Keytesville, Polo split 2020 debuts late last week

As post-New Year’s Day action began for area high school basketball squads late last week, a battle between two area schools produced a sweep by host Jamesport: Tri-County Friday (Jan. 3), while two other schools generated splits against non-conference, non-area foes.
Tri-County bested Tina-Avalon in a pair of 3-points games at Jamesport while Keytesville was claiming its boys’ action at Higbee. On Thursday, Polo’s girls topped Lathrop to climb back to within a game of .500.
(G) Jamesport: Tri-County 43, Tina-Avalon 40
(B) Jamesport: Tri-County 49, Tina-Avalon 46
JAMESPORT, Mo.  — The Mustangs posted a second-straight triumph and only their third of the season in completing last Friday’s non-conference sweep.
No specifics on the boys’ game were reported by either coach in time for this story.
Destiny Gutshall’s 12 points, 11 by Bailee Hoover, and eight by Lexi Wyant paced the Lady Mustangs’ close victory.
Samantha Rounkles of Tina-Avalon led all scorers with 13 points, followed by Haley Rucker with 11 and Morgan Brockmeier with eight.
“It was a nice win for us,” reflected Jeremy Slaughter, Tri-County girls’ coach. “We showed a lot of character, battling through some injuries and illness.
“We had two girls out that normally play a lot of minutes for us. We had two girls step up for us who usually do not get a lot of (playing) time.”
The host Lady Mustangs upped their record to 6-4, while the Lady Dragons dipped to 2-5. TCHS’ boys improved to 3-7 and T-A’s guys sank to 1-6.
Tina-Avalon is slated to visit Carroll-Livingston Activity Association (CLAA) foe Keytesville Tuesday night (Jan. 7).
Tri-County’s schedule has it in Harrison-Daviess Conference road contests at Gilman City Tuesday (Jan. 7).
(G) Higbee 69, Keytesville 47   (B) Keytesville 65, Higbee 41
HIGBEE, Mo. — After a profitable 2019 segment of their season, Keytesville’s boys commenced 2020 on the right foot last Friday, claiming their seventh triumph of the season in nine tries with a non-league romp.
Austin McKinstry popped in a game-best 24 points for the guest Tigers (7-2), but senior Evan Craig had the monster game with 24 rebounds and 20 points, according to KHS coach Michael Draper.
Keytesville’s girls (0-8) remain in search of win No. 1 this season after absorbing a 22-points putdown by Higbee’s Lady Tigers last Friday. No details on the game were reported in time for this story.
Keytesville slides back into CLAA play tonight at Hardin-Central, making up a Dec. 17 postponement, before hosting Tina-Avalon Tuesday.
If the Tigers sweep those two games, as well as Thursday action against winless Breckenridge, as they would be anticipated to do, based on the opponents’ showings thus far this winter, it would set up a possible league-championship showdown with current CLAA leader Southwest Livingston on the KHS court next week.
(G) Polo 47, Lathrop 42  (B) Lathrop 72, Polo 27
LATHROP, Mo. — With excellent defense throughout the first half, the visiting Lady Panthers (4-5) built enough of a lead to snap a 3-games losing streak with a non-conference triumph on the road last Thursday.
After holding Lathrop to a deuce and a free throw in the first quarter, the PHS girls used offensive diversity and excellent free-throw shooting to open double-digits daylight by halftime.
Ahead only 7-3 after the opening frame, the Lady Panthers had scoring contributions from five source in the second stanza and sank all five foul shots they were awarded. Combined with continued stingy defense, that left them in front 21-9 at intermission.
Lathrop sorted out its offensive issues in the locker room and doubled its first-half points total in the third quarter alone, pouring in 18 points to close to within 31-27 going to the last eight minutes of regulation time. However, despite continuing their scoring surge, the Lady Mules could not surmount that deficit, in no small part because Polo continued to prosper at the charity stripe.
While not perfect, as it was in the second quarter, nor nearly so, after hitting eight of nine attempts before halftime, Polo made half of its 24 second-half tries, keeping Lathrop at bay.
Mary Copeland’s 16 points topped the PHS attack with Kelly Baldon adding 11 and reserve Alayna Chapman and Haley Aubrey eight each. Lathrop was led by 13 points each from Skye Uthe and Jose Wright.
The Panthers (2-7) sustained a fifth-straight defeat, being reversed by the Mules. No details on the boys’ game were reported in time for this story.
Next for Polo’s cagers is due to be non-conference home against against Orrick Thursday. The next night, in Grand River Conference-East play, they’ll go to Gallatin before entering next week’s Osborn Tournament.