Tina-Avalon girls, Mendon: Northwestern boys advance to championship semifinals of 2020 tourney Feb. 10, along with Southwest Livingston boys and Brunswick girls. Tri-County girls win HDC tourney opener
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
TINA, Mo. — The 2020 Carroll-Livingston Activity Association had its first quarterfinal-round games in two years Monday (Feb. 10) as conference officials hope for an uninterrupted run of play on the heels of last year’s weather-conquered event.
After the league tourney’s play-in games last Saturday produced the anticipated results, Monday’s action saw two lower seeds – including the 2-times defending boys’ champions – prevail.
First, the host Tina-Avalon Lady Dragons continued their recent upswing with a 53-37 dispatching of third seed Mendon: Northwestern, the fifth-seeded Northwestern boys nipped No. 4 seed Brunswick 52-50. Southwest Livingston’s teams then split the night’s final two games, the Wildcats pulling away in the second half to win 61-38 and the Lady Wildcats just missing their own 4-vs.-5 upset with a 41-40 loss to Brunswick.
(G) Tina-Avalon 53, Mendon: Northwestern 37
Four schools provided the eight teams involved in Monday’s quarterfinals play in the CLAA tourney and each school ended the night with one team moving on to Thursday’s championship semifinals.
Half of the games – and nearly three – were claimed by the lower seed, beginning with the host Lady Dragons’ solid, start to finish, 16-points conquest of Northwestern.
That the T-A girls (8-10) prevailed might have gone against the seedings (based on the teams’ regular-season records in league play), but it dovetailed with the teams’ recent fortunes. With Monday’s decision, the Lady Dragons are 6-4 since Jan. 6 under first-year head coach Trent Moore, while NHS’ Lady Eagles (11-8) are 4-6 in the same span.
Tina-Avalon scored steadily in each half, netting 11 points in each of the first two stanzas, then 15 and 16, respectively after intermission. It led 22-13 at the half before both sides turned up their attacks.
Samantha Rounkles’ 16 points for T-A led all scorers, supplemented by 13 from Haley Rucker and 12 from Kadie Rounkles. Northwestern’s top player, Georgeanne Zahner, was limited to a team-best 13 points.
Tina-Avalon’s girls will face either second-seeded Hardin-Central or Breckenridge in Thursday’s 7 p.m. championship semifinal.
(B) Mendon: Northwestern 52, Brunswick 50
Despite a so-so season, a mid-pack finish in the league in the regular season, and the absence for the rest of the season of their most-productive and experienced player, Northwestern’s Eagles (10-9) let it be known they don’t intend to relinquish the CLAA tourney crowns they claimed in 2017 and ’18 – last year’s tournament was cancelled after two days of play, due to repeated weather-forced postponements.
Bursting from the starting blocks, the Eagles zipped to a 15-4 lead over their southern neighbors in western Chariton County. Brunswick’s slumping Wildcats (12-8) had a strong retort, getting within 19-17 by halftime and then edging in front 40-39 going to the final period.
Down the stretch, the lead was swapped several times before a Silas Brown basket and, later, a free throw provided the points that proved to be decisive.
Brown finished with 19 points, sharing game scoring honors with BHS’ Kobe Tatum. Isaac Zahner added 17 for the Mendon-based team, while J.T. Collier had 13 and Amari Glasgow 11 for the Wildcats, beaten now in four of their last five outings.
With their win Monday, NHS’ Eagles get a crack at top seed Keytesville or Norborne in Thursday’s 5:45 p.m. championship semifinal.
(G) Brunswick 41, Southwest Livingston 40
Southwest Livingston’s girls came very, very close to making it three underdogs taking a bite out of Monday’s favorites and sending Brunswick and its fans home empty-handed, but didn’t close the deal.
After coming alive on offense in the third quarter to match their first-half output and gain a 30-27 lead, SLHS’ Lady Wildcats (7-11) actually doubled Brunswick’s field-goal output in the closing segment, but that proved to be only a 2-1 proposition with Southwest hitting a pair of deuces and Brunswick’s Lady Wildcats a trey.
Most of the last stanza was spent shooting free throws and when BHS made 11 of its – it also missed nine, including one with less than 10 seconds left that gave Southwest a final, unfulfilled chance to pull out the win, it had just enough to advance to the winners’ side of the tourney bracket. Southwest Livingston’s free-throw percentage in the last quarter was far, far better – in fact, nearly perfect as it made six of seven, but it didn’t have the necessary quantity.
Makenna Campbell’s 18 points for Southwest Livingston led all scorers, but Brunswick got 16 each from Abby Dobbins and Addi Riley. Matney Waters chipped in 10 to the SLHS cause.
Brunswick’s girls likely will have to oppose regular-season CLAA champion Norborne in Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. championship semifinal.
(B) Southwest Livingston 61, Tina-Avalon 38
Southwest Livingston’s boys didn’t have their shooting clothes on, allowing the host boys to stay in contention through a half. However, after going to the locker room in front only 24-19, the Wildcats (13-5) scored 37 second-half points, while T-A only matched its first-half number.
Wildcats ace Mack Anderson finished with 23 points, despite missing a number of shots from eight feet in. He did throw down a couple of transition dunks in the first half, including a driving 2-hander.
Close on his scoring heels was SLHS junior point guard Chase Neptune with 19 points.
T-A’s Dragons (5-12) had Owen Bell ring up 12 tallies and freshman guard Kylier Sturgeon 11.
Southwest’s boys will oppose either No. 2 seed Hale/Bosworth or Hardin-Central in Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. finale.
HARRISON-DAVIESS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
(G) Jamesport: Tri-County 58, Gilman City 22
Tri-County's third-seeded Lady Mustangs (13-8) easily captured their first of two pool-play games as Bailee Hoover, who fired in seven treys in the previous Thursday's win over Winston, connected four times outside the arc on her way to a game-high 19 points.
Teammate Anissa Williams provided another 10 points, while Jolee Ward scored seven to lead Gilman City.
TCHS' girls will take on No. 2 seed Mercer in its other pool game Thursday at 6:30 p.m.