By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Daniel Stokes picked a fitting time to have his biggest game of the season.
The Joplin senior scored 21 points — including 10 in the second quarter — to help the Eagles defeat the Glendale Falcons 72-57 during senior night on Tuesday at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
“We’re pretty good when Daniel scores,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “That shares the wealth and takes a little pressure off Charlie (Brown) and Adam (St. Peter). We had three young men in double figures, and I’m proud of that. The kids played with a lot of emotions.”
The game was a breakthrough for Stokes, who has been playing with a knee brace all season after tearing his ACL twice over the past year. The senior made 4-of-6 3-pointers and also was able to get past defenders off the dribble.
“Daniel’s got a lot of courage,” Williams said. “He’s been the best guy that we could put in that spot because of his ballhandling. I’m just glad his offense got on track tonight. He made shots going to the basket that he’s been unable to make. I hope nothing happens to Dan to further injure him. But I think he realizes that it’s toward the end here, and he’s just going to let it out.”
Stokes said the injury has limited him some this season.
“It’s definitely tough, but I just have to work through it,” he said. “I love basketball, so I’m going to keep playing.”
Stokes was the highlight of a great senior night for the Eagles. All eight seniors played and seven scored as Joplin beat Glendale for the first time in Williams’ four years as coach.
“Every time we have a senior night, I wish for this,” Williams said. “I’m really happy for them. I think it will go down in their memory to beat Glendale on senior night.”
However, it was a rough start for the Eagles.
Joplin (13-9, 3-5 Ozark Conference) looked out of sync early with three turnovers and an intentional foul, and Glendale took a 10-2 lead at the 4:48 mark of the first quarter.
After a full timeout, the Eagles responded by outscoring the Falcons 9-4 for the rest of the quarter.
“We came together as a team, and we’re always going to fight back,” Stokes said.
Then the Eagles took control in the second quarter. St. Peter opened the quarter with a three-point play and Brown and Stokes followed with 3-pointers to help Joplin take a 20-17 lead with 5:22 left in the half. Joplin outscored Glendale 22-12 in the second quarter to take a 33-26 lead into halftime.
Brown scored 20 and St. Peter had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles.
Glendale junior Cameron Maes scored a game-high 26 points.
Joplin will try for another conference win on Friday at Waynesville.