Your online home for Joplin area sports coverage.

PREP HOOPS: Nevada sweeps Seneca in Big 8 twinbill


SENECA, Mo. — Nevada’s girls and boys basketball teams both fought back from double-digit deficits to earn come-from-behind victories over Seneca on Tuesday in Big 8 West play. 



Nevada’s girls rode a strong fourth quarter to knock off Seneca 59-54 in a key Big 8 West clash.

Nevada improved to 11-3 overall and 4-0 in conference action, while Seneca slipped to 9-3 and 1-1 in the Big 8. 

Nevada trailed by 12 in this one, but the Tigers outscored the Indians 19-7 in the fourth quarter.

Clara Swearingen led Nevada with 15 points, while Grace Barnes and Maddy Majors had 13 points apiece. Barnes scored 12 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Freshman Hazley Grotjohn scored 21 points to lead the Indians, while senior Aliya Grotjohn added 19 points. 

The Indians, who raced out to a 10-2 lead, held a 13-8 advantage at the end of the first period. 

Seneca was clinging to a five-point cushion late in the first half when Samarah Mittag hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Hazley Grotjohn converted a steal into a layup to give the Indians a 32-22 halftime lead.

Nevada cut its deficit to four late in the third quarter, but Aliya Grotjohn hit a 3-pointer to give the Indians a 47-40 lead heading into the fourth period. 

Treys from Swearingen and Barnes tied the game at 50 with 2:48 remaining before free throws from Swearingen, Katie Johnson and Barnes gave the Tigers a 56-52 lead with 50 seconds left.

Aliya Grotjohn scored inside before Barnes made 1-of-2 at the charity stripe on the other end, keeping the Tigers in front by three.

After a Seneca miss from long range, Barnes hit two more free throws for the final margin.



Like the girls, Nevada’s boys trailed by 12 before rallying late.

Nevada improved to 3-12 overall and 1-2 in the Big 8. Seneca fell to 5-8 and 1-1 in conference action. 

Evan Rea scored 16 points to lead Nevada, while Cade Beshore added 12. Brice Budd scored nine points for the Tigers, while Leo Gayman contributed eight points. 

Seneca’s Cooper Long scored a game-high 26 points and hit six 3-pointers. Gavyn Hoover added nine points for the Indians. 

The Indians led 16-13 at the end of the first period.

Layups from Long and Hoover and a trey from Zane Grotjohn gave Seneca a 31-19 lead with two minutes left in the first half.

A steal and layup from Beshore cut Nevada’s deficit to 10 at the half, 31-21. 

Nevada outscored Seneca 18-8 in the third period, and Budd’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer tied the game at 39 entering the fourth quarter. 

The Tigers received six points from Gayman early in the fourth quarter, and the visitors never relinquished their lead.

Nevada went 12-for-12 on free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Indians late.


GIRLS HOOPS: Seneca rallies late to knock off Joplin


SENECA, Mo. — Trailing by five with four minutes to play, Seneca finished the game on a 14-0 run to earn a 55-46 non-conference girls basketball victory over Joplin on Friday night. 

Joplin fell to 5-4 on the season, while Seneca improved to 5-2.

“We got beat by a good Seneca team,” Joplin coach Luke Floyd said. “The girls played hard all night, but as the game progressed Seneca made great adjustments and I did not. I have to do a better job of putting our girls in position to close out games. Hats off to the Seneca coaches and players for having a great game plan and sticking to it. I have to do a better job of preparing and game planning…especially after having a full week of practice.”

Aliya Grotjohn scored 27 points to lead Seneca, while Hazley Grotjohn added 12 and Samarah Mittag chipped in eight. 

Emma Floyd scored 12 points to lead Joplin, while Brooke Nice had 11 and Ella Hafer contributed 10 points. 

The Eagles led 10-2 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Hafer, but the Indians eventually tied it up at 11 after a trey from Hazley Grotjohn and a hoop in the lane by Aliya Grotjohn. 

Nice hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Joplin a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

The Eagles went up nine at 20-11 after free throws from Izzy Yust and Brynn Driver, but the Indians used a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Mittag, to pull within two. 

Buckets from Driver and Emma Floyd kept the Eagles in front, but a last-second trey from Aliya Grotjohn cut Joplin’s lead to 26-25 at halftime.

Seneca finished the first half on a 14-6 run, trimming a nine-point deficit down to one. 

The game was tied at 36 entering the fourth quarter. 

Seneca took its first lead of the night early in the final frame on Aliya Grotjohn’s 3-point play, but Joplin went back ahead 41-39 with 4:40 remaining after five straight points from Emma Floyd.

Joplin led 46-41 after a trey from Nice and a layup from Hafer. But Hafer fouled out moments later, and the Eagles would not score again. 

The Indians finished strong, as Hazley Grotjohn converted a conventional 3-point play and Aliya Grotjohn hit a trey.

Free throws from both Grotjohn sisters and a transition layup from Aliya Grotjohn accounted for the final score.  

Joplin travels to Chillicothe on Tuesday night in the final contest of 2021. 

Seneca is now off until a Jan. 3 date at Clever.

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



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.



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.



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 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.

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.



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.”


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.


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 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.


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.


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


GIRLS BASKETBALL: Grotjohn sisters lead Seneca past Neosho


SENECA, Mo. — Senior guard Aliya Grotjohn scored 25 points to lead Seneca to a 51-39 win over Neosho on Monday night in a non-conference girls basketball contest.

It was the season opener for the Indians (1-0), while Neosho fell to 1-1. 

After a sluggish start, Seneca finished the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 16-9 lead. The Indians pulled away in the second period and the hosts were up 37-19 at intermission. 

Aliya Grotjohn scored 18 points in the first half, while her younger sister Hazley Grotjohn added 10.

Seneca held a comfortable 43-23 lead entering the fourth quarter. 

Neosho trimmed its deficit to 11 late in the game, but the Wildcats would get no closer. 

In addition to Aliya Grotjohn’s 25 points, Hazley Grotjohn, a freshman guard, added 13 points for the Indians.

Junior forward Karlee Ellick led Neosho with 18 points, while junior guard Raine Harris added 10 points. 

The Indians will compete at next week’s Carl Junction Classic.

Neosho hosts Clinton on Tuesday. 



Neosho defeated Lamar 46-30 last Friday.

Against the Tigers, Neosho’s Reagan McInturff scored 11 points, while Beclynn Garrett and Jayden Adams added eight points apiece.

PREP FOOTBALL: Late turnover, penalties cost Seneca in defensive clash


SENECA, Mo. — With just under 10 minutes left to play, Seneca needed a touchdown to tie the game. 

But after a punt that netted just 15 yards, Mexico was set up at its own 42-yard line, looking to extend its 14-7 lead and potentially put the game away. 

One play later, Seneca got the gift it needed. 

On second-and-1, the Bulldogs called a pitch play to the right for senior running back Michael White, who two drives previous had caught a pass at the hash marks around midfield and darted around multiple defenders for the go-ahead score, a 60-yard touchdown reception. 

This time, though, the toss from quarterback Ty Sims came in just above White’s left shoulder. The ball went through his hands and into the backfield, where a Seneca defender fell on it. 

“I felt like the momentum swung right there,” Seneca coach Cody Hilburn said. “I told the kids already when we were down 14-7 that we’d get that  big stop, we’re going down and scoring, we’re gonna go for two and go win the football game. And that was our mindset. Our kids knew it.”

Seneca’s Jaxson Graham attempts to break free from a Mexico defender during Saturday’s Class 3 quarterfinal. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

Unfortunately for Seneca, the momentum swing was short-lived.

On just the second play of the drive that started at the Mexico 46 and could have tied the Class 3 MSHSAA state quarterfinal game, the ball once again hit the ground. 

This time it was Seneca quarterback senior Ethan Fritchey who was stripped of the ball, and a Bulldogs defender whose arms it wound up in. 

Somewhat poetically, it was White who found the end zone 10 plays later, redeeming himself after the turnover, and sealing a 20-7 Mexico win at Tom Hodge Field.

After the game, Hilburn told of his team’s Nov. 5 playoff win against Aurora, in which Seneca came back from a 12-0 deficit to win 13-12, as an example of Seneca’s confidence late in games.

“You couldn’t have ever imagined that in our locker room, you’d have thought we were up 12-0,” he said of the win at Aurora. “That’s just our mentality, we were going to find a way to win in the fourth quarter, that’s just kind of been who we are. (Tonight), we had to trade blows with some people that may have been more talented than us early on, and we knew if we got the game to the fourth quarter, our kids believed we could win. And we believed to the very end that we were going to win the game and it just didn’t go our way.”

The loss ends Hilburn’s first season at the helm of Seneca’s program at 8-5, a significant turnaround after a 3-7 2020 season. 

Hilburn spoke of a desire to reestablish Seneca as a perennial power and credited the first team he led as head coach of the program for taking a first step toward that goal.

“I’ve never seen a group like this that wanted to win so much and would literally do anything for you,” he said. “You didn’t have to beg them to show up and work hard, they wanted to show up and work hard. They wanted to have an identity, they wanted to leave a legacy for themselves and they did. They won our first district championship in the last eight years at Seneca (2013), and Seneca has historically been a rich-tradition football program and that’s what we’re trying to get back to. And probably early on (this season), I wouldn’t have dreamed of us getting to this point, too. I wanted them to set a bar for us that next year we can shoot to achieve and they just wouldn’t ever settle for that being the case. They’re heartbroken tonight, they fully expected, I fully expected, we all did, that we’d come out and win this game tonight.”

The Seneca defense looks to bring down Mexico’s Andrew Runge. Photo by Jessica Greninger.

Seneca’s lone score came on a 4-yard run by Jackson Marrs with 6:34 left in the second quarter.

In a game in which both teams were penalized several times, Seneca was called for costly infractions on both sides of the ball.

On offense, holding and illegal procedure were called three times each, setting up long yardage situations that forced the run-dependent attack to try and pick up gains through the air. 

On defense, Seneca fell victim to a defensive pass interference call inside its own 10-yard line.  

Mexico had set itself up with a first-and-10 from the 15, but consecutive illegal procedure calls made it first-and-20 from the 25, prompting the shot toward the end zone on which the flag was drawn. On the very next play, Andrew Runge punched through the defense for a 13-yard score, to tie the game at 7-7. 

“It was frustrating,” Hilburn said. “That’s part of the game, you know. It’s part of the game.”

Mexico (10-2) will travel to St. Mary’s (10-1) in the semifinals.


Seneca defenders Dane Napier (24) and Jaxson Graham (7) look to bring down Mexico’s Michael White.


Seneca hosted Mexico in a Class 3 quarterfinal on Saturday. Mexico defeated Seneca 20-7. Photos by Jessica Greninger.

PREP FOOTBALL: Webb City, Seneca, Lamar set for quarterfinal clashes


Three area prep football teams will attempt to reach the semifinals of their respective state tournaments this weekend. 

Below is a quick look at the quarterfinal matchups of local interest. 



Lebanon (10-1) at Webb City (8-3), Friday at 7 p.m.


OUTLOOK: Webb City avenged a regular season setback to Carthage in the District 6 championship game, as the Cardinals overcame a 14-point deficit and knocked off the previously undefeated Tigers 28-21 in what was another memorable clash between the close rivals.  

Incredibly, John Roderique’s Cardinals have now won 22 straight district championships. 

Lebanon beat Glendale 56-26 for the District 5 crown. Lebanon’s lone loss came in Week 8, a 28-20 setback to Rolla. The Yellowjackets own a win over Class 4 quarterfinalist West Plains (44-34).

Both teams are averaging 41 points per game. The Yellowjackets are allowing 20 points per game, while the Cardinals have given up 22 points per game. 

Webb City is ranked fourth by the Missouri Media, while Lebanon is ranked seventh. 

These two teams also met in this round last season at Cardinal Stadium, with Webb City advancing to the semifinals with a convincing 42-14 win.

The winner of this game will advance to the semifinals on Nov. 27, where they’ll meet either defending state champion Jackson or Rockwood Summit. 



Mexico (9-2) at Seneca (8-4), Saturday at 2 p.m.


OUTLOOK: The Indians defeated Mountain Grove 24-18 in the district championship game. 

Seneca is in the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2013. The Indians finished as the state runner-up that season. 

Led by QB Ethan Fritchey and running backs Jaxson Graham and Jackson Marrs, the Indians have won four straight games since suffering a loss to Class 2 defending state champion Lamar. 

Seneca is averaging 25 points per game and allowing 24. Mexico is scoring 39 points per contest while allowing 18. 

Mexico handled Blair Oaks 49-14 in the district championship game. The Bulldogs’ losses are to Class 4 quarterfinalist Hannibal and to Class 4 Kirksville. 

The winner of this game will meet either Park Hills Central or St. Mary’s in the semifinals on Nov. 27.



Lamar (11-0) at Ava (11-0), Saturday at 1 p.m.


OUTLOOK: Lamar is in the quarterfinal round for the 13th straight season. 

In a clash between the top-ranked teams in Class 2, Lamar rode a big second half to a 35-7 win over second-ranked Fair Grove in the district championship game. 

Led by QB Joel Beshore and RB Austin Wilkerson, the defending state champion Tigers scored 28 unanswered points after the game was deadlocked at halftime. 

Ranked fourth, Ava defeated Liberty 48-6 last Friday to advance.

The Bears are averaging 44 points per game and allowing 11. Lamar is scoring 46 per game and giving up just 8 points per game. Ava defeated Lamar in this round in 2019. 

The Lamar-Ava winner will meet either Maryville or Richmond in the semifinals on Nov. 27. 


HOW TO WATCH: All of the area games can be viewed online for a $10 fee at:



GIRLS STATE GOLF: Carthage’s Bryant takes 10th to highlight local golfers as state wraps

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Mo. — Carthage senior Hailey Bryant wrapped up her final tournament as a Tiger with a 10th place finish at the Class 3 state tournament on Tuesday at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club to highlight a bevy of local competitors in action.

Bryant closed her high school career with an 85 on Tuesday to finish the two-day state tournament with an 82-85—167 to finish in 10th place, earning all-state honors in the process.

Springfield Catholic’s Regan Zibilski carded a second-round 73 to couple with her opening round 66 to take medalist honors with a 139. Father Tolton Regional Catholic’s Audrey Rischer (71-74—145) took second, while Springfield Catholic’s Lyla Louderbaugh (77-72—149) and Kyleigh Pfitzner (76-78—154) placed third and fourth. Smith-Cotton’s Kiser Pannier wrapped the top-five scoring with a 79-76—155. Also earning all-state was Webster Groves’ Jenna Clark (sixth; 77-80—757), FTRC’s Katherine Ryan (seventh; 82-81—163), Rolla’s Abby Hobbs (tied for eighth; 81-83—164) and Parkway West’s Kylie Secrest (tied for eighth; 77-87—164).

Also competing locally, Webb City’s Sydney French finished in a tie for 51st after scoring a second-day 103 to fish with a 202. Laya McAllister matched her first-day score on Day 2 with a 103 to finish in 61st with a 206, Sophia Coulson scored a 108 to finish in 75th with a 218 for the Cardinals.

Carthage’s Ava Lacey closed her second round with a 106 to finish in a tie for 62nd with a 208.



COLUMBIA, Mo. — Nevada freshman Emree Cameron ended her first high school state tournament on a high note, earning a fourth-place finish at the Class 2 girls state tournament on Tuesday at the Columbia Country Club.

Cameron matched her opening-round 80 with another 80 on the second day to close with a 160 to earn all-state honors.

Marshfield’s Marlene Edgeman shot a 79 on the second day to take medalist honors with a 72-79—151, while Osage’s Hanna Maschhoff (74-81—155) took second and Westminster Christian Academy’s Elizabeth Johnson (80-77—157) took third.

Cassville’s Avery Chappell earned all-state honors after tying for 10th place with an 87-84—171. Alyzea Myers finished in 78th place for the Wildcats after shooting a 128-125—253. Monett’s Claire Nation placed in a tie for 56th with a 101-114—215, while Seneca’s Britany Adcock placed 61st with a 111-109—220. Madison Babbitt took 64th for the Indians with a 118-107—225. 

Nevada’s Kate Pennington (114-113—227) tied for 65th, while Paige Hertzberg (114-119—233) tied for 72nd and Riley Severance (120-121—241) took 76th. 



BOLIVAR, Mo. — Mount Vernon’s Kenadi Killingsworth finished in seventh place in the Class 1 girls state golf tournament on Tuesday at Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club.

Killingsworth shot a 97 on the second day after scoring a 93 in the opening round to close with a 190. 

New Covenant’s Savannah Thessing took medalist honors after shooting a two-day 86-86—172.

PREP VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: College Heights earns win over Purdy; Seneca falls to Lamar


PURDY, Mo. — College Heights went on the road and made quick work of Purdy with a 3-0 sweep on Tuesday.

The Cougars opened with a 25-12 win before moving into a 2-0 advantage with a 25-15 win in the second set. College Heights finished off the sweep with a 25-8 win in the third game.

Addie Lawrence led CHC with 14 kills, 14 aces and 22 service points. Lindsay Griesemer had seven kills, while Maddy Colin had 22 assists. Lauren Ukena added eight digs and 14 points in service. 

College Heights hosts Wheaton on Thursday.



SENECA, Mo. — Seneca and Lamar played to a 1-1 split before the Tigers won the final two games en route to a 25-13, 22-25, 25-17 and 25-20 win over the Indians on Tuesday.

With the loss, Seneca falls to 11-12-2 on the season.

Parker Long had 13 kills, 20 digs and two block assists for Seneca, while Rylee Darnell added 25 assists, four kills and two aces. Ellie Barnes had 11 digs, three kills, an ace, two block assists and a solo block, while Jera Jameson had four kills, two aces and two block assists. Braxton Raulston finished with 12 digs and two block assists.

Seneca is at East Newton on Thursday.

PREP FOOTBALL: Seneca dominates Cassville to move to 4-3


SENECA, Mo. — Each team’s first offensive possession was indicative of how the rest of them would go. For Seneca, that meant an 80-yard march that consisted of 14 plays and melted nearly seven minutes off the clock, culminating in a 5-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Ethan Fritchey.

Seneca’s Jaxson Graham attempts to leap over Casville’s Jake Anthonysz during Friday night’s game. Seneca won the game 27-0.  All photos by Israel Perez.

When it was Cassville’s turn, the Wildcats began with a short, 2-yard run, then the Seneca defense stuffed running back Jake Anthonysz at the line and forced a fumble that Cassville recovered. Third down brought an incomplete pass, forcing a punt, the first of seven Seneca forced.

Meanwhile, Seneca scored three more times to cruise to a 27-0 win on Friday night.

Senior running back Jaxson Graham had 15 carries, totaling 176 yards on the ground, including a 76-yard touchdown on Seneca’s second drive. Twelve of those rushes and 175 of the yards came in the first half. 

Seneca’s other scores came on a pass from Fritchey to Conner Ackerson, who was running a flag route into the end zone and jumped to beat a defender for the ball and touchdown, and a 33-yard run by Jackson Marrs.  

“I was proud of the way we started that game, going on a long drive like that and setting the tone,” said Seneca coach Cody Hilburn. “It’s good for us, but man our defense was great. They had a rough go the past two weeks against two really good football teams. We told them to stay positive and eventually it was going to pay off and our defense was fantastic.”

In fact, Seneca limited the Wildcat attack to 95 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, two on downs. Perhaps even more stark, Seneca had more touchdowns, four, than Cassville managed first downs, three. 

“I think it was as a whole (performance),” Hilburn said. “And that’s what we preached all week, 11 hats to the football and playing extremely hard and our kids did that tonight.”

The win drops Cassville to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big 8, while Seneca got above .500, moving to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in league play. 

Hilburn said getting his team ready to play its best when the district playoffs roll around is more important than having a perfect regular season. 

“We want to be playing our best football during district play,” he said. “It was never about the regular season. We just want to improve every single week, not worry about the scoreboard. We play a tough schedule, such a tough schedule, and even after those losses, our kids understood that we were winning and learning and hopefully we were going to be playing our best football come Week 10, Week 11.”

In the second-to-last game of the regular season, Seneca travels to face Lamar next week, while Cassville returns home to host East Newton. 


Seneca’s Ethan Fritchey looks to elude Cassville’s Wyatt Alexander. All photos by Israel Perez.


Seneca’s Jackson Marrs carries the ball for the Indians on Friday night against Cassville.


Ethan Fritchey hands off to Jaxson Graham on Friday night. Seneca beat Cassville 27-0 to get back above .500.

PREP VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: Carthage and CHC earn wins, while Joplin and Seneca fall; Darnell surpasses 1000 career assists


CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage picked up a Central Ozark Conference win over Neosho on Tuesday night, as the Tigers topped the Wildcats 25-17, 25-13, 25-5.

Carthage improved to 15-11-1.

Sydnee Dudolski slammed 17 kills and had seven digs to lead the Tigers, while Abby Holderbaum added eight kills.

Mia Camarillo added five kills and Sophie Shannon had four. 

Raven Probert handed out 23 assists from the setter position, while defensive specialist Olivia Bourgault had 24 digs. 

Probert added seven digs and four aces, while Grace Pickering had six digs. 

Carthage is at Willard on Thursday. 

Neosho (6-16-5) travels to Branson on Thursday.



OZARK, Mo. — Joplin came out on the wrong end of a five-set thriller 20-25, 25-17, 25-9, 21-25 and 15-9 against Ozark on Tuesday in Central Ozark Conference action.

With the loss, the Eagles fall to 11-8-1 overall and 1-3 in conference play.

Allie Lawrence led Joplin with nine kills, two aces, six digs and a block, while Bailey Owens and Angelina Schramm each finished with eight kills. Schramm added five aces, two digs and a block, while Owens finished with three block assists and two digs. Paisley Parker had 27 digs, while Kaya Cooper had 19 assists and nine digs.

Joplin is at Republic on Thursday.


VERONA, Mo. — College Heights earned its third win a row with a 25-8, 25-13 and 25-9 sweep of Verona on Tuesday in Ozark 7 Conference action.

The Cougars improved to 12-5-1 and 2-1 in conference play.

Addie Lawrence had 15 kills and two blocks to lead CHC, while Lauren Ukena had eight kills, nine digs, 13 service points and six aces. Maddy Colin had 27 assists and 14 service points, while Ava Masena had 10 digs and 17 points in service. Marley Woodford had two blocks and 12 service points, while Lindsay Griesemer had six kills.

College Heights hosts McAuley Catholic on Thursday.



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Second-ranked Springfield Catholic earned a 25-16, 25-16 and 25-22 sweep of Seneca on Tuesday.

With the loss, Seneca’s record falls to 10-22-2, 2-1 in conference play.

In the loss, Rylee Darnell made history for Seneca after recording her 1,000th career assist at the varsity level. Darnell finished with 23 assists, 11 digs, an ace and a block kill. 

Jera Jameson had nine kills, two block kills and an ace. Parker Long had six kills and eight digs, while Brylee Sage finished with six kills and three aces. Braxton Raulston had eight digs for the Indians.

Seneca hosts Monett on Thursday.

Seneca’s Brylee Darnell is celebrated for surpassing 1000 career assists for the Indians on Tuesday night. Contributed photo.


PREP VOLLEYBALL: Seneca falls to Aurora in three sets

SENECA, Mo. — Aurora earned a 25-22, 26-24 and 27-25 win over Seneca on Thursday night.

The loss gives the Indians a 5-4 record on the season.

Rylee Darnell and Brylee Sage combined for 28 assists for the Indians, while Darnell added nine kills, two aces and a block. Ellie Barnes added four kills, two blocks and three block assists. Parker Long finished with eight kills, 20 digs, two aces and two block assists. Braxton Raulston added six kills, 16 digs and three aces, while Jera Jameson finished with 12 digs and six aces.

Seneca is in action in the Strafford Tournament on Saturday.


PREP SOFTBALL: Joplin’s bats propel Eagles past Seneca 9-2

After finishing third place in the Branson Lady Pirate Invitational over the weekend, Joplin kept the momentum rolling into Monday after scoring runs in four of its six innings en route to a 9-2 win over Seneca in non-conference action at the JHS Athletic Complex.

After manufacturing a run in the second inning to take the early lead, the Eagles (11-10) cemented the momentum with a three-run third frame. Joplin added an insurance run in the fourth before hanging four more runs on the scoreboard in the sixth to seal the win.

“We went into the weekend and played some good teams in the Branson tournament and found a way to get three wins, and we probably could have had more,” Joplin coach Manny Flores said. “These girls are playing good softball right now, and all it comes down to is not hanging your head when something bad happens to you. We have been able to battle through that the last week and a half.

“We took those three wins and carried it over into today. We barreled a lot of balls today and we were able to put up nine. She hit her spots early, but we were able to make the adjustment in the middle innings.” 

Jill McDaniel earned the complete-game win for Joplin in the circle. She surrendered two runs, one earned, on six hits, a walk and nine strikeouts in seven innings.

Callie Rhoades took the loss after allowing nine runs on 13 hits, two walks and three strikeouts in the six innings.

The Eagles opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning despite not registering a hit. Madisyn Tracy walked to lead off the frame before moving to second on a wild pitch. In the next at-bat, Izzy Yust reached on a fielder’s indifference on a grounder to short before Abby Lowery reached on a Seneca fielding error to load the bases. Riley Kelly followed with an RBI groundout to give Joplin a 1-0 advantage.

The Eagles separated themselves in the next inning when Liz Snider started the scoring off with a one-out solo home run to center to push the lead to 2-0. After a single by Jadyn Pankow and a double by Madisyn Tracy, Lowery came through with a two-strike, two-out single to right-center field to double the lead at 4-0.

“I think that was a huge confidence boost for her right there,” Flores said. “She was down in the count 0-2  … and you can see her growth in confidence with two strikes now. She did a good job of not doing too much and just barreling a ball up. That is huge for her moving forward.”

McDaniel doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth before Hope Oakley came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning as a courtesy runner.

Seneca (6-9) got on the board with an unearned run in the top of the fifth after Aliyah Grotjohn scored on a Joplin throwing error to make the score 5-1.

The Eagles put the game out of reach in the sixth inning. Bailey Ledford doubled down the left-field line with one out before an error on the Seneca left fielder allowed Ledford to advance all the way to home for a run. Two batters later, Pankow doubled home a run on a line drive to center field before Tracy followed with a second straight RBI double, this time to right-center, to put Joplin on top 8-1. Yust picked up an RBI on a groundout to wrap the scoring.

“In this game, you have to be able to do that,” Flores said about his team’s ability to add insurance late. “It doesn’t matter who you are playing. Seneca is a good team over there and if we don’t tack on, there is an inning that could snowball on us and they could have taken the lead on us. Anytime you are playing, you can’t sit on a lead because opposing teams will capitalize on that.”

Kahli Fields cut Seneca’s deficit to seven with an RBI double in the top of the seventh to wrap the scoring for the Indians.

Snider finished a double shy of the cycle, hitting a homer, triple and single to go along with one RBI and a run scored. 

“She had an incredible day, and not just at the plate but behind it too,” Flores said of his catcher. “When she is on and healthy, she can drive the ball just like she did today. She doesn’t try to do too much. Her home run was a ball right up the middle and she hit another ball off the top of the wall in left-center. She is seeing the ball well and her timing is on.” 

Tracy doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in one, while Pankow doubled and finished with two hits to go along with two runs scored and one RBI. Lowery and Yust each had two hits and combined for three RBI.

Fields doubled, had two hits and one RBI to lead Seneca at the plate.

Joplin gets back to Central Ozark Conference play on Tuesday with a road matchup against Ozark, while Seneca travels to Marshfield on Tuesday.

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Seneca earns three-set win over College Heights

Seneca moved above .500 on the season after earning a 25-23, 25-14 and 25-19 sweep of College Heights on Thursday.

The Indians improved their record to 4-3 with the win, while the Cougars fell to 3-3.

Parker Long finished with 12 kills, 11 digs, two blocks and three aces to lead Seneca, while Ellie Barnes had eight kills, eight digs and two aces. Jera Jameson had six kills, six aces, nine digs and a block, while Braxton Raulston had six kills and three aces. Rylee Darnell had seven digs, two aces and a block, and Tatum White had two kills. Brylee Sage and Darnell also combined for 28 total assists.

Leading the way for College Heights was Addie Lawrence, who finished with 15 kills. Ava Mesena had 17 digs, while Maddy Colin had 21 assists and 10 points in serve. Lauren Ukena had 11 service points, while Marley Woodford added nine.

Seneca is at McDonald County on Tuesday, while College Heights takes part in a tournament at Lamar on Saturday. 

PREP FOOTBALL: Seneca runs over Logan-Rogersville to improve to 2-0

ROGERSVILLE, Mo. — Seneca Indians head coach Cody Hillburn took his hometown squad to visit Logan-Rogersville on Friday night.

Hillburn, in his first year leading his tribe, led the Indians to a 35-21 victory over the Wildcats. 

Logan-Rogersville struck quickly to start the game. Senior quarterback JJ O’Neal led an impressive 9-play, 65-yard drive that he capped off with a 24-yard touchdown run around the right side. The drive lasted just over three minutes. 

“We told our kids we had to weather the storm,” Hillburn said. “We told them to stay in the fight so we can grind it out in the second half.” 

Both teams traded fumbles on the next two drives. On Seneca’s first offensive play after the fumble recovery, sophomore Jackson Marrs broke off a long 43-yard run to get the momentum started. Eight plays later, it was Marrs getting the Indians on the board with a 21-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter. 

“That’s our kids playing hard,” Hillburn said of the forced fumble. “We were sprinting all over the field and got a couple hats to the football. It was a huge play in the game.” 

The two teams both had excellent defensive series as they traded punts heading into the second quarter. It was clear that the Indians’ defensive game plan was to contain O’Neal. 

“He’s such an electric player,” Hillburn said. “We knew when he was fresh it would be tough to stop him.”

O’Neal had been mostly contained on the ground but was able to lead Logan-Rogersville to a touchdown the following drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior Cody Rasmussen. The Wildcats led 14-7 with 6:30 left in the second quarter.  

Seneca kept grinding and it was Marrs again who answered back. The Indians ran for 48 yards on nine plays culminating in a Marrs 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Indians trailing 14-13 at halftime. 

“We didn’t make many adjustments,” Hillburn said. “We reaffirmed our game plan. Marrs and (Jaxson) Graham feed off each other. It is such a luxury for us to have two kids back there that we’re extremely confident with.”

Seneca’s first drive of the second half was stalled by a facemask penalty which led to a punt. It didn’t take long though for the Indians to get the pigskin back as senior Jaxson Graham picked off an O’Neal pass over the middle of the field. Graham returned the interception to the Logan-Rogersville 25-yard line. Three plays later, Graham found paydirt with a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 21-14 lead with 5:17 left in the third quarter. 

“It worked the exact same way in week one. We were down at halftime and our guys didn’t panic. They came out and finished the game,” Hillburn said of his team’s second half start. “I came in at halftime and the demeanor of our kids was that we were up two scores even though we were down. They came out ready to play in the second half.”

Seneca’s defense held again the following drive and let Graham go back to work. Four plays into the Indians’ next drive, Graham took off for a 81 yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. The touchdown gave the Indians a 27-14 lead headed into the fourth quarter. 

The two score lead forced Logan-Rogersville to abandon the run. Seneca’s defense was ready as Logan-Rogersville attempted five straight pass plays but ultimately had to punt. 

“Any time you can make a team one dimensional you’ve got a better chance,” Hillburn explained. “That quarterback they have is so athletic. You think you have him corralled and then he makes kids miss and makes a big play.”

Senior quarterback Ethan Fritchey added a three-yard touchdown run of his own with just under seven minutes left to seal the game for the Indians. 

With the victory, Seneca moves to 2-0 on the season. The Indians are already just one win shy of matching their win total from last year’s campaign. Hillburn, who is returning to his alma mater after 10 years in Carthage, emphasized that his team must be ready to keep grinding. 

“It’s the Big 8 and every week is going to be tough,” Hillburn said. “We have to go back Monday and be ready to go.”

Graham finished the game with 13 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns while Marrs carried the ball 26 times for 126 and two touchdowns. 

In Week 3, Seneca will host Hollister (1-1) while Logan-Rogersville (0-2) will travel to Aurora (1-1).

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Seneca suffers first loss

REEDS SPRING, Mo. — Seneca fell in three sets (25-12, 25-21 and 25-23) to Reeds Spring on Thursday. 

The loss was the first of the season for the Indians, who sit with a 1-1 record.

Braxton Raulston led Seneca with eight kills, 13 digs and four aces, while Parker Long had six kills and 11 digs. Rylee Darnell had five kills, eight digs and an ace. Ellie Barnes finished with five kills and seven digs, while Jera Jameson and Tatum White each had four kills. Jameson also had 12 digs.

Seneca is in action next against Mount Vernon on Tuesday.

PREP SOFTBALL: Early runs send Carthage past Seneca

SENECA, Mo. — Carthage built a 4-0 lead early on the way to an 8-2 victory over Seneca on Tuesday.

The Tigers (2-4) and Indians (0-1) were scoreless after the first inning before Carthage pushed across a run in the second and three more in the third. Carthage added a run in the fifth to build a 5-0 lead before Seneca rallied with two runs in the last of the fifth to cut the lead to 5-2. The Tigers plated two insurance runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to pull away to the win.

Jensyn Elder earned the win in the circle after allowing two unearned runs on four hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

Hunter Beard took the loss after allowing eight runs, seven earned, on 16 hits, a walk and one strikeout in seven innings.

The Tigers’ first run of the game came on an RBI groundout from Ashlyn Brust to score Presley Probert, who singled to lead off the inning.

Natalie Rodriguez singled to center to score Landry Cochran in the third inning to push the lead to 2-0. Probert plated two runs later in the inning with a line drive base hit to right to make the score 4-0.

Rodriguez added an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth, with a second run coming in on a Seneca error later in the frame.

Probert led the Tigers at the plate with four hits, two RBI and three runs scored, while Cochran had three hits, including a double, and scored twice. Rodriguez had two hits, drove in two and scored a run. Brust and Jordyn Jones also had two hits each.

Carthage takes part in the Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Invitational hosted by Joplin this weekend.

VOLLEYBALL: Seneca comes from behind, tops Neosho 

The Seneca High School volleyball team defeated Neosho 3-1 (15-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-23) on Tuesday.

Seneca’s Rylee Darnell compiled 26 digs, 11 kills and four aces, while Braxton Raulston had 11 kills and two aces.

Also for the Indians, Parker Long had 23 digs to go with five kills, Ellie Barnes had 19 digs and four kills, while Jera Jameson contributed 17 digs and six kills.

Tatum White added five kills, while Brylee Sage served four aces. Seneca coach Rachel Ayo noted that setters Darnell and Sage combined for 42 assists in the match.

Seneca (1-0) is at Reeds Spring on Thursday. Neosho (0-1) hosts East Newton on Thursday. 

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Hilburn takes over alma mater, ready to lead Seneca

Seneca football has a new look heading into the 2021 season, as Cody Hilburn has taken over the program of his alma mater after spending the last 10 years with Carthage football.

“It’s different when you get to come home,” Hilburn said. “That is where my kids go to school, they always have, but it’s special getting to come home and coach where you graduated from.”

“Anytime there is a change, it adds to the excitement,” Hilburn added about his team’s readiness for the upcoming season. “Also, add the excitement of the new field turf almost being done, and the community is on fire right now. We are ready to get going.”

Hilburn is taking over for former coach Ryan McFarland, who is now the offensive coordinator for Webb City. Hilburn, working under head coach Jon Guidie, was a part of plenty of successful teams while with the Tigers, including the school’s first ever state title run in 2019. That experience on the sidelines, including the successes of helping to build a program will go a long way for Hilburn as he takes over the Indians’ program.

“I loved my time at Carthage, and I told Coach Guidie there is really only one job I would consider leaving Carthage for and it happened to be the Seneca job,” Hilburn said. “We did some great things at Carthage. They have a great program. Because I was there for so long, I got to see what championship football looked like, and that is kind of the model (we want to use here).”

Highlighting the list of returners for the Indians include senior Ethan Fritchey (QB), senior Jaxson Graham (RB, all-Big 8), senior RB/LB Dane Napier (all-Big 8 LB), senior OL/DL Tanner Nesvold, senior OL/DL Brock Hultman, senior OL/DL David Cooper, junior OL/DL Chris Alexander, senior TE/LB Gabe Commons and junior WR Conner Ackerson.

“Those are some guys who have done a good job of leading this football team all summer,” Hilburn said. “I count on them in the locker room and to make some plays this fall.”

Additional players who figure to make an impact at the varsity level include junior RB/LB Lincoln Renfro, junior RB/LB Dominick Wheeler and junior TE/DB Jordan Allen.

Hilburn plans to run an offense similar to what Carthage runs, a two-back spread with multiple looks. The focus, though, will be making sure the offense is built around the Seneca players and not forcing the players into the wrong fit.

“I think we have some good kids who are committed and bought in to be playing our best football by Week 10,” Hilburn said of the mindset of his team leading into the season. “I think we are going to continue to grow each and every week. We have a ton of inexperience, so we are still trying to get kids in the correct spot and figure out what their roles will be.”

Seneca opens the season at home against Marshfield at 7 p.m. on Friday. 

“All we preach to our kids is to get better every day,” Hilburn said. “Let’s get better by at least one percent every single day and see where we are at by the end of the year.”

PREP BASEBALL: Seneca tops Nevada for district crown, advances to Class 4 sectional


The Nevada Tigers had beaten the Seneca Indians twice during the regular season. 

With the season on the line, the Indians won the third and most important matchup. 

Seneca defeated Nevada 10-1 in the championship game of the Class 4 District 12 tournament on Wednesday night at Joe Becker Stadium.

The Indians (16-11) advanced to the sectional round of the state tournament, where they’ll meet either Aurora or Hollister on May 25.

The Indians led 4-1 when they added four runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh for the final margin.

Seneca had 11 hits. Lucas Marrs went 3-for-5 with four RBI, while Sebastian Middick, Titus Atkins and Lincoln Renfro had two hits apiece.

Lance Stephens was the winning pitcher. He limited the Tigers to one run on four hits and struck out four.

Nevada’s Case Sanderson allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out six.

Lane Wilson and Eli Cheaney pitched in relief.

Recording one hit apiece for the Tigers were Sanderson, Elijah Nadurata, Lane Wilson and Drake Ketterman. 

Nevada finished the season with a 19-7 record.