Yocom Adding to his Legacy at Reeds Spring


Barry Yocom is finishing his fifth season as the head basketball coach at his alma mater.   When he was interviewing for the job I remarked that he was the “perfect fit”.  Five years later that has never been more evident.  He has built a program at Reeds Spring.

He may not have the Wolves ready to win a state title or even make a long run into the state playoffs but he has built a winner.  They have won 17 games this season, thus far, and still have the District Tournament ahead of them.  The team has won 16+ games in back to back seasons for the first time since the FINAL FOUR team of 1999-2000.  And, with the vast majority of the team returning next season, they will have a great shot at having a winning record in back to back to back seasons for only the second time in school history.  It was 1970-1973 the only other time it has happened.

His group plays as a team.  He has instilled discipline and a true “family” atmosphere.  It all starts with the philosophy of “binging it” EVERYDAY.  They are unselfish and that has shown up on the court.  The school records that have been broken this year are great examples of doing what it takes to help the team.  Logen Plumb broke Yocom’s school record for Charges taken in a season.  And Joel Gertson has rewritten the assists record book.  This season he has surpassed the previous marks for dimes in a game, season, and career.

This type of lunchpail work ethic is nothing more than a reflection of Yocom, himself.  As a 6-2 post player all Yocom did was score the most points (1773) in school history.  He did this while competing with no less than THREE division I post players in the same conference. (Steven Hill-Branson (Arkansas) Drew Richards-Rogersville (Missouri State) and Sam Singh (Ozark-Bradley)

Yocom coaches with passion.  While not extremely animated on the sideline there is no mistaking how much he is into every game.  His maturity is evident in the way he handles both his players and the officials when thing go the wrong way;  and, the way he celebrates the players success, but also, taking “moments to teach” when they go astray.

Whether the season ends with an opening round district loss or the Wolves stamp their way to the State Playoffs with a district title, this year will be labeled as a success and so has been the coaching career at Reeds Spring of Coach Yocom

The Wolves play Marshfield in the opening round of Districts, Monday Night at 6:00 in Bolivar.

photo courtesy of Twitter

District Outlook…

We have reached the post season for basketball in Missouri.  Small schools districts are underway and the big schools start as early as Saturday.

Here is a look at how I see the districts involving local teams…. Before anyone gets upset.. bear in mind that I am going with what I think will most likely happen and not necessarily what I would like to see happen.

Class 2 District 11 Girls….

The number one seed is Blue Eye and I don’t see a reason to go any other direction.  The Lady Bulldogs are having another solid season under Coach Elfrink and his young club really looks to be the class of the field.

Miller or Crane will have a shot in the final.  Crane is the #3 seed but I look for their experience to pay off in the semi-final.

Class 2 District 11 Boys…

Marionville is the #1 seed here.  But I think any of the top three can win it.  I am going to go with the winner of the semi-final between Crane and Blue Eye to pull off the upset in the Championship game.  Andrew Mitchell may be the best player in the field.  If he gets hot this week Blue Eye may just take a trip to Carthage next Wednesday for a boys-girls double header.

Class 3 District 11  Girls…

Strafford is the number one seed and is the best team in Missouri at any class.  It would take a huge upset for them not to win this thing going away.  At this point my only question is will anyone keep the TURBO CLOCK from starting.

Forsyth and Hollister are both on this field.  Forsyth has been really good at times but got a tough draw against a really good Clever team in the first round.  Would love to see them stick around and Lacey Moore and the crew make a run, but its going to be a uphill battle.

Class 3 District 11 Boys….

This district is loaded at the top.  Fair Grove is the host and the top seed and in the end the team that I think will come out.  But, Clever and Springfield Catholic are both title worthy contenders.  Don’t count out Strafford.  With Mike Wilson on the bench anything is always possible and they have been playing a lot better as of late.

If Forsyth can get back the intensity they played with the first half of the year their first round game with the Indians could be a fun one to watch. They have the ability to pull off the upset but only if they find that cohesive teamwork we saw before Christmas.  Hollister has shown glimpses.  If ever there was a time to throw the switch, that time is now.

Class 4 District 9 girls…

Rogersville is the two seed behind West Plains but I am going with the Lady Wildcats to win it.  They have wins over the Zizzers and third seeded Bolivar this year and stayed within 12 of Strafford.  None of those three would surprise me advancing…

Reeds Spring is in the district, they take on Bolivar in the opening round.  Boy, what a turnaround for the Lady Wolves.  They have already won NINE games this year.  That is up from two a season ago.  What a tremendous job.

Class 4 District 9 Boys….

Everything points to a rematch of the Bolivar Tournament Championship game on this same floor a few weeks ago.  Hillcrest beat Bolivar in Overtime to win that one… I think they do it again.

Reeds Spring gets a rematch with Marshfield in the opening round.  The Wolves lost a close one to the BlueJays Friday Night.  They get revenge in the rematch.

Class 5 District 11 Girls….

This will be the one that I am accused of being a “homer” for picking.   I am going with Branson to win it.  The Lady Pirates are playing their best basketball, right now.  Since the upset loss to Nixa they have wheeled off six in  a row including wins against Webb City, St Joe Benton, Republic, and Ozark all on the road.  The loss to Nixa is probably the only thing that prevented them from being seeded ahead of Kickapoo.  Now, having to beat Ozark and Kickapoo both to win the tournament is no easy task, and one of the reasons that top seed would have been nice.  But, this group of girls has a real shot to make it happen.

Class 5 District 11 Boys…

I like the club that Mark Schweitzer has at Ozark and I do like the offensive ability of Glendale.  But there is just no way to pick against Kickapoo in this one.  The Chiefs are good, really good.  They are deep.  If there is some hope for the others, it might be that the Chiefs have not won any of the three Tournaments they have played in this year…. that is until you look at the tournaments that they have played in…..  Sorry Folks Chiefs win it going away……

Branson plays Parkview in the opening round.  Its been a rough year for the Pirates.  If they could pull of an upset and get a district win it might take just a little sting out of a long season.

Random thoughts on a Friday..

As I sit here after finishing my prep for tonight’s basketball games a few random things come to mind..

  1. This basketball season has flown by. It wasn’t that long ago we were getting ready for the Forsyth Tournament.
  2. Happy to see Alexis Mitchell get the volleyball job at Hollister.  Its great the way that God always has a plan.
  3.  Have heard nothing but good things about Anthony Hays, Bransons new football coach.
  4. Good to see the improvement of Reeds Spring girls basketball.  From 2 wins to a chance at 10.  Thats incredible.
  5. Blue Eye girls have a real shot to advance to the state playoffs.  Ken Elfrink does a great job year in and year out.
  6. Considering doing a story on my district predictions….
  7. Looking forward to baseball season.  What local team will step up this year and make a run?
  8. Becky Vest does a great job at CofO.  She takes girls from across the Ozarks and molds them into the nations best.
  9. Saw the Reeds Spring Volleyball job was open…. Branson, Hollister, and Reeds Spring all in the same year?
  10.  If you have not had a chance to see Amanda Kearney play… better get out there before its too late.. Players like her do not come along that often.
  11.  Week One of Football season 182 days away.
  12. I love doing what I do.  God has truly blessed me.

Thats all for now.  Thanks for reading.  Have an incredible weekend and my God Bless.




Branson names new Volleyball Coach

The Branson Lady Pirate Volleyball Program has a new leader.  Lauren Dorris has been named to fill the position vacated with the retirement of Becky Lipacek.

The announcement was made in a press release this morning after being approved by the School Board last night.

Dorris comes to the Lady Pirates after a lot of success at Holden High School.  Her Clubs have won the past two Missouri River Valley Conference Championships.  The went undefeated in Conference playing doing so.

“We welcome Lauren to the Pirate family,” said David Large, Branson High School activities director. “Her experiences as a coach and a college player will provide her the skills necessary to develop a firm foundation with our athletes on and off the court. We look forward to a great season of play.”

Dorris is a Springfield native.  She is a graduate of Hillcrest High School.  She played college volleyball, while doing her undergrad work at Drury.  And, received her masters from McNeese State University.

The Lady Pirates were 17-13-3 last year and fell to Ozark in the District Semi-Finals.



Reeds Spring and Branson receive District Seeds

The seeds have been released for the Class 5 District 11 Tournament being hosted by Springfield Glendale and the Class 4 District 9 Tournament at Bolivar.

I posted earlier in the week the argument for Branson’s girls being the Districts number one seed, but tournament coaches did not see it that way so the Lady Pirates received a #2 seed and will have a rematch with #3 Ozark in the semi-finals of the five team district.  That game will take place on Monday Feb 27th at Hammons Student Center in Springfield.  Glendale and Parkview will play on Saturday the 25th for the right to take on top seeded Kickapoo in the other semi-final.

On the boys side Branson was pretty well locked into the five seed, having lost to the other four teams in the field.  The Pirates will get a rematch with Parkview on the 25th at Glendale High School.  Should they win they will advance to play #1 Kickapoo at HSC on the 27th.  Ozark will face Glendale in 2-3 matchup. Both Championship games will be played on Thursday Night.

The general thinking was that Reeds Spring would fave Marshfield on the boys side of the Boys District at Bolivar the only question was which team would be the number four and which team would be number five.  The Wolves got the nod to wear their “home” uniforms and will face Marshfield for the second time in just over a week with they play the BlueJays at 6:00 on Monday the 27th.  The winner will advance to take on the host school in the semi-finals on Thursday March 2nd.  #3 Rogersville plays #6 West Plains after the RS-Marshfield game with the winner getting #2 Hillcrest in the late game Thursday.  The Championship will be held on Saturday Afternoon.

The Reeds Spring girls will play in the 4/5 game as well after grabbing the #5 seed.  The Lady Wolves will take on Bolivar at 1:00 on Saturday the 25th  just before #3Marshfield and #6 Hilcrest get together.  West Plains received the top seed and Rogersville the number two.  The girls semi-finals will be played on Tuesday.  Like the guys they will wait until Saturday the 4th to play the Championship game.

Wolves win rematch with Tigers

Reeds Spring lost to Hollister 55-51 in the Wolves first (and Tigers second) game of the season this year.  That was the opening round of the Forsyth Tournament in late November.  Last night the Tigers hosted the Wolves looking for the sweep.

In the early going, it looked like it was going to be a Wolves rout as Reeds Spring scored the first ten points of the game.  But after a couple of time outs, Coach Pete Leonard’s Tigers got on a run of their own, and by midway through the second quarter had drawn back to within one at 15-14.

That would be as close as the Tigers would get.  The Wolves would go on a 15-0 run from there, playing tough defense and taking advantage of Tiger turnovers.  It eventually added up to 48-24 Reeds Spring victory.

Lane Carroll led three Wolves in double figures with 15.  Logen Plumb, who set the tone early, had 14 including his first dunk, in the opening quarter.  Austin Bradfield chipped in with 11.  Joel Gertson had the other eight points for Reeds Spring and broke the school record for assists in a season, formerly held by Ryan Brown.  Gertson already had the career mark for the category.

Reeds Spring moves to 17-7 on the year.  Hollister falls to 7-17.  The Wolves will host Marshfield on Friday Night while the Tigers welcome Buffalo.

Joel Gertson (file photo)

Lady Pirates take down Ozark and Continue Roll…

The Branson Lady Pirates went on the road last night and for the second Monday in a row and took down a Conference powerhouse on their home court. Ozark was the victim this time.  54-51 was the final as Branson won its 20th game of the season and keeps its hopes for a shared COC title alive.

The game was close most of the night.  However, except for a brief period in the first quarter Branson had the lead throughout.  Ozark tried to take away Amanda Kearney by changing defenses and changing defenders on her.  From straight Man to a box and one Kearney had to work to get any room at all.  She ended the night with 17 points.  Freshman Madie Braden led Ozark with 18.

Branson got huge contributions up and down the lineup.  Lauren Garrison had 16 and had a number of key steals along the way.  Gracie Jaeger scored six but her half-court three pointer at the end of the first quarter was huge for momentum.  Her hustle and defense was obvious throughout the night.  I could go on, it was truly a team effort.

In the last week and a half the Lady Pirates have beaten St Joe Benton on a neutral court.  They have won AT Republic.  And now, they have won AT OZARK.  They will still need a little help to get a share of the COC Title.  They will need Ozark to beat Republic next week, a real possibility.  And they need Neosho to upset Carl Junction, a much longer shot.

Most importantly, Branson really seems to be playing their best basketball at the moment.  District seedings are on Wednesday.  With the win over Ozark, Branson should be no worse than a #2 seed.  But, with the fact the Branson and Kickapoo have almost identical records and the fact that Ozark beat Kickapoo AT  Kickapoo while Branson beat the Lady Tigers in Ozark; one would think that Coach Kip Bough will have legitimate argument for the top spot.  We will see how it turns out.

Wolves defeat Panthers on Hall of Fame Night

On a night where Reeds Spring honored some of their all-time greats from the past, they made some great memories of their own.

The Wolves rode the hot shooting of Lane Carroll and solid team defense to defeat Forsyth 66-46.

Reeds Spring jumped on the Panthers from the get-go, scoring the first ten points of the game.  That lead had been built to 23-6 by the end of the first quarter when Carroll hit the first of this 3 three pointers of the night, all in the first half.  45-22 was the halftime score.

Carroll had 27 on the night.  The second big game in a row for the junior.  He had 17 Tuesday night in the loss at Rogersville.  Logen Plumb had 10 first half points on his way to sixteen on the night.  His aggressiveness around the rim was evident all night.

Forsyth will look to bounce back next week with games against Crane and Blue Eye before heading into district play and a date with Strafford.  The loss drops them to 13-10 on the season.

Reeds Spring advances to 16-7 on the season.  They will travel to Hollister on Tuesday night to take on the Tigers.  That game can be heard, right here, on perryphillipssports.com

Before the game six individuals and one team was inducted into the Reeds Spring Sports Hall of Fame.  Craig Hesseling, Erik Wood, Jesse Stovall, Coach Becky Lipasek, Jessica Smyth, and Brittany Stone, along with the 2006 and 2007 Volleyball teams received the honor.

photo courtesy of Larry Plumlee

Districts set for Forsyth and Hollister

The district brackets have been released for Class 3 District 11 to be held at Fair Grove and really no big surprises.

State top ranked Strafford leads the field on the Girls side while host Fair Grove gets the nod on the Boys side.

The Girls will start play on Monday the 20th with all four games taking place that day.  Strafford will play #8 Hollister at 4:00 followed by the 4-5 matchup of Springfield Catholic vs Ash Grove at 5:30.  The bottom half of the bracket will feature second seeded Clever vs #7 Forsyth at 7 and the last game of the night will pit #3 Fair Grove vs #6 Buffalo.

On the Boys side play will start on Tuesday the 21st.  Like the girls they will play all four first round games on that day.  Fair Grove will play #8 Buffalo at 4:00 and #4 Strafford will tangle with #5 Forsyth at 5:30.  The 7:00 game will be #2 Clever vs #7 Hollister and finally #3 Springfield Catholic will play #6 Ash Grove at 8:30

Girls semi-finals will be played at 6 and 8 on Wednesday the 22nd and the guys will play at the same times on the 23th.  Championship games are scheduled for 6 on the 24th for the girls and 25th for the guys.

From Pirate to Pioneer…

Branson Catcher Kap Johnson is looking forward to his senior season.  That gets underway in just about a month from now.  But, there is no longer any doubt where he will be playing next season.

This afternoon the Branson senior signed a national letter of intent to continue his baseball and academic career at North Arkansas College in Harrison, AR.   He said he hopes to one day teach and coach…

KapJohnson (click on link of interview with Kap)

The Pirates take part in a baseball Jamboree with Reeds Spring, Hollister, and Forsyth four weeks from tomorrow and then open the season with the Lael Leadoff Tournament on the 18th

Coach Nimmo talking about Johnson’s Pirate career
making it official
Big day for the whole family