In make-up home showdown with Hale/Bosworth Wednesday (Feb. 19, 2020), Wildcats – with big boost from overlooked Oesch – again come from behind in fourth quarter to win, 75-67. Southwest nets co-championship with Keytesville
LUDLOW, Mo. — Keytesville’s 2019-20 Carroll-Livingston Activity Association boys’ basketball regular-season title partner is, at long last, Southwest Livingston.
Largely repeating on Wednesday night (Feb. 19) – except this time with more offense – the contours of their meeting the previous Friday in the championship semifinals of the CLAA Tournament, Hale/Bosworth’s Cardinals seemed on the verge of taking control of their clash in the third quarter after a strong second period, only to see SLHS’ Wildcats – powered by 6’6” senior All-Stater Mack Anderson– dominate down the stretch and post a 75-67 home-court triumph.
With the victory in a game twice postponed since mid-January, Southwest earned half of the CLAA crown with a 7-1 league record. The other half had long since been secured by Keytesville, which finished its league slate a couple of weeks ago. Keytesville handed the Wildcats, who last Saturday won the league tournament title, their CLAA loss, but had lost their conference-season opener to Brunswick back in early December.
Had Hale/Bosworth (16-7, 6-2 conf.) hung on to win at Ludlow Wednesday, it would have split the conference title with Keytesville.
Southwest Livingston (17-5), which rallied in the last period to prevail 44-41 in last week’s slower-paced tourney duel with the Cardinals, needed a comeback in Wednesday night's faster-paced game and delivered it in front of the home crowd.
Hale/Bosworth heated up in the second quarter after having an 11-9 deficit after one stanza, outscoring Southwest 24-16 to take a 33-27 lead to intermission.
The third quarter didn't settle anything, but, at one point, the visitors had the Wildcats on the ropes with a 10-points lead. However, thanks – according to SLHS head coach Dana Hansen – to the performance of unheralded Wildcats guard Owen Oesch, who hit four 3-pointers and finished the game with a career-best 16 points, Southwest stayed within striking distance, down 54-48 after three periods. Oesch struck twice from downtown in the third quarter and had at least five points in each of the last three segments.
The Wildcats then exploded in the fourth after a Mack Anderson steal and dunk, Hansen relates. That helped shift momentum to the home boys and, with point guard Chase Neptune firing in 14 points on three deuces, a trey and 5-of-6 free-throw shooting, they outscored Hale/Bosworth 27-13 in the last eight minutes to win by eight.
Oesch's unexpected offensive explosion provided invaluable scoring production depth to the Wildcats’ “usual suspects.” Thanks to his fast finish, Neptune led the victors with 25 points, followed closely by Ma. Anderson’s 23, eight of which came in the final frame.
Senior guard Ty Berger of the Cardinals took game scoring honors with 26 points and fellow backcourter Colton Harris popped in 22. That tandem collaborated for 10 treys, six by Berger. However, Hale/Bosworth didn’t come up with that third double-digits scoring source Oesch supplied for the hosts, which proved decisive.
In Wednesday’s girls’ game, Hale/Bosworth (6-15, 2-6 conf.) capitalized on icy Southwest shooting to snare a 39-33 victory.
The teams combined for only two first-quarter baskets and five in the first half, which ended with the hosts on top 8-7.
Both sides’ offenses started to perk up a bit in the third quarter as Southwest Livingston headed to the fourth frame in front 18-16.
That trend blossomed in the last quarter, especially for the Lady Cardinals’ outside shooting.
Already modestly her team’s leading scorer through 24 minutes with seven points, Hale/Bosworth’s Kortney Nelson nailed three shots from outside the arc, while Averi Norris netted three deuces and a pair of free throws.
Altogether, after having 16 points in the first three segments, the visitors pumped in a whopping 23 in the fourth to win by six points.
Nelson ended the night with 16 points. Norris tacked on 10.
Southwest Livingston’s Lady Wildcats (8-14, 4-4 conf.) had a game-best 18 markers from Matney Waters, including three triples, but only one other scorer with more than three points.
Southwest Livingston next will begin district-tournament play in the Class 1 District 13 event at Norborne Saturday.
The top-seeded Wildcats will take on winless Breckenridge in a quarterfinals game at about 2:45 p.m. Saturday, right after the Lady Wildcats meet third seed Braymer at around 1:30.
Hale/Bosworth, meanwhile, heads to Winston Thursday (Feb. 20) for its regular-season finale before entering the Class 1 District 12 tournament at nearby Meadville.
There, the Cardinals are seeded second to the host Eagles and will begin play at about 7 p.m. next Tuesday, facing Linn County in the quarterfinals. The Hale/Bosworth girls open district play next Monday at 7 p.m. against No. 2 seed Meadville.