Hamilton trailed Trenton by 25 at half, then won by nine in Class 3. Meadville didn't lead until fourth quarter, but topped Brunswick by 10 in Class 1. Braymer, Northwestern boys, Hale-Bosworth, Norborne girls also reach Missouri district-tourney finals

Things didn’t look good for two of the C-T-area’s 20-wins-plus high school boys’ basketball teams in the second halves of their respective district-tournament semifinal games Thursday night.
In Class 3 District 16 play at Lathrop, Hamilton stared up from a 42-17 chasm Trenton had created between them in the first half, a margin which still stood at 56-48 after a 31-points third period by the Hornets.
At Norborne, in Class 1 District 12 action, Meadville had been even more lethargic offensively in the first half and, despite limiting Brunswick to one second-quarter point, still was down 15-12 at intermission. When Brunswick regained its scoring ability some in the third quarter, it generally maintained a 2-possessions lead before heading to the fourth period ahead of the No. 1 seed 25-22.
However, among the reasons teams with season-long success had that is they know how to elevate their game when the chips are down. Both Hamilton’s Hornets and Meadville’s Eagles demonstrated that knowledge in “crunch time” Friday.
Having floored it in the third frame, Hamilton kept the “pedal to the metal” in the fourth and roared past stunned Trenton to not only win, but win by nine, 72-63. A 24-7 fourth period completed a shocking 55-21 second-half advantage for coach Rick Ross’ crew after the 42-17 first-half quagmire they’d sunk into.
Meadville’s comeback obviously wasn’t as dramatic, but nevertheless reflected its championship mettle.
The Eagles tied their game quickly in the fourth quarter with a Jordan Schmitz trey from the left corner. Then, after Brunswick’s promising, 6’7” stringbean sophomore post player Reece Winn gave the Wildcats back the lead by two, Meadville ran off 13 consecutive points and ended up prevailing by 10, 45-35.
Both comebacks send the respective victors into championship games on Saturday.
Second-seeded Hamilton (22-5) will take on top seed Maryville, which easily disposed of St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond 64-34 Thursday. That title game at Lathop will be at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
No. 1 seed Meadville (22-4) will play a fourth game against second seed Mendon: Northwestern (24-2) at Norborne at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. High-flying Northwestern sailed into the title game Thursday with a 70-47 rout of Keytesville, which NHS led 25-5 after one period.
Meadville claimed the first two battles of Eagles, but Northwestern won in overtime on the MHS court in the most-recent clash.
Also Thursday, in the district at Norborne, the top-seeded host Lady Pirates fended off Meadville 47-39 and second seed Hale-Bosworth’s girls outlasted No. 3 Tina-Avalon 48-45.
Carroll-Livingston Activity Association (CLAA) regular-season and tournament champion Norborne (22-2) and Hale-Bosworth (20-7) will meet for only the second time this season. Defending district champ NHS took the first meeting 64-42 on Dec. 13.
In the boys’ semifinals of the Class 1 District 13 Tournament at Orrick Thursday, Braymer (20-5) marched into the championship game with a 57-37 triumph over Hardin-Central after top-seeded Winston, ranked No. 1 in the state by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, crushed Southwest Livingston 67-34.
(B) #2 Braymer 57, Hardin-Central 37
(B) #1 Winston 67, Southwest Livingston 34
ORRICK, Mo. — Braymer’s Bobcats overwhelmed Hardin-Central inside and out in the first period, getting eight points inside from 6’6” Austin Hall and 3-pointers from Ryan Atherton (two) and Jordan Miller, as well as converting on all four of their free throws.
Ahead 21-12 after one frame as senior guard Ryan Layman kept the Bulldogs (16-10) afloat with nine tallies, Braymer (20-5) firmed up its defense the rest of the half and got another eight markers from Hall to expand its lead to a commanding 38-18 at the break.
Unlike Hamilton’s boys, Hardin-Central couldn’t muster a post-intermission turnaround, although it did manage a draw over the final 16 minutes.
Hall finished with a game-high 25 points and Miller had 13. Layman topped HCHS with 24.
Winston overpowered Southwest Livingston with its efficiency and diversity. Jacob Lewis had 10 of his game-high 19 points by the end of the opening period. Older brother Craig tacked on 13, draining three triples, and Cy Uthe chipped in 12 more.
Southwest Livingston (8-16), with senior Brady Bothwell playing his last game as a Wildcat, had nine from him and 21 plus seven rebounds from freshman standout Mack Anderson.
Braymer and Winston, who had a state-tournament sectional-round dandy at Liberty North High two years ago – a game C. Lewis won with a last-seconds pull-up jumper from the right elbow of the lane after the Bobcats led most of the way, will square off for this year’s district championship Saturday at 1 p.m.
(B) #1 Meadville 47, Brunswick 37
(G) #2 Hale-Bosworth 48, Tina-Avalon 45
(B) #2 Mendon: Northwestern 70, Keytesville 47
(G) #1 Norborne 47, Meadville 39
NORBORNE, Mo. — Meadville’s boys cut it much closer than their coach and fans would have liked, but delivered what they had to when they had to.
After spotting Brunswick the first nine points of the night, the Eagles (22-4) quickly got back on close terms with three Ryan Young baskets. However, the Wildcats, led by senior guard Montez Hughes, countered with the last five tallies of the opening frame for a 14-6 lead.
Although MHS only matched that first-period output in the second, it was within three, 15-12, at intermission as it held Brunswick without a second-stanza basket. However, a 10-10 standoff in the third segment left Meadville – still having never led in the game – down by three entering the last segment of regulation play.
That gap was quickly erased when Jordan Schmitz tickled the twine from the left corner a dozen seconds into the fourth period, but, almost as quickly, BHS big man Reece Winn netted a close-range shot less than a half-minute later to give Brunswick back the lead by two.
Dillon Seckington’s only basket of the game knotted the score with six minutes remaining and reserve Parker Burton slipped inside to score 35 seconds later for the first Eagles lead of the game. They’d not need another.
By the time Brunswick scored again, it trailed 40-27 and only a couple of minutes remained.
Young finished with a game-high 20 points, MHS’ only double-digits scorer. For Brunswick, Hughes popped in 16 and 6’6” sophomore Winn 11.
Hale-Bosworth’s girls missed sharing the CLAA regular-season championship with Norborne by one game when it lost its last conference outing and then as defeated in the quarterfinals of the league tournament and had to settle for consolation hardware.
Thursday night, they played strongly in the first half to build a 7-points halftime lead over Tina-Avalon, then hung on gamely in the last half.
Bailey Stephens’ 11 first-half tallies and Trinity Harris’ eight gave the Lady Cardinals the cushion they’d barely keep in place. With Stephens scoring seven of her side’s nine points in the third quarter, Hale-Bosworth nursed a 38-33 lead into the fourth.
In the last stanza, Tina-Avalon closed within two on Lilly Churan’s right-side triple before, separated by only two points, both sides failed to score on several consecutive possessions.
When the famine finally eased, it was the Lady Cardinals finding the food source first.
A Devin Grossman basket made it a 4-points lead, but Khloey Forst halved the margin. Harris then reached double digits with a deuce and, when Grossman hit from short range with 2:40 on the fourth-quarter clock, Hale-Bosworth was up six.
Jayden Lucas’ putback cut it to four and, after Hale-Bosworth made only one of two free throws, T-A freshman Kennadie Crowe once again got the Lady Dragons one shot from catching up with a 2-points basket with 1:20 remaining.
With a minute left, Hale-Bosworth sophomore Hayes Heussner was fouled and calmly stepped to the line and nailed two attempts for a 47-42 lead.
After Tina-Avalon failed to score, it tried to play defensively for creating a steal, rather than purposely fouling quickly. The ploy backfired as Hale-Bosworth handled the ball without miscue until only 13 seconds remained, when the Lady Dragons finally fouled Jentry Copple.
After she made the first free throw for a 6-points lead, T-A surprisingly used its last timeout, preventing it from being able to stop the clock when, following a missed second shot by Copple, it hurried up the floor and Crowe fired home a 3-pointer that cut the lead to three with six seconds still on the clock.
Instead of being able to freeze the clock there and try to create a turnover or foul quickly on the ensuing in-bounds play on their own offensive end, the Lady Dragons could do nothing as Hale-Bosworth held the ball out of bounds until only a couple of seconds were left, then got it into play to kill the remaining time.
Although scoreless in the last quarter, Stephens finished as the game’s top scorer with 18 points, supported by Harris’ 10. With lots of defensive focus on her, Grossman was limited to eight, but half of those came in the last stanza.
For T-A (18-8), its strong turnaround season ended with frosh Crowe netting 17 ponts and seniors Churan and Lucas with 12 and 10, respectively.
Norborne’s girls likely could have won by a significantly-wider margin than nine points as they savaged Meadville’s Lady Eagles (12-15) whenever they pressed. However, after grabbing a handle on the game with a press-turnovers-fueled 17-5 first quarter, the Lady Pirates used it only sporadically the rest of the way.
Meadville, to its credit, kept itself on the fringe of contention with some good shooting from mid- and long-range, but never made a serious challenge to the NHS lead.
Lady Pirates guard Madison Brown, most valuable player of the recent CLAA Tournament, scored 19 points via several fast-break layups and three trifectas. Katie Wood, another senior, tacked on 14 tallies.
Meadville’s fine senior, Reagin Klein, also had three treys, but only one other bucket, as she netted a team-high 11 points. Brooke Crosser added 10, hitting twice beyond the arc.
Thursday evening’s only game at Norborne that wasn’t even remotely close saw Northwestern’s boys use their high-paced, full-court approach to blitz Keytesville 25-5 in the first quarter and then lead 53-18 at the half.
Coach Mike Kahn’s Eagles, winners of 21 of their last 22, had 15 points from Garrett Johnson, 14 by Lucas McCollum, 11 from Wade Adams, 10 by Jaden Humphrey, and eight by its other starter, Kade Marnin. In a highly-unusual occurrence for his career, senior star Johnson did not hit a 3-pointer.
Keytesville had excellent scoring balance, just not enough productivity. Of its eight players, seven scored and all had between five and nine markers. Reserve Tanner Neidholdt led the way with nine.
(B) #2 Hamilton 72, Trenton 63
(B) #1 Maryville 64, St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond 34
LATHROP, Mo. — Having defeated Trenton three times previously – once by five points and then by 10 each of the last two meetings, the most recent of which was only a week ago, Hamilton might have been overconfident early.
When Trenton scored and scored and scored some more in the first 16 minutes, while the Hornets were struggling to do so, it looked like the Bulldogs would have the last laugh, but it wasn’t to be.
The Hornets scored the first 11 points of the second half and another push late in the third period had them within eight going to the final frame of the regulation game.
No overtime would be needed as Hamilton’s momentum continued unabated. Barely two minutes into the fourth quarter – only 10 minutes into the second half, all of Trenton’s 25-points margin had disappeared. Over the final 5-plus minutes, the Hornets would not be as devastatingly explosive scoring the ball, but nevertheless would pull out into a multi-possessions lead and eventually secure a 9-points triumph.
Jaran Richman finished with 25 points and LaTroy Harper 18 after that dynamic duo had been held to a combined three in the first half. Hamilton’s Cale Whitt chipped in 12.
For THS (18-9), Spencer Harris hit six of nine 3-points tries and all four of his free throws as he totaled a game-high 28 points. He also grabbed seven rebound, according to team statistics. Connor Cotton added 15 points and eight boards, Lathan Croy three triples and 12 points, and Corbyn Guile six assists.