By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Shots from point-blank range rimmed out. Jumpers fell short. Free throws weren’t any better.
Still somehow, some way, the Carl Junction Bulldogs clawed their way to a 51-44 victory over McDonald County on Thursday night at Carthage High School.
The win advances the Bulldogs to the Class 4 District 12 semifinals against Webb City at 7:30 tonight.
“We shot pretty atrocious all night long,” Carl Junction coach Kyle Williams said. “Shots fell short, and they let it affect them mentally. But I told them after the game, ‘Who cares? We won. We did what we needed to advance.’ We were good enough to play poorly and still win.”
However, the third-seeded Bulldogs didn’t make it easy on themselves. Carl Junction was 7-for-19 at the free-throw line. McDonald County, meanwhile, shot 12-for-16 at the line to push the Bulldogs.
Mustangs senior forward Drey Fickle, who scored 10 points, made an inside bucket to tie the game at 43 with less than two minutes left.
Fickle and Austin Grotts hurt Carl Junction inside, while McDonald County senior guard Tyler Sherwood hit two 3-pointers and led the Mustangs with 18 points.
“Give McDonald County credit,” Williams said. “They had a good game plan, and they played hard.”
And the Bulldogs made shots when they needed them the most.
Carl Junction freshman guard Jon Devore followed Fickle’s tying bucket with a 3-pointer. Then, Carl Junction’s Travis Vogt and Devore combined to make 3 of 4 free throws in the game’s final minute to seal the win.
Vogt led Carl Junction with 18 points, while Dustin Satterlee scored 14 and Devore had 12.
Carl Junction faces a tough challenge against second-seeded Webb City tonight, but Williams is staying optimistic.
“There’s no way we’re going to shoot that poorly two nights in a row,” he said.
Carthage 67, Monett 37
Carthage senior Nathan Reid said his team was in need of a spark.
An on-target alley oop pass from Cory Prevost to Reid for a rim-rattling dunk certainly provided one.
The first-quarter dunk was the first points of a game-high 23 points from Reid and helped spark a 17-2 run that allowed the Tigers to run away from the Monett Cubs.
With the victory, the fourth-seeded Tigers advance to face No. 1 Nevada at 6 p.m. today in the semifinals.
“We just needed something to get us going, and that was the play to do it,” Reid said. “It was a perfect pass. It was right on the money.”
Reid went on to have two more dunks and scored 16 points in the first half.
“He’s such a hard matchup, because of his size and how well he can handle the ball,” Carthage coach Steve Ray said. “When he’s aggressive like that, we do well.”
Monett trailed only 8-5 at the 4:43 mark of the first quarter. Then came Carthage’s flurry.
The run was started by a Reid layup off a turnover to give Carthage a 10-5 lead. Reid followed with the alley oop. On Carthage’s next possession, sophomore center Jaryd Coss converted a three-point play to give the Tigers a 15-5 lead with 1:53 left in the first quarter.
By the time the run was over, Carthage led 25-7 with 5:34 left in the first half.
Coss added 12 points for Carthage. Kyle Woods led Monett with eight.