Mitchell= A True Blessing

I have talked many times about the blessings our local athletes can count.  Whether it’s the great support of the community, the caring coaches, or the incredible facilities; most of our local athletes have plenty to be thankful for.

In my opinion, one of the greatest blessings our young athletes have is Brian Mitchell.  Brian is the area representative for South Central Missouri Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The FCA national website states that the groups vision is to “see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.”  Well, hard to imagine anyone working harder to see that vison become a reality than Mitchell.  Nearly every day he is on the road in the wee hours of the morning, headed to a coaches’ bible study or school huddle event.  Most everyday hitting multiple schools.  At night you will find him at a College of the Ozarks event or a high school game.

Coaches successes are often gauged by wins and losses. As a Christian myself, I can tell you that its hard to imagine a much greater victory than leading someone to Christ.  But that’s the kind of thing that Mitchell seemingly does on a daily basis.  Even more, he helps students and coaches find ways to lead others to the Lord.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been to games over the past couple of seasons where I see the two teams gather (either before or just after a game) for student led prayer.  Can you attribute this directly to Mitchell?  Maybe not, but the this is the exact kind of “leaders” he is helping to influence all around this part of the state.

Overall, Brian Mitchell is such a blessing to the area.   I am so very grateful our area schools are so receptive.  I am proud that I can consider Brian a friend and a brother in Christ.

photo courtesy of South Central MO FCA website

Spring Sports Have Arrived…

Well, its officially the first day of Spring.  And, God has blessed us with a wonderfully nice day.

The Spring Sports seasons are underway.  High School baseball got underway on Friday.  I had the call of Forsyth vs Reeds Spring on this website.  Lots of tournaments going on this week.  Branson hosts the first of two that they host annually.  Both, Reeds Spring and Forsyth are taking part in the Clever Tournament.  The Panthers host one pool while the Wolves take part in the pool taking part at the host school.

The Branson Lady Pirate Soccer team is already 3-0 on the season.  They won their second consecutive Fair Grove Tournament and did so with three straight shutouts.  They play three times this week. On the road at Mt View Liberty on Tuesday and at Aurora on Thursday, before opening the home portion of their schedule against West Plains on Friday.  My first broadcast of Lady Pirate Soccer is coming soon.

First Track Meets will take place this week.

At College of the Ozarks the baseball team is well into their season.  And the return of Outdoor Track for the first time since 1989 starts on April 1st.

My 1st Annual Post-Season Awards

              With the end of the Basketball season comes all kinds of post season honors.  I started to select an “All-Perry” Team but decided enough of that is already done.  So, I decided to just give my opinion of a few awards I wanted to give out.  I honestly started to pick one in each category and not divide between genders but in the end I thought it only fair that I do so.  I did not consult anyone and went off more of an eye test instead of hard and fast stats.  And although I am sure you can find someone extremely deserving in each category to debate the choice I made, here is what I came up with….. Congrats to all…                                                    


                                                               Girls                                                  Boys


Youngin of the Year(frosh/soph)    Kohnner Patton-BE                 Andrew Mitchell-BE


Keep an Eye On                             Karis Goodwin-Branson                   Cole Nordin-RS


My Final Shot                             Amanda Kearney-Branson                  Lane Carroll-RS


Best Floor General:                           Lacey Moore-For                          Joel Gertson-RS


Straight out Player                      Lauren Garrison-Branson               Rocha-For/Morris-Hol


Controls the Paint                     Tara Utz-Depriest- Branson              Logen Plumb-RS


Most Improved Team                    Reeds Spring                                       Blue Eye


Coach of the Year                           Kip Bough                                             Barry Yocom


Player of the Year                    Amanda Kearney-Branson                    Joel Gertson-RS

Thanks to all the players, coaches, parents, and fans that made this season what it was.  I appreciate each of you.

Two Wolves and a Tiger grab All-COC Honors

The All Conference teams have been released by the coaches from the COC-Small.  And some local guys have garnered recognition.

Logen Plumb and Joel Gertson from Reeds Spring were named to the second team as was Derek Morris from Hollister.

Plumb averaged 13.5 points per night and pulled down 9.4 rebounds per contest.  He also set a school record by drawing 24 charges on the season.

Gertson scored 10.4 points a night and the senior set school records for assists in a season and a career.

I would love to have seen Lane Carroll get recognition but I understand there are only so many spots available and I know that coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

Reeds Spring finished the season 18-10

Morris led a young Tigers team in scoring with 16.5 points per game. He was also named to the Class 3 District 11 All-District Team.

Joining the three on the second team was Tristen Letterman-Marshfield, Andrew Scott-Rogersville, and Ian Cochran-Catholic.

The first team was made up of Brandon Emmert and Conley Garrison of Bolivar, Matthew McHenry from Rogersville, Jarrett Paoni or Marshfield, and Catholic’s Jake Branham.

Plumb and Gertson were also named to the Class4 District 9 All-District Team as well..  Congrats.


photo courtesy of Wolves BB twitter account


Kearney Special On and Off the Court.

The Branson Lady Pirates saw their season end on Saturday with a loss in the State Quarterfinals.  A season that saw more wins (25) than ever before in program history.  It’s a loss that brought an end to the Branson basketball careers of Five special ladies including Amanda Kearney.

I have known Amanda since, I believe, she was in third grade.  She is a classmate of my youngest son, Daniel.  By now, most everyone knows that Daniel suffers from Autism and Neurofibromatosis.  Her dad worked with Daniel for a couple of years.  And, Amanda would go out of her way to make sure Daniel was “part of the group”.   It’s amazing how much difference a caring person can mean to him.  While he may not have much contact with her, these days, there is no doubt he knows who she is.  He will act shy and deny it if anyone asks him, but when he sees her highlights on television he still refers to her as “My Manda”.

On the court Amanda has been nothing short of amazing.  She surpassed the 2000 point mark in a game at Republic late this past season.  And, according to my numbers, she ends her Lady Pirate career with 2166 points.  Her grit and determination to win is overshadowed, only by her smile and obvious love for the game.  Many times a player that scores in droves, like that, can easily become selfish and develop a “me” attitude.  That has never been the case with Amanda.  Anyone that has ever seen her knows how much she cares about her teammates.

We had heard about her ability to score before she ever reached high school.  And boy did she ever deliver.  I remember a program in elementary school where the kids were supposed to dress like someone from Missouri or a person that made their impact while in the state of Missouri.  I can remember Kearney in a Jackie Stiles jersey.  Little did we know at that time that she would develop into a scorer like her hero.

When next season comes Kearney will be wearing the Black and Gold of Harding University.  She will be missed at Branson without a doubt.  Is she the greatest player to ever wear a Lady Pirate uniform?  That is a judgement question that everyone can answer for themselves.  There is no doubt she is the most prolific scorer.  She holds every record to that effect.  But, it’s not the points that, this guy will miss.  It’s that smile and the overall incredible young woman that is AMANDA KEARNEY.

Photo courtesy of facebook
photo courtesy of Larry Plumlee

Miller will get a shot at Benedictine

Garrett Miller went into his senior season at Reeds Spring looking to have a huge year.  The senior defensive end looked poised to make a lot of noise for the Wolves.  But, it was far from the year he envisioned.  Miller went down late in the Wolves memorable win over Bolivar.  He returned for some snaps against Hollister, but that would be it for the season.  A knee injury would keep him on the sidelines the rest of the way.

But, despite the not having a long senior highlight reel, Miller showed enough in the few games he played this season to go along with his production as an underclassman that Benedictine could see him lining up on their defensive line.  Yesterday, he made it official, signing a national letter of intent to attend the Atchison, KS school.

MillerSigning (click link for interview with Garrett)

Miller is looking to study International Business.

signing NLI for Benedictine
Miller with his parents and brothers