The Blue & Gold graced hoops fans with the biggest tournament the Ozarks has to offer for local schools last week. The Blue & Gold’s final day of the tournament was Friday, Dec. 29. In the end, Nixa repeated to win the Blue Division. Central won their first Gold Division title in over 40 years.
The Jays flew into the Gold Division unseeded. Their first matchup was against the Glendale Falcons on Tuesday, Dec. 26 for the night cap game at 9:00 p.m.
The Jays were one of the few unseeded teams that have a D1 prospect with six-foot-seven junior Teagan Curley.
Many expected an upset but were upset themselves when the Falcons defeated the Jays 48-40.
The Jays headed to the consolation bracket. There, Marshfield faced off against unseeded Mt. Vernon. The Jays defeated Mt. Vernon 60-45.
Senior Silas Massey finished with 23 points. Curley picked up 17.
Next, the Marshfield took on Clever in a Battle of the Bluejays.
Clever attempted to deter Curley from dominating the game with a box and one and a triangle and two defense. Forcing others to score from the perimeter. Massey and Jackson Gardner, a senior, both stepped up to create scoring opportunities for Marshfield.
Curley was able to find the rim as well as and ended the game with 18 points and a slam dunk to boot. Massey picked up 13 points. Gardner finished with eight points.
In the consolation championship of the Gold Division, Marshfield played the Willow Springs Bears.
“I told our guys we were going to have to do something different with Clever,” said head coach John Cherne III. “Willow’s a good team shooting team that can run the floor. We’re at a point in the season where we’re making small adjustments to our plans, cause our boys get the big picture
The Jays defeated Willow 72-59 to secure the consolation championship trophy for the 2024 Gold Division.
The Wildcats came into the Blue Division as the no. 4 seeded team. In a matchup with Camdenton, Rogersville won 71-45. Last year, they took second-place.
In a true show of class and sportsmanship, the Nixa Eagles donned Logan-Rogersville warmups on opening night to honor the fallen Wildcat student-athlete who passed away last week following an ATV accident.
“It was a great move to let us know they were thinking of us,” explained Shaefer. “Now we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
The next round saw the Cats matched up with no. 5 seed Fair Grove.
“We went 1-18 for three and were low energy that game,” explained head coach John Schaefer. “It was the same night of the funeral.”
Fair Grove defeated Logan-Rogersville in a close game 51-47. They were sent to the fifth-place bracket where they defeated Mtn. Grove’s Panthers 83-46 to advance to the fifth-place game against no. 3 Hartville.
Chase Branham, a freshman, scored 23 points.
The Cats defeated the Eagles 46-38 to take fifth place in the Blue Division.
“We were happy going 3-1 at the tournament despite what’s going on,” added Shaefer.
Branham, made the All-Tournament Breakout Performers Team. Branham already received a D1 NCAA offer from Austin Peay before he ever played a minute on the court for varsity.
“Branham isn’t your typical freshman,” said Schaefer. “He’s very skilled and the word is out on him.”
The Indians joined Marshfield in the Gold Division as the no. 6 seed.
After defeating Mtn. Grove in the opening round 57-46, Strafford faced off against the Glendale Falcons. The Falcons defeated the Indians 73-48.
The Indians lost and fell to the fifth-place bracket where they lost to Ozark and exited the tournament.
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