Missouri high school basketball district tournaments underway

Regular season for smaller schools ended Friday with a few games, including Meadville Lady Eagles' hot-handed, 87-55 rout of La Plata to gain a share of the Tri-County Conference championship

As reported to C-T
  • Meadville freshman Korrie Holcer hit eight of 10 3-points shots to lead Friday's conference win
  • Southwest Livingston boys' district win Saturday was their fifth in five days

The scattershot-site high school basketball postseason in Missouri began Saturday with C-T-area teams involved in five Class 1, 2 or 3 district tournaments.

That followed Friday’s conclusion of the topsy-turvy 2020-21 regular-season schedule convoluted by COVID-19 issues much of the way and uncooperative weather the last couple of weeks.

To minimize exposures and possible spread of the novel coronavirus, the Missouri State High School Activities Association, which organizes and conducts postseason competition with the intent of crowning boys’ and girls’ state champions in – for the first time this year – six classifications decentralized all postseason play except for the state semifinals and finals. Those will take place at Missouri State University in Springfield again, but until then most games will be played on the home floor of one of the competing teams with girls’ and boys’ games on alternating nights.

District tournaments were given the option of having both the girls’ and boys’ title games on a single night, but few seem to be doing so. One exception is a district which includes multiple area schools. Class 1 District 13’s championship games are to happen at “host” Norborne next Friday.

Here are details from Saturday’s district openers for area squads, followed by a recap of some regular-season finales from Thursday and Friday.

DISTRICT GAMES

(B) Southwest Livingston 59, Breckenridge 20

LUDLOW —

With neither side’s court technically meeting MSHSAA’s minimum guidelines for spatial dimensions, but Breckenridge waiving its right to force the Class 1 District 13 game to be relocated to what would have been a neutral floor, the near-certain blowout occurred in the Southwest Livingston gym.

The Wildcats (16-4), playing for a fifth night in a row, still crushed the winless BHS co-ed unit, setting up a Tuesday 6 p.m. game with sixth seed Alma: Santa Fe, upset winner over Hardin-Central Saturday. That game will shift to Alma, due to Southwest Livingston’s court being a bit short of state requirements for hosting a postseason game.

With ailing Chase Neptune held out to keep him available for later rounds, the WIldcats brutalized Breckenridge early with big, burly Remington Woodcock. The 6’6” junior scored 14 first-period points on his way to a game-high 18. Fellow big man Morgan Anderson and Hunter Woodcock posted 10 points each.

The Bulldogs received eight points from Jayden Lewis.

(G) Meadville 81, Keytesville 16

MEADVILLE — The victorious Lady Eagles (21-3), the C-T coverage area’s only 20-wins team to date in 2020-21, could have phoned this one in, qualifying for another Class 1 District 12 tournament home contest Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Brunswick.

No details on the game had been reported yet at the time of this story’s initial posting.

(G) Jamesport: Tri-County 57, East Harrison 29

JAMESPORT — The second-seeded hosts romped in their Class 1 District 14 opener, earning a Tuesday 6 p.m. semifinals home rematch with the North Harrison team it narrowly defeated on the TCHS court in the semifinals of the Harrison-Daviess Conference tourney a couple of weeks back.

Carly Turner’s 18 points and Destiny Gutshall’s 17 powered the Lady Mustangs (11-7), who hope to get a third crack at top seed Mercer in the championship game next Thursday. Lexi Wyant chipped in another nine to the victory.

A 20-5 first quarter in which a half-dozen Tri-County players scored put the home team firmly in charge.

(G) Linn County 54, Gilman City/North Daviess 45

PURDIN — Also in Class 1 District 14, a huge individual performance extended the host’s season and assured a winning final record for LCHS.

After a tight opening stanza, Linn County’s Lady Mustangs (9-7) outscored Gilman City/North Daviess 17-10 in the second to establish most of the margin by which they eventually won.

Powering the fourth seed’s victory was Morgan Livingston, who rang up 32 points while being almost unstoppable anywhere on  the offensive end.

She knocked down four 3-pointers, sank five deuces, and was 10 of 13 at the foul line. With her team looking to protect the 8-points lead it owned after the second and third quarters, Livingston netted three 2-points baskets and cashed in seven of 10 free-throw tries.

Joining her in double digits in scoring was Martia Brosdahl with 15 points. Only one other Lady Mustang – Alyssa Bukovac – scored.

Linn County’s girls will try to take down No. 1 seed Mercer Tuesday at Mercer. The favorite had a quarterfinals bye.(G) Brunswick 47, Hale/Bosworth 24

BRUNSWICK — In Class 1 District 12, a pair of Carroll-Livingston Activity Association teams squared off and produced the anticipated result, even with the third-seeded winners being minus their best player.

BHS’ Lady Wildcats (8-11) had Hale/Bosworth doubled, 20-10, at halftime, then rocketed away with a 20-3 third quarter to advance to a Tuesday 6 p.m. road clash with No. 2 seed Meadville.

In Addi Riley’s absence, Brunswick was paced by Harleigh Lewis’ 14 points. Emily Worman’s seven topped the co-op Lady Cardinals (1-19).

(G) Mendon: Northwestern 35, Macon County R-4/Bucklin 31

MENDON — The host Lady Eagles (5-13) extended their season into another week with a squeaker.

No details were reported prior to the posting of this article.

The triumph puts Northwestern’s girls in against top seed Tina-Avalon in the Class 1 District 12 semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. T-A, which will host that game, had a quarterfinals bye.

(B) Plattsburg 47, Polo 20

PLATTSBURG — Class 2 District 15 boys’ action went easily to third-seeded Plattsburg when it prevented Polo’s Panthers (4-21) from scoring from the field in the first quarter and held them to only two baskets and four points in the opening half.

Dylan Blystone’s six points led Polo in its season finale.

“Defensively, we played pretty well, but missed layups, free throws and, again, had too many turnovers,” Panthers coach Morgan Dickson commented.

(B) Alma: Santa Fe 55, Hardin-Central 43

HARDIN — Anybody’s game entering the final period tilted decidedly the way of the No. 6 seed Chiefs, who led only 38-34 going to the fourth frame.

The Class 1 District 13 contest saw HCHS’ Bulldogs (6-13) get a game-best 23 points from Mason Freece.

Santa Fe becomes the semifinals opponent for second seed Southwest Livingston, a game the Chiefs will host even as the lower seed. That is because the SLHS court is slightly too short to meet MSHSAA postseason specifications and, according to Southwest head coach Julie Bothwell, both Santa Fe and Hardin-Central had indicated they would not waive that requirement and allow the Wildcats to host, something Breckenridge (which has an even-smaller court) agreed to.

FRIDAY

(G) Meadville 87, La Plata 55

(B) Meadville 58, La Plata 39

MEADVILLE — A girls’ game which Meadville needed to share the Tri-County Conference championship with its foe and which La Plata could close out an undisputed, undefeated league crown with proved spectacularly one-sided and successful for the hosts, due to their long-range marksmanship.

Lady Eagles freshman Korrie Holcer sizzled the nets eight times in 10 tries from outside the 3-points arc, while senior sister Kiera was on target there half the time in eight attempts and senior Krysta Meyers sank four of nine trey tries.

Overall, Meadville’s girls (20-3, 7-1 conf.) connected on 16 3-pointers (43%) and hit 56% from the field altogether  – they made 13 of 15 inside the arc – as they completed their comeback to a share of the TCC crown after dropping their conference opener to Atlanta.

Adding a deuce and 2-of-2 free-throw shooting, Ko. Holcer finished with a game-high 28 points, two more than her sister, who hit eight of nine at the foul line.

Also in double digits for the victors were Kr. Meyers with 16 and Mallory Dennis with 13, according to statistics posted online by MHS coach Drew Nier.

With all of those baskets raining down, the Lady Eagles surprisingly only accumulated 16 assists. Dennis and Ki. Holcer led with five apiece.

Meadville raced to a 50-26 halftime lead, but La Plata’s post-intermission improvement limited use of the “running clock,” leading to MHS’ approaching the 90-points plateau rarely reached any more, especially in girls’ basketball.

Friday’s boys’ contest seemed almost tame by comparison, even with the Eagles (17-4, 6-2 conf.) soaring to a 25-8 lead after one period.

Senior Trey Gannan hit 12 of the 16 shots he took from the floor and was four of four from the foul line as he scored a game-best 30 points. Conner Fletcher provided 10.

The Meadville-La Plata action was postponed three times before finally happening on the final night of the regular season.

(G) Braymer 56, Southwest Livingston 45

(B) Southwest Livingston 80, Braymer 30

BRAYMER — With Braymer having not begun its 2020-21 play until January, due to rampant COVID-19 in the southeastern Caldwell County community in late November and early December, its eastern neighbor acceded to an appeal for Braymer to get one more game squeezed into its abbreviated first campaign as a member of the CLAA, even though it meant a fourth-straight night of action for both Southwest squads and BHS’ Lady ’Cats (7-4, 4-1 conf..

The girls’ game saw the home team seemingly assert control with a 23-10 second quarter which gave it a 34-16 halftime lead. Seven Lady ’Cats contributed scoring during that segment.

However, the Lady Wildcats (11-8, 5-2) snarled right back in the third quarter. Behind strong defense and senior guard Lily Webb’s eight points, Southwest Livingston cut its deficit to 38-30 entering the last segment of regulation play.

By the time the fourth quarter was a couple of minutes old, Bothwell reported, her team was back within five points before Braymer finally regained its equilibrium. The last frame might have been even more interesting if not for SLHS’ 3-of-9 free-throw shooting.

Scoring-wise in the girls’ contest, Braymer forward Dallas Hall’s 17 points topped everyone. Raylee Hawkins chipped in 13, Hallie Russell 10, and Kennedy Stone nine – all of hers in the first half.

Southwest’s Lady Wildcats had 12 by Webb and nine by Allee Hein. Matney Waters was in twin digits in rebounding with 10 and Webb made four steals, according to stats shared by Bothwell.

Belying their ultra-busy schedule, SLHS’ boys (15-4, 7-0) completed their undefeated regular-season CLAA play one night after belatedly winning the conference tournament title.

Before the “running clock” rule took effect and reserves took over, the Wildcats racked up by-quarter points totals of 21, 32, and 23 to own a gargantuan 76-25 advantage.

Bothwell – further test-driving a new player-rotation approach after seeing some real rewards from a “big” lineup late in the prior evening’s tournament-title game – started both 6’6” junior Remington Woodcock and 6’3” senior Morgan Anderson alongside the usual guards trio of seniors Patrick Warren, Chase Neptune, and Wesley Hughes.

At game’s end, R. Woodcock had put up a game-high 19 points, CLAA tourney most valuable player pick Warren 18, and We. Hughes 15. R. Woodcock and Warren accounted for 19 of the team’s 21 first-period points. We. Hughes doubled-doubled and just missed a triple-double, grabbing a team-most 11 rebounds and handing out nine assists.

Braymer’s Bobcats (2-9, 1-5 conf.) got eight points from Carson Brame.

THURSDAY

(G) Hamilton: Penney 37, Trenton 22

(B) Hamilton: Penney 69, Trenton 43 

HAMILTON — A non-conference home sweep saw the Hornets (5-15) have perhaps their best night of the season, scoring 20 points in each of the first two periods to bury the Bulldogs early.

Andrew Rich scored 15 first-half points and Jared Potts 13 to pace the onslaught. Rich finished with 21 tallies and Potts 19. Tossing in 13 more was Stephen Henry.

Trenton had 20 from Chase Otto and 14 by Brycin Johns-Loyd.

Hamilton’s girls (10-14) couldn’t breathe easy until they held the Lady Bulldogs to five points in the final quarter, allowing them to expand on the 25-17 margin they had after three.

Brighton Swindler’s 15 points and 10 by Somers Finch led the PHS victory. No one for Trenton had more than six points.

(G) Polo 48, Lathrop 40

(B) Lathrop 60, Polo 42

POLO — The Lady Panthers (18-5) preserved their prospects for a 20-wins season with a well-balanced offensive showing against their western neighbors.

Hanna Vaught scored a team-best 14 points, Chloe Gilbert had 12, and Haley Aubrey 11 as the hosts prevailed in what was a close contest most of the way.

The Panthers (4-20) made things interesting for a half, trailing only 27-24 midway through, but a 21-points third period for the Mules spelled PHS’ demise.

Trent Raby had 15 points, Killian Roark nine, and Cody Blackwell eight in one of the Polo boys’ best balanced-scoring performances of the season.