Six area high school basketball teams earned the right to play for area high school basketball tournament titles with victories Thursday night.
Advancing to championship-game action Saturday night at Braymer's invitational were the Southwest Livingston girls and boys and Braymer girls and boys, while Hamilton's girls will go for the gold at the Lawson Invitational against the host team and Linn County's boys will square off with top-seeded Mercer in the tourney at Milan.
Coming up short of playing for crowns were the Polo boys and girls, each of which lost to the top seeds in the Bill Burns Classic at Lathrop.
(G) Southwest Livingston 70, Chillicothe JV 28
(B) Braymer 63, Chillicothe JV 26
(B) SW Livingston 50, Lawrence, Kan.: Veritas Christian School 37
(G) Braymer 58, Lawrence, Kan.: Veritas Christian School 29
BRAYMER — Two-time defending girls' champion Southwest Livingston (7-2) crushed Chillicothe's junior-varsity girls despite making only 10 of 27 free throws.
Lady Wildcats senior All-State forward Sydnee Rounkles shredded the Chillicothe "B" team defense for 34 points in the first three quarters while generating a triple-double with 14 rebounds and 10 steals. She also had seven assists and three shot blocks, reports SLHS coach Julie Bothwell.
Also for the Lady Wildcats, sophomore guard Maritza Chavez had 16 points and six rebounds and freshman guard Haylee Johnson six points, six steals, and four assists.
For Chillicothe's "B" Lady Hornets, freshman Erin Campbell led the scoring with eight points.
Braymer's top-seeded boys (10-1) cruised past the Chillicothe jayvees after taking a 21-3 lead after one period.
All-Stater Jesse Utt led BHS with 14 points – 10 in the opening frame. Joe Webb added 12, frosh Logan O'Dell 11, and Kyle Kelly 10.
For Chillicothe's "B" boys, sophomore guard Brandon Murray scored 10 points.
Braymer's Bobcats will meet Southwest Livingston's Wildcats for the tournament title Saturday at 8:30 p.m. as a result of the Wildcats' 13-points win over Veritas Christian Academy of Lawrence, Kan.
A 17-6 third period turned the game squarely the way of the Wildcats (8-1), who handled the ball much better after intermission, which "was huge," according to coach Tyler Anderson. After losing possession 14 times in the opening half, Southwest Livingston turned it over on only four second-half occasions.
The Wildcats got a huge night from senior guard Mason Mehrhoff, who rang up 24 points – 19 after intermission. He also had three assists.
Cole Upton added 10 points, a couple had seven each, and junior Brandon Bothwell led with seven rebounds.
Braymer's girls (7-4) built a 38-15 halftime lead with a multifaceted attack and qualified to take on Southwest Livingston in Saturday's 7 p.m. championship contest.
Four Lady 'Cats finished in double digits in scoring, led by Darcey Peters' 14 points. Sadie Watson and Madison Mallory had 13 each, and Mallory Hughson 10. All four are non-seniors.
Page 2 of 2 - Chillicothe's "B" teams will play for consolation trophies today – the girls against Breckenridge at 5 p.m. and boys against Lexington's Wentworth Military Academy after that.
(G) Hamilton 46, Gallatin 27
LAWSON – The top-seeded Lady Hornets (9-2) steadily pulled away from GHS behind All-Stater Elsie Greenwood's 21 points. Three others had six to nine points as Hamilton's girls advanced to Saturday's 6:30 p.m. title game against Lawson.
(B) Linn Co. 62, Newtown-Harris 59, ot
MILAN — After blowing a lead of 29-14 after one period, the Mustangs (8-4) pulled it back together in the extra four minutes, outscoring Newtown-Harris 11-8.
Three Mustangs – Josh Allen, Ty Stillwell, and Tristen Creason – netted at least eight points in the opening stanza, led by Allen's 11 on three treys. Stillwell dialed long distance twice himself.
However, Newtown-Harris outscored LCHS by seven in each of the last two regulation preiods to erase a 14-points halftime deficit and force OT. Allen's five points in the extra four minutes provided the thrust for the Linn County win.
Stillwell finished with a team-high 20 points, Allen – who had only one between the first period and OT – netted 17 and Creason 13.
For Newtown-Harris, Micah Busick led all scorers with 26 and Adam Crawford had 19.
Linn County's boys and Mercer will tangle for the title at Milan Saturday at 8 p.m.
BILL BURNS CLASSIC
(G) Cameron 66, Polo 59
(B) East Buchanan 69, Polo 59
LATHROP – Both PHS teams fell to No. 1 seeds in competitive games.
No specifics on the girls' clash were available before press time.
In the boys' contest, East Buchanan's 23-8 second period broke open a 15-15 game after one, but PHS' Panthers (6-6) had a 36-31 advantage after intermission to keep things interesting.
Dalton Mills led Polo with 24 points and Jack Pile had 15. Brent Schultz of EBHS range up 31.
Polo's girls (10-2) will face Lathrop for third place at 8 p.m. tonight. Its boys will meet Independence: Van Horn for third at 5 p.m. Saturday.