The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

December 22, 2012

Quapaw claims key win in league

Quapaw’s boys finished their pre-holiday basketball schedule by claiming a major victory.

The Wildcats clipped visiting Oklahoma Union 62-61 on Friday night in the Lucky ‘7’ Conference to avenge a 61-52 setback administered on Dec. 8 in the championship game of the Afton Coca-Cola Classic.

Winning the clash of Class 2A Oklahoma teams boosted Quapaw to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the league.

“We knew we’d have a tough game,” Quapaw coach Aaron Bland said Saturday. “It was an important game. This one had conference as well as redemption.”

Bland said that two free throws by 6-foot-1 senior Justin King gave the Wildcats a 62-58 lead in the closing seconds and allowed them to withstand Channing Williams’ trey for Oklahoma Union.

“I thought we had a good second quarter and carried the momentum into the second half,” Bland said.

The Wildcats received 21 points from 6-3 senior Heath Glerup, 13 from King and 11 from 5-9 senior Tyler Bacon. Point guard Williams had six treys in scoring 25 for Oklahoma Union.

Bland’s usual starters are Bacon, Glerup, King, 6-1 senior Blake Burrows and 6-4 senior Greyson Williams (Bland’s son).

Leaders off the bench, Bland said, have been 6-2 senior Cody Adams, 6-3 senior Dakota Kirby and 6-1 sophomore Beau Kibel.

Rounding out the current 10-player roster are freshmen Garrett Kelley and Sean Tune.

Bland, who’s assisted by Terry Tyree Jr., said he has no complaints about the senior-dominated Wildcats at this point in the season.

“We’re coming along just right,” Bland said. “We just need to keep improving and doing the things we’ve been doing.

“No complaints,” Bland emphasized with a laugh. “Not right now, anyway.”

Bland believes he has three players scoring in double figures — Bacon, Glerup and Williams. Bacon is the point guard. Williams and Glerup probably rank 1-2 in rebounding.

Bland, who’s in his fifth season at Quapaw, returned all of the starters from a 17-8 team that finished 10-2 in league with its losses 60-53 and 51-46 to champion Welch.

Williams shared offensive player of the year honors in the league with Welch senior Austin Buchanan. Bacon, Burrows and Glerup also earned all-conference designation.

Bland, a 1992 graduate of Wyandotte High School, attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M of Miami two years before securing his degree from Northeastern State of Tahlequah.

The 39-year-old Bland spent seven years at Wyandotte before moving to Quapaw.

The Wildcats resume in the league on Jan. 8 by entertaining Colcord. Quapaw then will compete in the Ripley Tournament on Jan. 10-12 with its opening contest against Class 3A Chandler.

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