(Updated with Wednesday results, impact Wed., Dec. 4, at 11 p.m.) Independence team, which defeated CHS 43-34 in last year's Savannah Invitational Tournament title game, advanced to this year's semifinals vs. Chillicothe with easy win Tuesday
SAVANNAH, Mo. — Last year’s Savannah Invitational high school basketball tournament girls’ championship-game combatants will square off in the tourney again this year, but this time in the semifinals.
In the wake of Chillicothe’s 56-49 victory over Smithville in CHS’ first-round game Monday, defending tournament champion Independence: William Chrisman handily bested Savannah 56-36 Tuesday (Dec. 3, 2019) in those squads’ opening-round clash.
The result is a Chillicothe-Chrisman rematch clash Thursday (Dec. 5) at 8:30 p.m. with a berth in Saturday’s championship contest in the balance. Thursday’s loser will move to Friday’s 7:30 p.m. third-place game.
With three returning junior starters – guards Gia Moore and Amanda Szopinski and 6’ center/forward Jacque David, Chrisman (2-0) probably rated as the pre-tourney favorite to repeat its title. Szopinski scored a team-high 10 points, Jac. David nine, and Moore four against Chillicothe last year.
CHS (2-0), with much-less height and experience this season, is playing a different, faster-paced, full-court game this year. Lady Hornets senior guard Jordan Hibner hit four 3-pointers for 12 points to keep Chillicothe in last year’s game, but no other player who’ll be in the CHS red-and-black Thursday tallied more than three points on that occasion.
In William Chrisman’s victory over Savannah Tuesday, Ja. David scored a game-high 13 points, while Moore and 5’10” freshman reserve forward Mele Talua each netted 11. The Lady Bears actually trailed that game 8-4 after one quarter before taking control with a 15-6 second stanza.
In a result Wednesday that could be taken as a hopeful sign for the Chillicothe girls' prospects against William Chrisman, the team CHS defeated in the opening round – Smithville – ran away from the club Chrisman defeated – Savannah – by a hefty 63-29 margin in their consolation-semifinals clash.
Tuesday’s other action in the Savannah tournament saw Platte County’s boys – Thursday’s 4 p.m. opponent for Chillicothe – thrash Savannah 60-36 in their pool-division contest. Savannah bested Chillicothe 46-41 on Monday in pool play.
PCHS’ Pirates received 14 points apiece from 5’11” guard Jaden Barnett and 6’5” Joey Schultz, eight from 6’3” Dylan Minshall, and seven off the bench from 6’3” Dylan Montes. Savannah again was led in scoring by Blayne Nelson, who had 14.
In the bracketed portion of the boys’ division, St. Joseph: Benton turned back Smithville 68-60 behind Chol Ater’s 26 points. Smithville got 17 from Dakota Brown and 15 from Paxton Payne.
Smithville then lost to Kansas City: Hogan Prep 75-64 in the consolation semifinals Wednesday, so Smithville would be Chillicothe's opponent Friday night in the consolation game, if CHS either loses Thursday or finishes last in the tiebreaker which would sort out the pool standings if the Hornets defeat Platte County.
If Chillicothe wins Thursday and emerges from the tiebreaker as the pool champion, it would play Thursday's Maryville-St. Joseph: Benton winner for the title Saturday. If CHS places second in the pool tiebreaker, it would oppose Hogan Prep for third place on Saturday.
In the girls’ pool Tuesday, Maryville handed Benton its second loss of the tourney 44-27 as MHS junior star Serena Sundell sank 24 points and new starter Rylee Vierthaler added 13. Maryville and Kansas City: Staley will match up Thursday, right before the Chillicothe-William Chrisman contest, to see which qualifies for Saturday’s championship game and which plays for third on Friday.