The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

December 12, 2012

Schremmer: Lamar players adjust on the fly to different sport

Several of the Lamar Tigers’ football players didn’t get a whole lot of time to relish their second consecutive Class 2 state championship.

A day after beating Blair Oaks 69-41 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, those who also play basketball had to participate in a shoot-around. Two days later, the Tigers were playing in their first game of the season.

All but two of Lamar’s varsity boys players were on the football team, and one of those two was on the swimming team. When Missouri basketball teams were allowed to have their first practices, the Tigers had only six kids from their freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams combined.

“It’s been good, and it’s been bad,” Lamar coach Joel Braden said. “The good part about it has been the kids. It was a rough turnaround for them, but they work hard and have great attitudes.”

The early results have been mixed. Lamar (4-3) opened the season with wins over Golden City and Liberal, then followed that with consecutive losses to Billings and Diamond. In the past week, the Tigers beat Seneca 55-53, lost 59-53 to Miami and beat Lockwood 47-33 on Tuesday night.

“(Tuesday) was our seventh game, and we’ve had seven practices,” Braden said. “We’re still lacking in conditioning and lacking in basketball decision making. If we had more practices, we may have had different outcomes in some of those games. The thing for us to do is let them get their legs under them until Christmas and then come back in January and make a run.”

Several of Lamar’s key players from football are in important roles on the basketball team, including quarterback Tripp Tucker, running back Brett McDonald, linebacker Chad Rice, tight end Sam Bailey, offensive lineman Ben Bailey and tight end Trenton Mooney. Braden said he can tell that winning attitude has carried over to the basketball team.

“It’s a huge factor,” he said. “The kids have been competing all year and know how to win and what type of work and effort goes into winning. The games we’ve won are because we have hard working, competitive kids. They’re not real fond of losing, and that’s a great trait to have.”

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High School Sports