BHS Bobcats surprise Winston by 12 in District 13. In District 12, Meadville boys top Mendon: Northwestern a third time after Norborne girls survive Hale-Bosworth upset attempt with free throw with 2.7 seconds left
Three C-T-area high school basketball teams – Braymer’s and Meadville’s boys’ and Norborne’s girls’, familiar state-participant names all – on Saturday joined Friday girls’ qualifier Southwest Livingston in Missouri’s 2016-17 Class 1 state tournaments.
The big news was the Braymer Bobcats’ 55-43 District 13 title-game triumph over the Winston Redbirds, state runnersup two years ago after barely nipping Braymer in the first round of state play, state quarterfinalists last year, and, despite graduation of a 2-times All-State player, highly-ranked in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s rankings nearly all of this season and No. 1 in that poll for the past month or so.
Meeting Mendon: Northwestern in a fourth clash of those area Eagles this year, Meadville grabbed its third triumph of the series – the only three setbacks Northwestern had all year – by a 57-52 count in the District 12 championship contest.
The 2015 state-champion Meadville boys’ win followed District 12 host Norborne’s narrow upset escape in the girls’ title tilt.
After falling behind by 13 points in the first quarter, Hale-Bosworth kept narrowing the gap, bit by bit, until, with 25 seconds left, reserve Taylor McCumber’s 3-pointer tied the game at 44-all.
The host Lady Pirates, using two timeouts along the way, ran the clock down to inside five seconds before senior guard Hannah Mansur drew a foul as she drove to the baseline with 2.7 seconds remaining. Her first of two attempts missed, but the second was on target and, out of timeouts, Hale-Bosworth’s desperation attempt from about midcourt at the buzzer missed, sending Norborne, via a 45-44 barnburner, on to the state tourney for a fourth time in the last five years.
Meadville (23-5) and in-county rival Linn County will meet in the Chillicothe High School gym Tuesday at 6 p.m., followed at about 7:45 by the Norborne (23-2) girls and Green City.
Now 21-5, Braymer’s advancement to Tuesday’s unusual 3 p.m. state-tourney sectional-round tilt at Civic Arena in St. Joseph will find it facing Worth County (21-7).
Stifling Winston throughout the first half as they took a 23-12 lead to the locker room, Braymer’s Bobcats kept the Redbirds at a distance most of the rest of the way. Up 34-26 going to the fourth quarter, Braymer had a 10-points advantage just inside two minutes remaining when Winston made its last-gasp bid at a miracle rally.
In less than a minute, it outscored BHS 8-3 to draw within five, but never scored again. In the final 70 seconds, Keaton O’Dell went four of six at the foul line and Austin Hall two for two before Jordan Miller set the final score with an anticlimactic deuce.
Hitting three treys, Miller led the Bobcats with 17 points. O’Dell netted 13 and fellow guard Gabe Rogers 10.
Winston’s Cy Uthe scored 13 and Jacob Lewis 12, but All-State guard Craig Lewis was limited to nine.
Edged in overtime by the Mendon-based squad in the championship game of MHS’ own tournament around the end of January, Meadville trailed by small margins much of the opening half, but turned a razor-thin 23-22 intermission deficit into a razor-thin 38-37 advantage after three periods.
In the fourth, Meadville’s defense – which held Northwestern far under its normal scoring level – kept its high-octane foe out of the fast lane enough that making 14 of 22 free throws, a deuce, and a trey allowed it to win by a handful.
The latest Meadville district title was gained, in addition to its strong defensive effort, by Ryan Young’s 21 points, Dillon Seckington’s 14, and Jase Cowan’s 10. Cowan had had a tough shooting night in the prior loss to Northwestern, but redeemed himself when the bigger stakes were on the table.
For Northwestern (24-3), sophomore guard Wade Adams scored 16 – seven in the last stanza, senior star Garrett Johnson 15, and Jaden Humphrey, another sophomore, 14.
Norborne’s Lady Pirates, as happened in Thursday’s semifinals against Meadville, seemed to have Hale-Bosworth ready for an early knockout, racing to an 18-5 lead with their three-quarters-court 2-2-1 press causing multiple Lady Cardinals miscues and some quick-transition points for NHS.
However, just as on Thursday, when the foe wasn’t turning the ball over, Norborne had defensive difficulties in the half-court and ended up in serious foul trouble.
Whereas Meadville never really managed to master the press-break whenever the Lady Pirates reapplied it at times later in the game, Hale-Bosworth generally protected the ball better once it got its approach to the press down and Norborne couldn’t afford to keep the press on full-time, because of its fouls situation. That allowed the Lady Cardinals to, first, get back within striking distance, then stay there while continuing to nibble away at the deficit.
Norborne’s margin dipped all the way to two in the third quarter at 26-24, but a good finish to the frame had the Lady Pirates again up by eight, 34-26, as the fourth stanza started.
However, behind Bailey Stephens’ eight points, including two triples, third-year head coach Brett Case’s Lady Cardinals mounted another charge. When sophomore Jentry Copple sank two free throws with just under two minutes to go, it was a 1-point game, 39-38.
With fellow starters Emma Thoeni and Nelle Finley having fouled out, Norborne standout junior floor general Madison Brown then stepped up, driving to score in transition and then, off a steal, getting another layup to push the gap to five.
Stephens’ second triple of the quarter brought her team back within two before Brown made one of two free throws. Then, after working to try to set up a potential tying 3-point, the Lady Cardinals had McCumber’s attempt miss. However, top Lady Cardinal Devin Grossman attacked the glass and ripped the rebound away from a Lady Pirate. Quickly feeding the ball back to McCumber, the reserve launched again from beyond the arc. This time, her aim was spot on and, with 24-plus seconds on the clock, the game was back where it started – tied, this time at 44 apiece.
That set up Mansur to be the heroine.
Statistically, Brown led the repeat district champs with 14 points, eight of which came in the last quarter. Mansur’s game-winner left her with 12 for the contest. For Hale-Bosworth (20-8), Grossman closed her fine career with a 14-points performance. Sophomore Stephens added 12 and classmate Trinity Harris eight.