Forsyth Tournament different but no less exciting…

The Forsyth Basketball Tournament got underway this week and it is noticeably different.  NO BRANSON!!!!!  The Pirates have instead opted to join the Lady Pirates in hosting the Battle at the Border.

So, for the fist time since 2003 we will have a Champion that is not Branson or Harrison and we will have our first Championship game that does not include at least one of those schools since 2000.   Now, that being said it looks to be an outstandingly competitive tournament.

If the first round was any indication the rest of the action will be tremendous.  Only top seeded Walnut Grove cruised in the first round.  Second seeded Reeds Spring fell to #7 Hollister.  School of the Ozarks was the six seed but gave #3 West Plains all they wanted before the Zizzer’s finally held on in the final minute.  And the host Forsyth Panthers went on an 8-2 run to end the game and come from behind to beat #4 Mountain Home.

What does all of this mean?  Well, it looks like a pretty even field.  Walnut Grove is the smallest school in the field (9-12 enrollment of only 81) but they have to be the odds on favorites.  Let me tell you the town in basketball crazy and they can play the game.

Flippin is noticeably down from the teams they have brought to Forsyth the past few years.  But with all honesty Seeds 2-7 you could almost have put in a hat and drawn names.

Reeds Spring and School of the Ozarks will meet in Thursdays first Consolation Semi-Final.  These two met last year in the opening round and if not for Reno Randall’s buzzer beater, the Patriots would have pulled the upset.  That game can be heard right here by clicking on the live broadcast tab at the top of the page. The two Arkansas schools will meet in the other game.

Friday night should be a great night of basketball.  Hollister and West Plains will tip at 6.  Can the small school keep its new coach undefeated for another game?  Or, will the rebuilding larger school use its mass numbers to its advantage?  Then state ranked class one Walnut Grove will try to beat the host Panthers on their own floor.

This will all set up a Saturday finale that will include all eight schools.  As always its an incredible kickoff to the high school basketball season.


Lots of Good Football in the area…

With the conclusion of the Show-Me Bowls this past weekend high school football in Missouri has come to an end for the year.  Congrats to Lamar and Monett on taking home State Championships.  Two State Titles in the same conference does not happen very often.

While it has been a  few weeks since the seasons came to an end for the teams in our immediate area they all had some good moments and some things to look forward to.

Branson picked up a victory in the first round of Districts and look forward to returning a good nucleus including quarterback Ryan Still.  The Pirates were a whole lot more competitive this year and that bodes well as they look to the future.

Hollister was very much improved and without a doubt had the best team they have had in their young history.  Coach Jacob Hamon’s club won five games for the first time ever and beat a Class 4 team for the fist time in school history.  They finished in the middle of the pack of the small COC, another accomplishment.  With a good number of skill position players returning next season could mean another jump for the Tigers.

Reeds Spring was thought to be the best team in the area going into the season and they lived up to that billing.  The Wolves went 8-3 on the season and claimed a share of the Small-COC along the way.  They also brought an end to Bolivar’s 13 year unbeaten streak in Conference Play.  While they graduate some important members that made this all possible the Wolves played a ton of juniors and sophomores up and down the lineup and will be in prime position to make a run in 2017.

And, I dont want to forget about Forsyth.  The Panthers will make the jump from junior varsity to full fledged Varsity Football in 2017 (although they will not compete in postseason until 2018)  The excitement of the new program will be something to watch.  And with all the talented athletes on their way up in the school system it might not take as long as many think to field a competitive football team.  Looking forward to seeing them.

Overall, it was a really good year.  Personally I got the opportunity to “fill in” on Monett broadcasts the past three weeks and it only made me more excited for the day that one of our programs reaches that level.  You can see things positive things happening all over the tri-lakes.  The excitement of the beginning at Forsyth, the revitalization at Branson, the next-step taken at Hollister, and the Wolves sharing a COC title.

The pads are all checked in and players have already moved on the Wrestling, Basketball, or off-season conditioning but fear not the sounds of whistles and pads clanging will be here before you know it.. Only 263 days until Reeds Spring has a chance at revenge against Mt Vernon, Til Hollister takes on Pleasant Hope, Until Branson tangles with Neosho, and until Forsyth is officially playing Varsity Football……  This is one guy that cant wait.


Perry Phillips Broadcasting Player of the Year…..

The final cap was put on the football season at Reeds Spring yesterday afternoon with the annual awards ceremony.

It was another successful run for the Wolves.  They finished 8-3 on the season.  They Beat Bolivar, breaking a 13-year Conference Unbeaten streak by the Liberators.  They shared the Central Ozarks Conference-Small Championship.  They also broke the school team rushing record set the previous year and did it on one less game.

This senior class Graduates with a 37-9 record over their 4 years of Varsity Football.  That is the best mark ever posted by a class.  They never won less than 8 games and never lost more than three.

A big part of that was this years Perry Phillips Broadcasting-Reeds Spring Football Player of the year: Korey Robinette

Robinette led the team in rushing with 967 yards on only 97 carries.  That is a fraction under 10 yards per attempt.  Additionally, Robinette caught 11 passes for 192 yards and three more scores.  He was also a stalwart on defense logging 43 tackles from his cornerback spot and picking off 3 passes.  This, a year after he tied the school record for a season with seven interceptions.  He was selected All-COC on both sides of the football by Conference Coaches.robinette

COC-Small All-Conference Teams Revealed..

The Coaches from the Small-COC have released their list of All-Conference Selections….

Bolivar quarterback Connor Sechler was named the Offensive MVP. Catholic’s Tyson Riley and Bolivar’s Bradley Thomas were named Co-Defensive MVP’s.

The Championship ended in a three way tie between Reeds Spring, Bolivar, and Springfield Catholic.  And Reeds Spring received a number of slots garnering honors…

1st Team

Austin Bradfield- Offensive Line

Jacob Rantz – Offensive Line

Korey Robinette- Running Back AND Defensive Back

Joel Gertson- Kicker

JP Gardner- Outside Linebacker

2nd Team

Cole Crutcher- Offensive Line

Collin Cross- Defensive Line

Austin Bradfield- Defensive Line

Ben Moler- Inside Linebacker

Honorable Mention

Colter Whitten- Running Back

Asa Baker- Offensive Line

Hollister has its best season in school history and the Tigers were rewarded with a number of spots as well:

1st Team

Derek Morris- Wide Receiver

Josh Neville- Outside Linebacker

2nd Team

Tyler Gross- Defensive Line AND Offensive Line

Zach Crawford- Offensive Line

Jackson Bekemeier- Defensive Back

Honorable Mention

Jackson Bekemeier- Quarterback



Bobcats roll over Evangel AGAIN

For the first ten minutes of last nights game it looked like Evangel was going to have their way with C of O.  But a game is forty minutes long and for the remainder or the night it was all Bobcats.

The Crusaders jumped out to a 19-7 lead as the Bobcats were ice cold from the field.  However C of O would take advantage of mounting fouls against the home team to make a run and actually go the locker room with a 32-27 halftime lead.

The second half completely belonged to the Bobcats.  Once again Cameron Paschke came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders.  The senior from Fayetteville, AR followed up his 36 point performance last weekend with a 29 point output in this one, 20 of which came in the second half.

The win marked the fifth in a row for the Bobcats over their rivals from Springfield.

Paschke led all scorers with his 29.  Canyon Smith had 16 on the strength of 3-threes.  And, Heath Carmichael chipped in with ten.  Kiefer Starbird and Ethan Davidson had nine apiece.

The win moves the Bobcats to 4-1 on the young season.  They will be in action again the weekend as they travel to Huntington, Indiana this weekend for a Classic.

Captains meeting at mid-court before CofO vs Evangel game.
Captains meeting at mid-court before CofO vs Evangel game.

Lady Cats move to 5-0

The College of the Ozarks started the year as the #7 team in the nation in the preseason NAIA DII womens poll.  And they have done nothing but impress against a very tough schedule.

Last night they faced, and defeated another NAIA DI team.  Their second of the year already, after beating NAIA DI #9 Lyon.  William Woods was the victim this time 70-67.

The first half was not kind to the home team as they fell behind by as many as seven before pulling back to within five at the half.

The third quarter was a different story.  The Lady Cats went on a 15-4 run to take a 44-40 lead.  It was a lead that would eventually grow to as many as 11 several times in the fourth quarter.

C of O was much more aggressive in the second half.  Instead of settling for three pointers they attacked the basket.  They either got buckets or got to the free throw line. (they only shot one free throw in the entire first half)  By aggressively running the offense, those three pointers eventually opened up.  Cassidy Johnson was able to take advantage.  The sophomore from West Plains hit FOUR second half threes on her way to a nineteen point night.  Seventeen of those points came in the second half.

In all four Lady Cats would score in double figures:  Lakin Simmerman (15) Kelsie Cleeton (13) and Shelby Roberts (11).

The Lady Owls made a run at the end of the game making it a little too close for comfort.  C of O saw their seven point advantage nearly vanquish in the closing seconds.  A three point attempt to tie was off the mark from Payton Greenlee and the buzzer finally sounded.

The Lady Cats will put their undefeated mark on the line at the John Brown Classic next weekend.  In addition to the host school they will take on Oklahoma City.  Both schools are NAIA DI and are in the top 25 or receiving votes.


Homecoming made better with wins…

I make no secret that I am a proud alum of the College of the Ozarks.  And, even though I am frequently at the school, Homecoming is still a special time.  This year, especially, as it marks 25 years since I received my degree from the school.

The weekend got off to a great start as the Cats and Lady Cats both beat their Nationally ranked opponents from Tabor.

Coach Becky Vest loaded the opening part of the Lady Cats schedule and they have been up to the task.  Just days after defeating NAIA D1 #9 Lyon on the road they Lady Cats welcomed NAIA D2#10 Tabor to the Howell Keeter Athletic Complex.  Led by the strong inside game of Junior, Lakin Simmerman (21pts on 8 of 12 shooting) the Lady Cats built a 20 pt second half lead and held on for a 68-58 victory.  The steady play of Kelsie Cleeton continued.   She picked up another double-double netting ten points and ten boards.  The victory keeps C of O perfect 4-0 on the season. They will be home again on Monday night against Willam Woods.

Then the Bobcats took the floor and completed the sweep 95-83.  Steve Shepherd’s club also welcomed the #10 ranked team in the Nation to campus.  A game that saw runs from both schools was very much in doubt until Cameron Paschke took over.  The senior guard from Fayetteville, AR went on a shooting tear in the second half.  By the end of the night Paschke had totaled a career high 36 points including 5 three pointers, the last of which came from nearly 30 feet out.  Ethan Davidson had 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Canyon Smith also had a nice night, chipping in with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.

The Bobcats move to 3-1 on the season and now ready themselves for the first on two games against Evangel.  That game will take place Tuesday Night at the Ashcroft Center in Springfield.