Guy Ellis

The Grove Ridgerunner basketball team began their 2009 NEO Tournament Thursday with a 68-35 loss to the Springfield Central (MO) Bulldogs (16-2) at the NEO Student Activity Center.

Grove (3-7) will regroup to take on Riverview Christian (MO) Friday in an 8 PM showdown at the NEO Field House.

Riverview will be making their second appearance in the NEO event this season. Last year the private school won their round robin bracket, including a 55-23 win over the Ridgerunners.

The Eagles downed Miami (7-4) Thursday night 65-46 to open their tournament account.

Riverview carries a 15-4 record into tonight’s contest and has seen tournament play in three different states this year with a fourth out of state trip scheduled for later in the season.

The team is led by the towering, 6’6” Simniok twins, Teddy (#12) and Nathan (#21.) Both players are considered Division I prospects.

Against the Bulldogs Thursday senior Reid Harding led the Ridgerunner scorers with seven. Sophomore Chase Hilton made his varsity debut after missing the first part of the season with a foot injury; the 6’9” center scored six. Sophomore Buck Maples led the Grove rebounders with eight.

The Bulldogs utilized a smorgasbord of players and only two, Johnny Gray with 11 and Thomas Chadwick with 10, broke into double digits.