The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 22, 2012

Cards ready for test

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Webb City High School boys basketball coach Landon Cornish expects a challenge for the Cardinals when they take the floor on Wednesday in the first round of the Neosho Holiday Classic.

West Memphis (Ark.) and Webb City are scheduled to tip off at 4:30 p.m. in the Neosho High School gym.

“It will be a challenge,” Cornish said. “That’s what we need for our conference (Central Ozark Conference Large Division) and if we have any playoff aspirations. We’ll have to beat some good teams.”

Cornish said that Class 7A West Memphis recently won two games in the Riverbend Classic in southeast Missouri. The Blue Devils beat Kennett 74-53 and New Madrid County Central 59-55.

“They’re athletic. They press. They have some length on film,” Cornish said. “Their game is similar to ours. This is a game that could be fast-paced and entertaining.”

Webb City, a semifinalist at Neosho in 2011, practiced on Saturday morning, Cornish said, but will take off today.

“We’ve had three days of hard practice,” Cornish said. “They’ve been pretty rough. We’ll practice Monday morning and have a light practice on Wednesday before playing in the afternoon.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to play,” Cornish said. “The kids right now are excited. They’re confident. We’re improving. We’re building.”

The tournament will open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday with Carthage facing Van Buren (Ark.).

Neosho and Bentonville, which has handed Webb City its lone loss in six games, clash at 12:30 p.m. St. Joseph Lafayette and Morrilton (Ark.) tangle at 2 before the slate resumes with Webb City and West Memphis.

Night games are Pierce City vs. St. Louis Christian at 6 and McDonald County vs. Kansas City Ruskin at 7:30.

Defending champion Wichita Sunrise Christian will debut against the Carthage-Van Buren winner at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of Webb City-West Memphis will face Memphis Sheffield at 7:30.