David Reeder

After 24 games spanning 6 days, the 11th Annual Tri-State Basketball Classic came to a conclusion Saturday night at Bulldog Arena. And when the day and the week were completed the McDonald County boys and girls had garnered a 1st and 3rd place trophy, respectfully, while the Glenpool boys took home 3rd place honors and the Kansas Lady Comets hauled in another championship.

The 1st game of ’Championship Saturday’ saw the hostess Jay Lady Bulldogs take on McDonald County. In the opening stanza, a quartet of Lady Bulldogs teamed up to score 9, only to have the Lady Mustang’s Jaimee Shields put in 7 of her team’s baker’s dozen. Trailing by 4, Jay picked up 3-pointers from Talisa Budder, Megan Ritter and Sam Robertson to go with a pair of Ashley Shrum free throws, outscoring the Lady Yellowjackets 11-10 in the 2nd. Following the break, McDonald County took control of the boards and consequently, the ball game. With a dozen tallies in the 3rd, the Lady Mustangs held Jay to 4 of 13 from the field and only 9 points, to extend their lead to 6. In the 4th, the Lady Bulldogs went through an offensive doldrums that proved to be their undoing. With their opponents doubling them up on rebounds, Jay’s offense suffered through a 1 of 13 shooting effort, that saw them score on only a Lauren Wilson trey and a Kaiti Wheeler free throw. The McDonald County offense, though not overwhelming, went 2 for 7 on field goal tries and a perfect 4 of 4 free throws to hold off Jay 43-33. After a dreadful 5 point 1st period, the Glenpool Warriors overcame a 6 point halftime deficit and outscored Westville 33 to 24 in the second half to claim the 3rd place trophy, 51-48. In the first of the evening’s marquee matchups, the 11-1 Kansas girls tangled with a very solid Neosho squad. And the better part of the 1st half belonged to the Lady Wildcats. Turning the ball over 10 times ( 7 in the first 3 minutes), the Lady Comets found themselves in an early 0-9 hole. Neosho’s Melanie White scored 7 to go with 6 from teammate Kaitlin Vlasin, for most of the ’Cats’ 1st quarter 19 points. But thanks to their complete dominance on the boards and 6 of Kortni Kendrick’s game high 20, Kansas managed to stay within striking distance at the end of the frame, 19-11. The Lady Comets continued to struggle with turnovers on offense, but held Neosho to 3 of 8 from the floor, for just 9 points. And by the conclusion of the 1st half, Kansas had put in a dozen, to trail by five, 28-23. The Lady Wildcats started the 2nd half the way that Kansas has started the first. The Lady Comets converted 3 Neosho turnovers into 3 baskets to take the lead for the first time on the night, 29-28. And for the remainder of the 3rd, Kansas held the ‘Cats to just a pair of 3-pointers and a free throw. But 6 more turnovers limited the Kansas ladies to 11 and allowed Neosho to retake the lead, 35-34 to start the 4th. But anchored by 7 Kelsey Barnwell points and 4 by Brooke Panther, Kansas put together their best offensive quarter of the game. After allowing Neosho to take the lead 40-39 at the 3:38 mark of the 4th, the Lady Comets regained the lead and never looked back. Going on an 11-3 run down the stretch, Kansas held off the feisty Missouri team, to take home the championship hardware, 52-40. In the boys’ championship final the Jay Bulldogs were able to stay close to a very good McDonald County team for most of the game. In the 1st frame the ’Dogs held the Mustang scoring machine, Tyler Shaver to 5 points. And with 4 each from Chance Tuder and Josh Ramsey the homestanding Jay squad finished out the quarter trailing 15-11. And in the ensuing stanza, McDonald County dominated the boards by a 14-6 margin and held the Bulldogs scoreless until the 2:31 mark. But, with 5 of Brandon Edge’s team high 12 and 3 each from Jeremiah Daugherty and Tuder, Jay eventually got 13 more on the scoreboard. Despite an anemic 2 of 14 from the floor, the Mustangs knocked down 12 of 18 free throw attempts to take a 7 point lead into the break. After the intermission, 6 Bulldogs got a bucket apiece, but; the Mustang’s Shaver poured in all but 2 of his team’s 3rd period 14 points. Leading by 9, with just a quarter to play, McDonald County got just 7 attempts from the floor. And led by 7 more points from Shaver, the Mustangs connected on 3 of them. With those 3 field goals added to their 11 of 15 free throws, McDonald County put up their best scoring period of the game with 17. And even though the Bulldogs answered with their best scoring period of the night as well, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Mustangs as they fell by a 62-50 final score.