Springfield News-Leader

Posted by Patrick Dailey on Jan 11 2002 at 04:00PM PST
Click the Link Above! February 22, 2002 Neosho knocks off Glendale; Kickapoo rolls By Joe Cress News-Leader JOPLIN — The Neosho Wildcats ruined Saturday afternoon plans for thousands of Springfield high school basketball fans Thursday night. The third-seeded Wildcats beat No. 2 Glendale 67-60 in the Class 4A District 12 boys’ semifinals, setting up a championship game matchup with top-seeded Kickapoo, a 98-49 winner over Joplin. Saturday’s 1 p.m. title game will be played at Joplin High School’s Kaminsky Gymnasium, which holds about 2,100 people. A Kickapoo-Glendale championship game would have been at Hammons Student Center, where a crowd more than three times Joplin’s capacity watched the two play last month. Neosho (22-5) led by as many as 14 points in the first half and 49-38 after three quarters, but Glendale, successfully erased the deficit, as a 13-1 run in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter gave the Falcons their first lead of the game at 51-50. Neosho didn’t flinch, though, playing the same aggressive style that got it the lead early on. The Wildcats continued to attack and regained the lead for good at 55-53 on a power move to the basket by Michael Anders. Glendale got as close as 57-56, but Neosho was 8-for-12 from the foul line in the final minute. “It all comes down to ‘Can you get a stop when you need it and can you score a basket when you have to have it?’ ” Glendale coach Steve Hesser said. “ ... (Neosho) played with more energy tonight. Our guys reached down time and time again, but we just didn’t make the plays and get the breaks at the end.” Anders, a 6-foot center, led Neosho with 16 points and eight rebounds, including several key offensive putbacks. Tyler Chaney added 14 and Travis Wilfong 13 for the Wildcats. “Give our kids credit for coming back and responding after Glendale took the lead in the fourth quarter,” Neosho coach Denny Chenoweth said. “It didn’t seem to rattle us.” Glendale senior duo of Ryan Luethy and Jason Bueker scored 48 of Glendale’s 60 points. Luethy’s 25 points included five 3s and Bueker scored 14 of his 23 in the first half. •Kickapoo 98, Joplin 49: The first five minutes of the first semifinal was a two-team offensive seminar, with the teams trading 3s and Kickapoo leading 20-17. But as the Eagles cooled off, the Chiefs just kept firing. Kickapoo closed the half with a 30-9 run that made the last two quarters a mere formality. Spencer Laurie hit six of his eight 3s and had 20 of game-high 26 in the first half. Brandon Argo scored 19 of his 23 points in the first two quarters. “Joplin was getting some good looks out of our press in the first quarter, so we went to a 1-3-1 half-court trap,” Kickapoo coach Roy Green said. “Offensively, Spencer has a history of shooting well in the first half and Brandon was getting some good looks inside.” Deven Mitchell, who scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, injured his right wrist in the third quarter, but did play a few minutes in the fourth period. Green said the extent of Mitchell’s injury wouldn’t be known until today. Feb. 12, 2002 Boys’ district here if it’s Kickapoo-Glendale By Joe Cress News-Leader If the Kickapoo High School and Glendale boys’ basketball teams end up playing for the Class 4A District 12 championship, the game will be in Springfield. That decision was announced on Monday by Joplin High School athletic director Doug Doss, after discussions with the Joplin school board. The championship game will be played at 1 p.m. Feb. 23. If top-seeded Kickapoo and No. 2 Glendale are in the finals, it will be played at Hammons Student Center. If the final is not a Kickapoo vs. Glendale affair, it will be played at Joplin High School. The girls’ district championship game will be played at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 (one hour later than originally scheduled) at Joplin, regardless of which teams are in the final. Doss pointed to the high interest in the Kickapoo-Glendale boys’ rivalry this season as the deciding factor in moving the game. The state-ranked teams played in front of a crowd of 6,458 Jan. 25 at Hammons after that game was moved from Glendale. “This will allow more fans to see the (boys’ championship) game, be it Joplin fans, Neosho fans, Carthage fans or Springfield fans,” Doss said. “We didn’t want to turn away 4,000-5,000 people who want to see the game. We wanted to do the right thing.” Joplin’s gym holds approximately 2,100 people, which Doss feels is ample for the girls’ title game. A larger arena at Missouri Southern State College in Joplin is unavailable the weekend of the district tournament. Doss said that the first four days of the original district schedule will remain intact, with first-round action Feb. 18 (girls) and Feb. 19 (boys), and semifinals Feb. 20 (girls) and Feb. 21 (boys). Feb. 8, 2002 Scott Puryear Sports columnist Officials ponder moving district finals to Hammons It will be the hottest ticket in the Ozarks, the one that gains the holder a seat at the Class 4A, District 12 basketball championship games currently scheduled for Feb. 22. If the seeds hold true, that would mean Kickapoo-Glendale III on the boys side, and a Kickapoo-Parkview girls (or perhaps, Glendale) matchup featuring some of the state’s best young talent. The question is ... where will those games be played? The answer will come today, when Joplin High School athletic director Doug Doss wades through the choices and decides on a course of action. “We want to do right by Joplin, Springfield and everybody concerned,’’ Doss said. Here’s the dilemma: The Joplin High School gym, the district’s assigned site, holds only 2,100 fans. The last Kickapoo-Glendale game boys’ game between state-ranked powers, moved to Hammons Student Center due to tremendous interest, drew nearly 6,500 fans on Jan. 25. Factor in a typical girls’ district championship crowd on top of that and do the math, and you’ll come up with the potential for a lot of unhappy folks who can’t get in to see a classic night of prep basketball. Here’s the disclaimer: If third-seeded Neosho were to knock off Glendale’s boys in the semis on Feb. 21 — a possibility, because Neosho beat the Falcons 68-65 at Glendale on Dec. 4 — we’re wasting ink. The finals would stay in Joplin because Neosho shouldn’t have to drive to Springfield for a game that was originally just a half-hour away, which is why this district annually alternates between Springfield and the Joplin-Neosho sites. But if it comes down to an all-Springfield final on both sides, here are the options Doss, the district tournament director, is considering: •Keep the tournament at Joplin High School, pre-sell tickets at the schools and see how things turn out with security and safety issues in such close quarters (not to mention outside, from the angry mob that can’t get in). •Keep the girls’ title game at JHS on Friday night and move the boys’ game to Saturday afternoon, also at JHS, with the idea being that dividing the two games would then make enough seating available. •Keep the girls’ game at JHS on Friday night and move the boys’ game to Hammons Student Center on Saturday afternoon. (Hammons isn’t available Friday night due to a Lady Bears game with Illinois State). •Move both title games to Hammons Saturday afternoon. While the last one would be ideal for Springfield fans and save some gas money, it doesn’t seem likely. Doss believes JHS could handle a girls-only crowd, and Joplin doesn’t want to lose concessions money entirely for the finals. Before you scream “what about Missouri Southern?’’ ... the Lions’ gym, which seats around 3,500, is unavailable both days due to an indoor track meet. Springfield R-12 athletic director Edsel Matthews wants at least a Kickapoo-Glendale boys’ final at Hammons because “we can control the crowd better, and I don’t think it’s a good idea having 1,500 kids driving up and down I-44 before and after the game.’’ And Matthews says the financial side should be considered, because such a move can be profitable for lots of folks. District tournaments are unique in that they have an NCAA-Tournament financial feel to them, where every participating school gets a slice of the pie, led by MSHSAA, the host school and the teams in the finals on down to those eliminated in the first round. With that in mind ... the Glendale-Kickapoo game at Hammons Center cleared more than $10,000, which went back into the Springfield Public Schools overall athletic pot after the $2,000 Hammons rental fee and other expenses were paid. That was with a paying crowd of around 3,000 fans due to the many student activity passes and freebies used. There are no student passes for district tournaments; everyone pays $3 to get in. If a boys’ district final could draw, say, 5,000 paying fans — which might be a conservative estimate, given the last matchup, the importance of this one and the reasonable $3 to get in — that’s a nice payday, much more than a game at JHS would generate. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there are too many Ozarks’ school districts that can say “no thanks ... we have too much money as it is.’’ But Doss, too, is concerned about setting a precedent that can’t be repeated. “The thing is, what if next year Carthage-Joplin or Carthage-Neosho is the big game ... are we going to be able to move it from Kickapoo or Parkview back to here?’’ he asked. “I want to make sure what we do, we can do in the future as well.’’ Becky Oakes, the MSHSAA’s executive director, said her association doesn’t like to form a habit of moving games from district sites, but adds “our biggest concerns we’ve always got in these situations are that we really don’t want to turn people away if we don’t have to, because that’s what we’re playing the games for.’’ What’s best in this case? If it’s an all-Springfield final, I don’t see any negatives with moving the boys’ final to Hammons on a Saturday. Anyone who attended the last matchup there would be hard-pressed to come up with one. After all, where else do you think you’d ever see John Q. Hammons at a high school game? Move an all-Springfield girls’ final to Hammons, too, and have the R-12 spend some of that money it made off the last Glendale-Kickapoo boys’ game there to compensate Joplin for the loss of concessions money. What matters is what Doss and his fellow JHS administrators think. Today, we’ll know. CLASS 4A BOYS Team Record 1. Kickapoo 23-1 2. Glendale 18-4 3. Waynesville 22-2 How Cress sees it: Only visiting Hillcrest (tonight) and Rolla (next Friday) stand between Kickapoo and undefeated Ozark Conference run. Feb. 5th, 2002 Bueker sparks Glendale By Don Abernathy For the News-Leader Glendale High School senior Jason Bueker was too much for visiting Rolla to handle, doing damage both in the paint and beyond the arc as the Falcons won 75-53 in Ozark Conference action on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-6 Bueker scored a game-high 33 points, including four 3-pointers, as Glendale took a nine-point halftime lead and exploded in the second half. “Tonight, I was just feeling it,” said Bueker. “My teammates worked hard to get me open and I was knocking (shots) down.” Rolla trailed by just one point early in the second quarter, 25-24, when Glendale outscored the Bulldogs 15-5 over the next four minutes. “Give Rolla credit, they played well on both ends,” Glendale coach Steve Hesser said. “We haven’t played well offensively of late, but we played well offensively tonight. I think we wore them down in the second half, where our half-court defense got much better.” Bueker added seven rebounds and three blocks to his 33 points, helping the Falcons improve to 18-4 overall and 4-1 in the OC. “We didn’t have an answer for (Bueker),” said Rolla coach Jim Pritchett. “He’s a complete player. He can shoot from the outside, post up and he’s quick off the dribble.” Glendale senior Ryan Luethy scored 20 points and junior Tyler Hesser added 11. Senior Matt Esquibel led Rolla with 14 points and junior Ryan Hunt added 12 points and six rebounds as the Bulldogs fell to 10-12 and 1-4. Hesser said the Falcons will get junior Brandon Kimbrough back from injury next week just in time for the final stretch. With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, Glendale got a lift off the bench from senior Logan Still, who had been out of action after breaking his leg during football. Still scored three points and had three rebounds in the final two minutes. “You’ve got to give it up to the kid,” Hesser said. “He’s not 100 percent yet, but he wants to come back and play. He’s tougher than a 9-year-old squirrel.” Jan. 30, 2002 Glendale holds off Hillcrest with solid defensive effort By Aaron Unterreiner For the News-Leader The Hillcrest Hornets won the time-of-possession battle but the Glendale Falcons won on the scoreboard, claiming a 43-32 victory Tuesday night at Hillcrest. The Hornets set the rhythm by stretching their offensive possessions and limiting the amount of Glendale touches, but Hillcrest struggled finding points against the Falcons’ pressure defense. With the game tied 4-4 early in the contest, Glendale scored seven unanswered points to capture a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Falcons ended the first half on a 13-4 run and took a 24-11 lead to the half. Glendale forced Hillcrest into 13 turnovers in the first half and held the Hornets to just 5-12 shooting. “Our lack of scoring isn’t anything new for this team,” Hillcrest coach Greg Harding said. “This is a young team, but they have hung in there despite a bunch of losses.” The Hornets have struggled to a 6-13 record this year, with a starting lineup consisting of three sophomores and two juniors, and two of the first three players off the bench are sophomores. The Falcons built their lead to as many as 22 points in the second half, finishing the third quarter with a 39-17 advantage. Their lead, however, quickly disintegrated in the fourth quarter. Glendale went without a field goal in the final frame until 2:30 remained in the contest. Grant Sparks scored on a layup for two of the Falcons’ four fourth-quarter points. Sparks finished the game with eight points, four in the fourth quarter. “They were looking to control the tempo and they did a good job with that,” Glendale coach Steve Hesser said. “There wasn’t many oppurtunities for us to score. They forced us into some poor shooting.” Glendale finished the game 20-of-46 (43 percent) from the floor, Ryan Luethy led the Falcons with 12 points (on 6-of-14 shooting) and six steals. “I was proud of (the steals),” Hesser said. “I like my kids that can score to play good defense.” Hillcrest outscored Glendale 15-4 in the fourth quarter to close the gap from 22 points to 11. In the first meeting between these teams, the Falcons clubbed the Hornets by 43 points at Glendale. The Hornets avenged that lopsided defeat by playing the Falcons close on their home floor. “I was very proud of our effort and defensive intensity,” Harding said. “They never gave up.” Jan. 26, 2002 Kickapoo wins historic rematch with Glendale Chiefs hold off Falcons in tight game played at Hammons Center. By Joe Cress News-Leader The scene surrounding Friday night’s Kickapoo-Glendale boys’ basketball was certainly unique, but the game itself was typical for the southside rivalry. On a historic night for Springfield high-school basketball, Kickapoo outlasted Glendale 50-43 in front of a crowd of 6,458 at Hammons Student Center, taking the lead in the Ozark Conference and perhaps securing the No. 1 seed in next month’s district tournament in the process. Kickapoo (20-1 overall, 3-0 OC) took the lead for good late in the second quarter, but never led by more than the final seven-point margin. Glendale (16-4, 2-1) got as close as 40-39 with 2:17 remaining, but Spencer Laurie hit two quick buckets in the span of 11 seconds — the first a short jumper on the wing and the second a steal and layup — to get the lead back to five. The Chiefs went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the win. The game had a state-championship type atmosphere around it, with nearly 4,000 people already in the stands midway through the junior varsity game. The cheering sections were split nearly down the middle of Hammons, with Glendale’s blue and red on the north side and Kickapoo’s brown and gold on the south side. “We just appreciate the high-school basketball fans in the Springfield area more than I can tell them,” R-12 Director of Athletics Edsel Matthews said. “It showed that (moving the game to Hammons) was the right decision. ... It’s just incredible.” Due perhaps to the surreal scene or to solid defense — or more likely a combination of each — both teams struggled offensively for much of the night, Kickapoo shooting 41.9 percent (18-for-43) and Glendale 30.8 percent (16-for-52). The two were a combined 6-for-30 from 3-point range. “Glendale played an outstanding game,” Kickapoo coach Roy Green said. “Their defense is always tough. We had a few more turnovers in the first half (nine) than normal, but I give credit to Glendale’s defense.” Glendale’s Steve Hesser was equally complimentary. “It was hard to score out there tonight,” Hesser said. “I think it was because of the defense being played out there.” Kickapoo led just 6-4 after one quarter and 19-18 at halftime, then maintained a slim lead in the third quarter, holding a 31-27 advantage heading into the final period. A 3-pointer by Laurie gave the Chiefs a 36-29 lead with 6:15 to play, but the Falcons responded quickly as Jason Bueker hit two foul shots and Ryan Luethy knocked down a 3 after a Kickapoo turnover. Deven Mitchell scored his only points of the game on a putback to put Kickapoo up 40-34, but Glendale rallied once again, pulling within one on Bueker’s drive to the rim with 2:17 left. Laurie then scored his two quick buckets and the Chiefs held on. Laurie scored 19 points to lead all scorers and had 11 in the fourth quarter. Brandon Argo had 13 points and nine rebounds and Anthony Tolliver pulled down 12 boards for the Chiefs. Luethy had 16 and Bueker 15 to lead Glendale. Jan. 23rd, 2002 Kickapoo-Glendale moved to Hammons By Joe Cress News-Leader The city’s premier prep basketball game of the 2001-02 season will be played on its largest stage. Friday night’s Glendale-Kickapoo boys’ game will be played at Hammons Student Center instead of Glendale High School, the original site of the contest. Springfield Public Schools Director of Athletics Edsel Matthews said Tuesday that the game is being moved — with the consent of Glendale coach Steve Hesser — in order to accommodate an anticipated crowd much greater than the approximately 1,400 seats available at Glendale. “We all came to the conclusion that this would be the best thing,” Hesser said. “It puts the focus back on playing the game.” Tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. Friday. The junior varsity contest starts at 6 p.m., with the varsity game to follow. A standing-room only crowd of over 2,000 witnessed the first meeting this year, a 66-63 Glendale win Jan. 4 at Kickapoo. The first meeting was a “nonconference” showdown between the Ozark Conference rivals. Friday’s game will count in the OC standings. Kickapoo is 19-1 overall and ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, while Glendale is 16-3 and ranked No. 4. Both teams are 2-0 in conference play. Anticipating another packed house Friday night, the schools originally agreed on dividing the 1,400 tickets evenly, with players, cheerleaders and other participants and their parents getting tickets and the remainder being put in a lottery for students at each school. When students began signing up for tickets Tuesday, it quickly became obvious that demand would greatly overshadow supply. “There was such an overwhelming demand on the part of students for tickets, and we were going to be unable to accommodate all of them,” Matthews said. “That began the thought process (of moving the game). “We didn’t want to deny (the students) seeing the game.” Kickapoo coach Roy Green thinks the switch is good for both schools. “There’s no complaint on our side, and I don’t think there are any on Glendale’s side,” Green said. “The way I see it is the more the merrier.” Both teams have played well at Hammons this year, Kickapoo going 4-0 at the Blue and Gold while Glendale went 2-1 at the Tournament of Champions this past weekend. “It will be a great night for high-school basketball,” Green said. Jan. 23, 2002 Scott Puryear Sports columnist Sportsmanship prevails in moving high school game Glendale gracious in letting big gamego to Hammons this Friday night. Notes, thoughts and general stuff from the sports world: I thought Steve Hesser was a class guy before, based on the way he handled “Eggfest’’ when his Glendale Falcons lost an incident-marred close game in the district finals at Kickapoo last February. But the Glendale coach’s decision to allow the biggest prep basketball game to hit town in years — Friday’s rematch with Kickapoo — to be played at a neutral site (Hammons Student Center), merely makes it more evident. After all, Hesser and the Falcons could have said an emphatic “no way,’’ citing the importance of keeping home-court advantage in what amounts to an Ozark Conference title game between state-ranked teams, two of the best in some time with the Falcons at 16-3 and the Chiefs 19-1. But Hesser and the Falcons recognized the interest in this game, saw that hundreds of fans would be denied the chance to see the matchup if it stayed in the 1,400-seat Glendale gym, and made the right move. With an assist, of course, from R-12 athletic director Edsel Matthews and Bill Rowe and the folks at SMS. “I don’t know that there’s a home-court advantage anyway in Springfield,” Hesser said. “We’ve played at Hammons. They’ve played at Hammons, and this takes the factor of who can and who can’t get into the game out of it, and puts the focus back on the game.” Said Matthews, “We left it up to (Hesser and Glendale) ... it’s just another example of what a tremendous coach and person (Hesser) is,. He’s tough and he’s hard-nosed, but his priorities have always seemed right.’’ SMS will charge the schools $2,000 — the normal nightly fee it charges for the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions — and will keep the concessions take. Matthews anticipates a crowd of 4,000-plus would make the move profitable, a figure that should be attainable. Not only can you expect 2,000 or more students to show up, but basketball fans from neither school who know they can now park within 10 miles of the gym and watch it in comfort, with some space to spare. “I would hope we could get at least 5,000,’’ Matthews said. Rowe is excited, too, because now he’ll get to see the prep matchup: “I think it’s just neat. I always hate to take away opportunities for anybody to see a game.’’ Some will no doubt fuss over the decision, claiming it’s more southside favoritism. I say to them, “zip it.’’ Matthews said all matchups with such interest will be given a look in the future, regardless of the location of the schools. And while it would have been nice to see both Kickapoo-Glendale regular-season games at Hammons, I can see why the Jan. 4 game was played at Kickapoo, even though Hammons was available that night as well. Matthews needed to see that to gauge the interest in this one. And when he saw a capacity crowd of 2,000 watch Glendale beat Kickapoo 66-63 — and another couple hundred lined up outside the doors, hoping the fire marshal might squeeze them in — it was time to re-evaluate. Learning Tuesday that twice as many students had signed up with an interest in getting tickets than were going to be allotted, and the fact that the schools and his office received some nasty phone calls from the public over being shut out from the game, helped clinch the decision. Jan. 21st, 2002 Glendale, Ozark finish tourney on a positive Jason Bueker’s 26 points help Falcons wrap up third, Tigers take fifth on hot shooting By Rod Shetler For the News-Leader Glendale’s Jason Bueker wasn’t quite able to earn a new pair of shoes, but his effort was enough to help claim a third place trophy for the Falcons on Sunday on the final day of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. Bueker, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Falcons top Christ the King 56-45. “If they get 12 rebounds I’ll buy them a new pair of shoes,” Glendale coach Steve Hesser said with a laugh. As Hesser looked at the postgame stat sheet he yelled back into the Glendale locker room. “You were one away, Bueker,” he said. The Falcons (16-3) took advantage of a cold-shooting night by the Royals (8-7) who finished hitting just 28 percent from the field (16-for-56). “(Christ the King is) not a great shooting team,” Hesser said. “Where they get you is on easy baskets off steals and off the offensive boards. The game plan was to rebound well and I thought for the most part we did a good job.” Glendale ended up edging the Royals on the boards 34-33. Christ the King could get no closer than six in the final quarter when Mitchel Beauford hit a short jumper to cut the Glendale lead to 47-41 with 3:05 left. The Falcons hit seven of their last eight free throw attempts in the final three minutes to ice the win. Even though Bueker’s performance wasn’t good enough for a new pair of shoes, Hesser gave his senior high marks for his effort. “This was, overall, his best performance of the year,” Hesser said. “Not only with the points and rebounds, but he also played 30 minutes for us tonight.” •Ozark 81, Heritage Christian (Texas) 72: It took a record-setting rebounding performance by Ozark’s Nathan Bilyeu and solid offense from teammate Joe Skyles to push the Tigers past the high-flying Heritage Christian Eagles in the fifth-place game. Skyles was 5-for-5 from 3-point range finishing with 24 points, and Bilyeu chipped in with 16 points and 15 rebounds. For the tournament Bilyeu, a 6-5 junior, finished with 42 rebounds tying him for second all-time in the T of C, and moving him past tournament legends such as Jevon Crudup (41) and Alonzo Mourning (40). Ozark coach Steve Hunter pointed to a first quarter blocked shot that helped set the tone for his Tigers. Early in the first quarter Heritage Christian’s Cedric Hensley took off along the baseline and went up for what looked like a sure dunk. Bilyeu went up with him and cleanly blocked the attempt sending Hensley to the floor. Hensley came back to jam home an alley-oop moments later, but Hunter believed the block sent a message. “We came out a little timid. You hesitate a little after (Heritage) blocks a few. You get shell shocked,” he said. “But after Bilyeu blocked that shot of Hensley’s out of bounds I thought it told (Heritage) that we weren’t going to back down and let them dominate us.” After falling behind 20-10 in the first quarter, Ozark rallied to outscore the Eagles 19-7 in the second quarter and led the rest of the way. “Our confidence right now should be sky high,” said Hunter. “We have all 3A schools now our last six games, and we should be ready. Our early schedule has been brutal.” Hensley led Heritage Christian with 17 points in the loss. •Centralia (Ill.) 80, Oviedo (Fla.) 63: Lance Marcum led the Orphans with 24 points, and teammate Jon Smith netted 21. Jan. 17th, 2002 Glendale, Ozark have sights on T of C trophy Although going 3-0 in 18th annual tournament will be a difficult task. By Joe Cress News-Leader The Glendale Falcons and Ozark Tigers have little interest in simply being accommodating hosts for this weekend’s Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. With a combined record of 28-5 entering Friday night’s first-round action at Hammons Student Center, the two local teams in this year’s event have loftier aspirations. “We’re excited to be in it,” Ozark junior guard Nathan Bilyeu said of the T of C. “But our goal is to win.” Glendale junior guard Ryan Luethy is just as confident of his team’s capabilities this weekend. “I think we can (win the tournament),” Luethy said. “If we play to the best of our ability.” While confident, all involved know that going 3-0 this weekend would be a major achievement, considering the competition assembling in the Ozarks over the next few days. In addition to Glendale and Ozark, the field for the 18th T of C includes the No. 1 Class 3A (New Madrid County Central) and 4A (St. Louis Vashon) teams in Missouri, as well as out-of-state powers Christ the King (N.Y.), Oviedo, Fla.; Centralia, Ill.; and Heritage Christian Academy of Cleveland, Texas. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Glendale coach Steve Hesser, a T of C rookie, said. “This is my first time in it, but I know the fan support is excellent. ... It’s a win-win situation for us.” Ozark coach Steve Hunter, who coached Hartville to a 1-2 record in the 1998 tournament, is looking forward to another chance at coaching in the area’s premier prep event. “It’s a big weekend,” Hunter said. “But we want to compete. Win, lose or draw, we’ll be better after this weekend.” Both the Falcons and Tigers will face considerable challenges in the first round, and Glendale will have to do so without one of its leaders. Junior point guard Brandon Kimbrough will be watching from the bench when Glendale plays Centralia in Friday’s late (9:30 p.m.) game. Kimbrough suffered an injury to his left (non-shooting) wrist in practice Monday. Hesser said Kimbrough is out until he can be re-evaluated in two weeks and could miss up to four weeks. “We’ve got some guys who will have to play different roles now,” Hesser said. “Brandon’s our heart and soul, our emotional leader. He does a lot of things for us ... we don’t have any one person who can step in and do what he does.” Luethy and senior forward Jason Bueker will be asked to step up even more in Kimbrough’s absence. “This team has dealt with a lot of adversity this year,” Bueker said. “Brandon is a big loss, but as long as everyone steps up ... we should be all right.” The 14-2 Falcons face a 15-1 Centralia team that Hesser was still trying to gather information on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re a good, hard-nosed team with several talented, well-coached players,” Hesser said. “They’re going to be good, but we think we’re pretty good, too.” Ozark’s challenge will be no less daunting. The Tigers face four-time T of C champ Christ the King at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Royals (7-5) have a younger, less-experienced team this time around, but Ozark coach Steve Hunter knows the visitors from New York will be ready. “I’m told that if you play Christ the King, the first night is best,” Hunter said. “Maybe they’ll be jet-lagged. They are younger than normal, but they play such a good schedule that I don’t think it matters.” Winners of nine straight and ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, the Tigers (14-3) seldom enter a game as an underdog, like they will Friday. “We understand the role we’re in,” Hunter said. “You know you’re up against some awesome athletic ability ... we kind of relish it (being an underdog), though.” Jan. 16th, 2002 Short-handed Glendale sails to victory over Parkview Glendale Boys 61 Parkview 38 By Don Abernathy For the News-Leader When you take away a player who is the teams’ heart and soul, the outcome could be devastating, but somebody forgot to tell Glendale that Tuesday night. Playing without leading scorer Brandon Kimbrough, the Falcons jumped out to an early 13 point lead and handled Parkview in fine fashion, 61-38, in Ozark Conference action at Glendale. Kimbrough was injured in practice Monday night, when he was undercut by a teammate, landing fully on his left hand and injuring his wrist. Kimbrough will visit a doctor today to see the extent of his injury. “Let’s hope we didn’t lose him for the rest of the season,” Glendale coach Steve Hesser. “He’s been our heart and soul and our emotional leader.” A 15-2 run by the Falcons over the first 4:30 of the game, was due largely in part to Glendale’s matchup zone defense, which pushed the Viking offense 20 to 25 feet from the basket during its halfcourt set. “(Glendale) guards awfully well and they are very difficult to play against,” Parkview coach Dick Rippee said. “We’ve struggled all year putting four quarters together and against great teams you can’t take a quarter off. That’s what happened tonight and they had everything to do with that. “They just play so hard on defense and they take you out of what you want to do offensively.” After halftime, Parkview had a bit of success attacking the backside of Glendale’s zone. The Vikings cut an 20 point lead down to 12 points, forcing Hesser to change his defense to a pressure man-to-man. Falcon senior Ryan Luethy scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter. Luethy shot 9-for-12 from the floor and pulled down six rebounds. “That’s how he’s been playing for us,” Hesser said. “That’s what we really need from him and that’s our expectations from him.” Despite the large deficit early, Parkview didn’t quit and was outscored only four points over the middle two quarters, but the Vikings weren’t able to get any closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Glendale senior Ryan Luethy scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds and junior Grant Sparks added 10 points and six rebounds for the Falcons (14-2, 1-0) “I was proud of our guys, because I didn’t do a very good job of preparing them after Brandon went down in practice,” Hesser said. “I was probably more worried about Brandon instead of practice, but my hat’s off to them for coming out and playing hard and taking care of business.” Parkview (3-12, 0-2) was led by senior Edward Zeller’s 11 points and five assists. Senior Nick Cunningham chipped in 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. Glendale will play next in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions at Hammons Student Center at 9:30 p.m. Friday against Centralia (Ill.). Jan. 8, 2002 Scott Puryear Sports columnist Glendale-Kickapoo game was good on several fronts Not only was the contest well-played, but everyone was on best behavior. Notes, thoughts and general stuff from the sports world: Kudos are in order for all involved with Friday’s Glendale-Kickapoo boys’ basketball thriller, from school administrators to the players and coaches, and even officials Bob Mowrey, Randall Long and Kerry Nelson, who called as clean a big game as we’ve seen in a while. Students were on their best behavior, unlike the egg-fest that occurred last winter in the district finals between the southside rivals. The administration’s most brilliant move was really a simple one: Separating the student bodies on opposite sides and corners of the Kickapoo gym. And then there was the game ... the Falcons’ 66-63 victory, in which they came back from a 15-point deficit with five minutes to go in the third quarter, was a classic, with 2,000 fans crammed into the Kickapoo gym and another 200 or so waiting in the lobby at tipoff in hopes that the fire marshal might let them in, one by one. “It was just a great high school basketball atmosphere,’’ said Glendale coach Steve Hesser. What we learned from the Falcons’ win: That, despite the preseason losses of forward Chauncey Duke (decided not to play) and guard Logan Still (broken leg in football), Glendale still can give a more talented Kickapoo fits. They’ll likely get two more chances, too: The Falcons (12-2) and Chiefs (13-1) will square off in the Ozark Conference matchup Jan. 25 at Glendale, and perhaps, in the 4A district finals at Joplin next month. That Falcons guard Ryan Luethy, a 6-foot-2 senior, is one of the best-kept secrets in the Ozarks. The kid can not only shoot it (he hit five 3s on his way to 23 points Friday), but his defensive work on Kickapoo’s Deven Mitchell in the second half was the true key to the Glendale win. In fact, Hesser’s teams guard as well as any we’ve seen in the Ozarks in some time. That the Chiefs probably needed this loss to humble them a bit and make them realize there’s plenty of work ahead if they want to get out of their district, let alone make a run at a state title. And that the wild card for Kickapoo the rest of the way will be 6-8 junior Anthony Tolliver, who, with more consistent play, can give Kickapoo a fourth strong offensive threat to go with Mitchell, Spencer Laurie and Brandon Argo.


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