(Final update w/ all Friday and Saturday games, upcoming schedules) Meadville girls barely fend off determined Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris in MHS event. Keytesville boys nip rival, top-seed Brunswick by two in KHS-hosted event. Norborne girls go to 16-0 with blowout

Of the eight C-T-area high school basketball teams (not including Chillicothe’s boys) with a chance to claim tournament championships last Saturday, half were successful.

With head-to-head meetings of area teams in two instances, the maximum number of clubs which could have secured crowns was six. Of the four games which involved a non-area team, area contingents split – the Norborne girls crushing Madison 61-26 at Keytesville and Meadville girls barely getting by persistent Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris 70-67.

The Meadville boys overcame a strong Hale/Bosworth start to turn aside the Cardinals 46-35 at Meadville and the hosts also won out in the boys’ championship clash at Keytesville with the Tigers nipping neighbor Brunswick 58-56.

Falling just short of first place were the Hamilton girls, defeated 51-37 by East Buchanan as EBHS freshman Gracie Kelsey powered her way to 17 points, and Jamesport: Tri-County’s girls, who fell to top-seeded Princeton 56-43 at Gilman City.

   MEADVILLE TOURNAMENT

(G 1st) Meadville 70, Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris 67

(B 1st) Meadville 46, Hale/Bosworth 37

(G 3rd) Mercer 47, Linn County 40

(B 3rd) Mercer 64, Linn County 45

(G cons.) Tina-Avalon 52, Mendon: Northwestern 45

(B cons.) Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris 62, Mendon: Northwestern 55

The girls’ championship game was a topsy-turvy affair with the squads taking turns in having dominant stretches and finishing with the host Lady Eagles (14-2) barely holding on.

Riding three treys and 11 points from senior standout guard Kiera Holcer, top-seeded Meadville zipped to a 20-12 lead after one quarter, then widened the margin to 36-23 at halftime with another productive eight minutes.

However, the third quarter saw the Lady Panthers of Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris catch fire on offense. A couple of quick 3-pointers by Aubrey Gann loosened the MHS defense and Ty Stillwell’s GCR5/N-H squad then started exploiting the paint area. By the time the Lady Panthers’ onslaught ended with the final buzzer of the third stanza, Gann had netted 12 points in the segment and the underdogs had pumped in an amazing 26 points – more than they had scored the entire first half – and not only eaten into the Meadville lead, but erased it entirely and earned a 49-47 advantage going to the fourth quarter.

However, the minute-long stoppage between segments was enough for Meadville to regroup and GCR5/N-H to cool off.

In the first minute of the fourth quarter, K. Holcer’s left baseline jumper tied things and soon the Lady Eagles not only had regained the upper hand, but held a 10-points lead with only a few minutes to go.

That was enough time, however, for the pendulum to swing back toward the Lady Panthers. With some late MHS free-throw misses leaving the door for a comeback cracked open, the Lady Panthers  got within 70-67 on Jandie Peterson’s deuce inside the final five seconds, but ran out of clock.

Finishing with a half-dozen trifectas, Holcer scored a game-high 29 points. Not far behind was inside threat Krysta Meyers with 25, who also chipped in one “3” in the last quarter. Another 12 points were provided by Maggie McLain.

Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris’ Gann rang up five triples and 21 points with Peterson providing 18 and post player Anna Milazzo 14.

The boys’ championship-game wasn’t in serious doubt late, but it was early.

Third seed Hale/Bosworth gained an 11-9 lead after one period, then widened it to 17-9 early in the second behind a pair of Jaeden Sears inside baskets and a driving deuce by Colton Harris. However, as Meadville began to answer with Dominik Gannan’s trey from the top of the key and then his driving, twisting layup after a drive from the key, hale/Bosworth’s Cardinals (11-5) saw their top offensive threat, Ty Berger, pick up his second foul on a charge and, moments later, his third on the defensive end just past the mid-point of the frame.

With him relegated to the bench for several minutes, the Cardinals’ attack went cold and Meadville posted the last 13 points of the opening half to hold a 22-17 spread.

Even though Berger came back full-time after intermission and provided three baskets and seven points in the third period, those were the only field goals Hale/Bosworth had in the stanza. When Meadville’s offense continued to percolate nicely in the rhythm it had found in the last five minutes of the first half, the top-seeded Eagles (14-2) pushed their margin out to 37-25 after three.

As it turned out, even if Meadville had not tallied once in the last eight minutes – it actually scored nine, it already had enough to win as the Cardinals never took wing enough to threaten.

D. Gannan closed the night with a game-high 18 points and Parker Burton chipped in 10. Hale/Bosworth had 15 by Berger.

The other trophy-round games of the tournament were played Friday.

Tina-Avalon’s girls (6-8) claimed consolation, leading most of the way, as tall Samantha Rounkles poured in 28 points and Haley Rucker 13. Northwestern’s Lady Eagles (11-6) had 20 from Georgeanne Zahner and 11 by Libertie Smith off the bench.

After leading much of the first three periods, Northwestern’s boys (8-9) let their game get away, despite having five double-figures scorers. Garran Johnson led with 13 markers, Isaac Zahner scored 12, Clayton Gregory 11, and Silas Brown and J.R. Buskery 10 each.

In its third-place losses, Linn County’s girls (7-6) got 14 points from Jenna Hoerrman and 11 from Jaren Lister and the Mustangs (3-9) 19 from Michael O’Kane and 13 by Cody Murrell.

Upcoming schedule-wise, Meadville is to visit Tri-County Conference (TCC) foe La Plata Friday after having gone to Tina-Avalon Monday.

T-A planned to visit neighbor Hale/Bosworth last night before hosting another CLAA foe, Hardin-Central, Friday in a make-up of action twice postponed last month.

Hale/Bosworth will follow a Monday home make-up against Brunswick and Tuesday’s home clash with T-A with games at Galt against Grundy County R-5/Newtown-Harris Thursday.

After hosting Bucklin/Macon County R-4 in TCC play last night, weather permitting, Linn County is to host Northwestern tomorrow. The Mendon-based teams were to be at Norborne last night for CLAA play.

   HAMILTON TOURNAMENT

(G 1st) East Buchanan 51, Hamilton: Penney 37

The top-seeded Lady Bulldogs utilized the size advantage 6’ freshman Gracie Kelsey gave it to pull away from the host Lady Hornets (12-3) over the last three quarters Saturday.

Kelsey, great-niece of former Hamilton football coach Dave Fairchild and his wife Judy, scored a team-high 17 points. In addition, her presence created room for Addeison Ishmael to net 16 of her own and Lilly Schilling to pop in three treys for nine points.

The overall size and talent of East Buchanan also allowed it to suffocate Hamilton star guard Nora Ford, who managed only what is likely a varsity-career-low of two points. She did not score after the first quarter. Graycen Prothero did pop in a team-high 14 points and Ali Trosper provided 10, including three triples.

Hamilton: Penney’s boys (3-10) dropped their third-place game to Gallatin 74-66 in a hard-fought battle Saturday. The Hornets actually outscored their north neighbor in three of the four periods, but a 29-14 debacle in the second stanza put them in too deep a hole to climb out of.

Ryan Cook fired in 29 points in a game-high 29 points for the Hornets with Andrew Rich adding 12 and Kevin Williams 11. Gallatin’s Bulldogs had four scorers in dual digits, topped by Issac Bird’s 20 and 17 by Aidan Adkison.

The boys’ title went to top-seed Lathrop via a big comeback. Behind East Buchanan 43-35 after three periods, the Mules outscord EBHS a whopping 23-7 down the stretch – netting 12 of 16 free throws – to win, 58-50. 

In quite the opening game of the day, Trenton’s girls outdueled Kansas City: Notre Dame de Sion 64-55 in double overtime, scoring the only nine points of the second extra frame. In the game, THS junior Maci Moore had 31 points.

Friday’s consolation action saw Braymer’s girls move to 10-5 on the year with a 45-35 triumph over Lathrop. Jasmine Taylor’s 14 points and 12 from Taylor Francis powered the Lady ’Cats’ win.

Hamilton’s boys made up a Jan. 22 snowout against East Buchanan Monday before visiting Kansas City: Hogan Prep last night, weather permitting, and welcoming Maryville tomorrow night.

Penney High’s Lady Hornets were due to host Hogan Prep last night and are to visit Lawson with the boys Friday.

Braymer’s girl and boys were to visit Albany in Grand River Conference-West action last night before making up twice-postponed GRC-West games against St. Joseph Christian this Friday. Friday will be BHS’ Courtwarming.

   KEYTESVILLE TOURNAMENT

(B 1st) Keytesville 58, Brunswick 56

(G 1st) Norborne 61, Madison 26

The Chariton County neighbors staged a championship-bout battle worthy of their long, long basketball rivalry. When it was over, the home team kept the first-place trophy for itself at the expense of Brunswick's top-seeded Wildcats (11-5).

KHS’ Tigers (13-3), who lost their Carroll-Livingston Activity Association clash to BHS back in December, trailed most of the first half as Wildcats guard J.T. Collier nailed three treys and scored 13 points. Only 14 points by Tigers senior power forward Evan Craig kept the game close.

Down 28-23 beginning the third period, Keytesville got its top scorer on the season, guard Austin McKinstry, in gear, while also significantly tightening its defense. Au. McKinstry found the target five times from 2-points range in the third quarter. pacing a 15-9 KHS push that edged it ahead 38-37 going to the fourth.

Brunswick made adjustments to corral Au. McKinstry again, but that opened the gate for Craig again, as well as Allen McKinstry. Craig hit four more baskets and Al. McKinstry two plus two free throws and Devin Neidholdt netted his second 3-ball of the last half as the Tigers rang up 20 points in the last segment.

It needed virtually all 20 as Brunswick’s Gus Kussman suddenly went off, hitting a triple and four deuces in the closing stanza to try and rally his team to victory.

Craig’s 24 points topped all scorers with Au. McKinstry’s settling for 18. Kussman topped Brunswick with 19, supported by Collier’s 16 and Kobe Tatum’s 14. Keytesville suppressed the Wildcats’ top threat, however, holding Amari Glasgow to only six markers.

Norborne’s Lady Pirates (16-0) blew out second seed Madison from the get-go, getting at least eight points from five scorers..

Leading NHS was senior forward Kennadie Crowe with 18 points, half of them from 3-points land. Sister Regan added 13 tallies, Melanie Cheney 10, and junior twin guard Kayla and Olivia Dooley eight each.

Norborne’s girls had the opportunity to clinch either an outright or shared CLAA championship Monday and last night as they hosted victory-less Keytesville and Mendon: Northwestern, in that order. Next now for NHS is a Friday non-league visit to Jamesport: Tri-County.

Keytesville’s boys were out to clinch at least a share of the CLAA boys’ crown Monday at Norborne. Slated to have hosted Glasgow last night, KHS’ teams are to host Brashear Friday.

Brunswick, whose girls captured third place at Keytesville last Friday with a 42-29 win over Higbee behind 23 Abby Dobbins points, had a CLAA boys’ title chase showdown at Hale/Bosworth Monday, making up twice-postponed action. That winner was still alive to get a piece of the championship.

After a planned visit to Higbee last night, Brunswick is to close its league play tomorrow night at home against Breckenridge, whose boys are winless.

   GILMAN CITY TOURNAMENT

(G 1st) Princeton 56, Jamesport: Tri-County 43

Tri-County’s girls fell to the top-seeded Lady Tigers, who got a game-best 22 points from Lauren Krohn.

The Lady Mustangs were led Saturday by Destiny Gutshall’s 17 points, after she had 15 in Thursday’s semifinals win over Pattonsburg. Bailee Hoover, whose 18 tallies led the semifinals win, added 15.

The defeat dropped TCHS to 11-6 on the season, going into Tuesday’s home action against struggling Southwest Livingston. If played, that was a girls/boys doubleheader.

Next for the Jamesport gangs will be a Harrison-Daviess Conference make-up game at Winston from Jan. 21.

   RICHMOND TOURNAMENT

(B 3rd) Southwest Livingston 56, St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond 56 (OT)

All-tournament team pick Ma. Anderson, held down by Richmond in last Thursday’s semifinals, came back with a vengeance against height-challenged Bishop LeBlond.

The 6’6” All-State senior scored at least five points in every segment, including the extra half-period, and totaled 34 points.

Behind four 3-pointers by Chris Guldan, the St. Joseph Catholic school team sailed to a 30-17 halftime lead. However, after BLHS’ Golden Eagles scored the opening bucket in the second half, Southwest Livingston’s Wildcats owned the rest of the quarter, out scoring Bishop LeBlond 22-4 the rest of the stanza with solid defense, unselfish offense, and Ma. Anderson.

With their big man scoring nine points and three teammates adding either three or four each, SLHS wiped out the entire 133-points halftime deficit and were in front 39-36 going to the fourth quarter.

Even with Ma. Anderson providing three more baskets and eight points, Southwest could not preserve its small lead. A pair of treys and eight tallies by Golden Eagles guard Isaac Ferguson helped create a 49-49 deadlock after 32 minutes, forcing an extra four minutes of play.

In overtime, the Wildcats scored only one basket – by Ma. Anderson, but he sank four of five free throws and Chase Neptune one, giving the Ludlow-based squad just enough to prevail.

Bishop LeBlond’s leading scorer was Guldan with 17 points, but nearly all of those came in the first half. His only post-intermission scoring was a fifth trifecta in overtime. Ferguson finished with 14.

Southwest Livingston’s boys and girls were to play at Jamesport: Tri-County last night prior to next hosting South Harrison this Friday..

   NORTH PLATTE TOURNAMENT

(G 3rd) Polo 48, North Andrew 36

PHS’ Lady Panthers (10-8) got off to a 12-5 start in the first stanza and never looked back last Friday.

Kelly Baldon’s 18 points propelled Polo to the victory, with Mary Copeland chipping in 10.

Next for the PHS squads, after making up a Jan. 21 Grand River Conference-East postponement at Trenton Monday and hosting league foe South Harrison last night, is home non-loop play tonight against Concordia.