transition to the 285 role for us.”

Carthage opens the season with a dual at Carl Junction on Nov. 30.

“We should have another successful season,” Brown said. “We are going to be a very strong dual team with very minimal holes.”

GIRLS HOOPS: Big third quarter propels Carthage to first win in home opener against Hillcrest

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage evened its record with its first win of the season after a momentum-sealing third quarter propelled the Tigers to a 60-50 victory over Hillcrest on Tuesday.

The Tigers earned their first win of the season, evening their record at 1-1, thanks in large part to the effort on the defensive end. After building a five-point lead after the first quarter, Hillcrest turnovers to start the second period gave Carthage the momentum after converting them into easy buckets the other way. The Tigers outscored the Hornets 12-4 in the third period on the way to building an insurmountable lead down the stretch. Hillcrest rallied to cut the lead to single digits late, but was never in serious threat of making a comeback.

“We had the lead pushed up to over 20 and I was happy with that,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said. “In the third quarter, we made a great run, like 12-4, to stretch our nine-point lead out. Those are the quarters we want to have. 

“I didn’t like how the fourth quarter went. We have to play 32 minutes. That last five, those are the kids clamouring for more minutes and want to play more. You have to show that. When you get opportunities, you have to prove to us that you are ready for the varsity level, but they will learn from that and that’s part of being a young group.”

Carthage jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, including a runout basket that turned into a three-point play off the tip by Presley Probert and a steal and layup from Kianna Yates within the first minute of play.

The Tigers held a five-point lead going into the second quarter before a 10-2 run to open the period gave Carthage a 24-11 lead with 5:32 to play in the first half. 

A Carthage steal turned into a Raven Probert layup on the break before Sophie Shannon scored inside off the assist by Yates. On the next trip down the floor, Yates knocked down a midrange jumper before a steal of the ensuing inbounds pass led to a bucket by Landry Cochran that gave the Tigers a 13-point lead.

“Our offense triggers our defense,” Moore said. “We have to get buckets to press. Our girls love to press. That is all they want to do. But we have to get buckets. If we get a steal and miss a layup, we can’t press again.”

Carthage held serve and went into the intermission with a 33-24 advantage before a 12-4 run in the third period essentially put the game out of reach for Hillcrest.

Yates assisted on a fast-break score by Cochran before knocking down a runner with 4:25 on the clock to push the lead to 37-24. Carthage finished out the quarter with a baseline basket from Presley Probert and a 3-pointer from the wing by Daniela Marquez off the assist by Maggie Boyd to make the score 45-28.

“We made some adjustments on the press break,” Moore said of his team’s play in the third quarter. “That is where we got those steals and were able to put that game away. … I was glad to see that the girls took what we talked about with adjustments at halftime and immediately went out and went on that run in the third quarter.”

Carthage opened the fourth quarter with a steal and layup by Yates before Raven Probert converted a 3-ball from the corner for a 22-point lead, 50-28.

Hillcrest whittled the lead down to single digits, 59-50, on a 3-pointer by Kiley Coffelt with 36 seconds left, but the Hornets never made a serious run at the lead by the sound of the final horn.

SCORING LEADERS

Yates had a game-high 21 points to lead Carthage, while Shannon also finished in double figures with 10. Cochran closed with eight points, while Boyd turned in seven points.

Jamyra Parlette finished with 15, while Jim’Mesha Davis closed with 14 to anchor Hillcrest. Chloe Sutherland also finished in double figures with 11. 

UP NEXT

Carthage hosts the Lady Tigers Basketball Invitational, which runs from Dec. 1-4. Carthage opens the tournament with a matchup against Har-Ber at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Carthage falls to Kickapoo in season opener

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kickapoo set the pace early, outscoring Carthage by 21 points in the opening quarter on the way to a 75-33 win to open the season on Friday.

“Kickapoo came out fast from the start and was more aggressive than we were the entire first half ,” Carthage coach Scott Moore said to SoMo Sports. “That was pretty disappointing because we played so much better against them last year. I was happy to see our girls respond and play much better in the second half.  … We have a lot of younger players on varsity and they learned some touch lessons the hard way tonight. My hope is they grow from this experience and come out better next week when we play Hillcrest.”

The Chiefs led 41-11 at half before outscoring the Tigers 34-21 in second half.

Kianna Yates knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on the way to 12 points to lead Carthage. Sophie Shannon and Maggie Boyd added five points each.

Carthage hosts Hillcrest on Tuesday with the tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m.