Tis’ the season for the annual Greenwood Blue & Gold basketball tournament where three Webster County teams are preparing to take the court in competition. For full a full tournament bracket, see page 12A.
With the week to prep, the Indians will begin play on Monday, Dec. 27, at Missouri State’s JQH Arena. Strafford will be in Gold Division with the first game being against Camdenton starting at 2:00 p.m.
All four of Stafford’s coaches have participated in the Blue & Gold Tournament during their high school careers. Ryerson’s assistant coach Rodney Mullings, won the Blue & Gold tournament with Pleasant Hope during his high school basketball career.
“As a team we always try to highlight the Blue & Gold because it is a really cool and fun experience,” stated Ryerson. “We get to play in a college arena and we get to see teams that we don’t normally get to see while being surrounded by a high energy crowd.”
The Strafford Indians can be said to be one of the most well communicated teams. From the boys on the court to the boys on the bench, the team is constantly communicating as well as encouraging each other throughout the entirety of a game.
While leaving the tournament with a piece of hardware, the Indians plan to just take it one game at a time.
According to Ryerson the team has four goals that they go into every game they play with and those are: plus ten in the turn over margin, plus ten in the rebounding margin, holding the other team at less than 40% and making more free throws than the other team shoots.
“If we do these four things, take care of the ball, rebound the ball, get to the free throw line and play good defense then we have a chance to win every single game,” added Ryerson. “Camdenton is a big school, they are really physical and athletic so we are going to try to adjust some things to counteract their size and physicality.”
Logan-Rogersville is headed back to the gold division of this year’s holiday tournament. The Wildcats are sitting at a 3-2 record the team plans to get better between now and the start of the tournament on Dec. 27.
“We have had a decent start,” stated coach John Schaefer. “We did not return really anyone this year. One of our best players is out this year with Tommy John so he has not gotten a chance to play this year. We got short handed early and we have some young guys playing that are filling in for them and making their name on the LR basketball program.”
With the team trying to stay on the right end of things as well as getting better everyday leading up to the tournament because the young inexperience can show. They will be playing against Crane in the Gold Division starting at 5:00 p.m. to begin the tournament.
According to Schaefer the Blue & Gold tournament is a big deal for the Wildcats. The team has consistently been in the winners bracket for the past five years while he has been at Rogersville. In 2018 and 2019 the team played for the Championship where as last year they took home third.
“We have had a lot of success with the Blue & Gold,” said Schaefer. “Ours kids take it seriously and its a big tournament that really puts you were you want to be on the season.”
Crane has lost a few of the players this past year and coach Schaefer believes that the game will be something they can win.
“It will be one of the games where if you can win it will be a big deal and if you don’t then you know where you are and I think our kids will be up for the challenge,” explained Schaefer.
The team hopes to excel throughout the tournament and continuing the tradition of playing in the winners bracket.
The Blue Jays have a spot in the Blue Division at the annual Greenwood Blue & Gold Tournament.
The Jays ended last years tournament with a 1-2 record where they will look to improve on that record at this years go around.
“I think we have been just trying to get better every week,” Coach Adam Carpenter said. “For us if we can just go and play all four days that is a success. There are so many good teams in this tournament.”
The team started the season in early November allowing them to have a month and a half to clean things up and figure things out.
“I feel like the style we have right now is close to what we want to achieve,” explained Carpenter. “We are at the point where are are getting things cleaned up and really getting roles established.”
Trying not to get distracted by other teams, the Jays have begun the prep for the game against Skyline.
“Skyline is really talented,” stated Carpenter. “They are well coached and used to winning. They have a lot of guards that can make plays off the dribble and can make shots. They will be a handful. I think that it is a game that if we control the tempo and make them play our style I think that it will be competitive.”
The tournament can be claimed as different and difficult because the tournament is a back to back event, the teams will play four days in a row with no rest and with little time to prepare for the next game in between .
The Jays will hope to have quick turn around between the games and being able to adapt to what team comes next while staying in control.
“If we are able to control the tempo throughout the whole tournament then we should end up successful,” explained Carpenter.
The Jays will take the court for the first round of Blue & Gold on Monday, Dec. 27, starting at 12:30 p.m.
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