The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 31, 2013

Seneca adjusts after early season injury

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

— The loss of senior guard Daniel Noah to a knee injury in the fourth game of the season was a tough blow to the Seneca Indians.

After all, Noah was a senior leader who received an all-Big 8 honorable mention and helped the Indians earn a three-way tie for the conference championship as a junior.

“He’s a great player,” Seneca coach Will King said. “He’s a great defender. He was all-conference. It was difficult to lose him for the season. We had some adjusting to do after that.”

Seneca’s first game without Noah resulted in a 55-53 triple-overtime loss to Lamar. The Indians also suffered early losses to St. Mary’s-Colgan and Diamond.

However, the Indians adjusted to the loss and started to hit their stride in mid-January. Seneca (14-6 overall, 2-0 Big 8) boasts a pair of wins against Carl Junction and avenged its early loss to Lamar with a 64-59 victory on Tuesday.

“I’ve been really pleased lately,” King said. “We’ve been playing real well together. I think we have a special group. We have a good mix of players, and they are very selfless.”

Then Indians trailed Lamar 31-24 at halftime on Tuesday but rallied for the win. The aptly named Bradley Jumper hit four 3-pointers and led Seneca with 20 points. Seth Harris added three treys.

“We have really good shooters,” King said. “Bradley Jumper and Seth Harris are both making 40 percent of their 3-pointers.”

Senior point guard Kyler Ng leads the Indians in scoring with 14.6 points per game. However, the returning co-conference player of the year helps the Indians in numerous ways.

“He’s a very intelligent player and has great skill,” King said. “Even when he doesn’t lead us in scoring, he does so much. He gets us assists, rebounds, steals and he even blocks shots. We’re so lucky to have him.”

Inside, the Indians look to a trio of 6-foot-2 forwards in Logan St. Clair, Chance Smith and Elias Roelfsema. Each produce about seven points per game. St. Clair put up 17 in Tuesday’s win at Lamar.

Harris, Shane Murphy, Payton Rawlins and Jason Mendoza provide depth off the bench.

Seneca will try to remain unbeaten in the Big 8 as it travels to face Aurora on Friday.

“It will be a tough game,” King said. “Our conference is a battle every game. You have to be sharp every night.”

Big nightS for Littlefield

Cady Littlefield, a 5-11 junior forward for the Diamond Wildcats, nearly doubled her scoring average with 26 points in a 45-40 overtime win against Seneca on Tuesday night at the Seneca Tournament.

Littlefield entered the game with a 13.2 scoring average, but she has had some big performances lately. She scored 29 points in a 50-49 win over Roland on Saturday at the NEO Tournament. She also pulls down more than seven rebounds per game.

Panther duo combines for 44

Senior Dyson Dechant (23) and sophomore Austin Commons (21) combined for 44 points as the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers defeated the Girard Trojans 59-53 on Tuesday night at Colgan.

Colgan (11-3) improved to 2-0 in the CNC with the win, bouncing back from a 47-39 nonconference loss at Lamar on Friday.

The Panthers will travel to Southeast for another league game on Friday.

Clever’s Fisher hot from 3-point land

Clever Blue Jays senior Dalton Fisher connected on 7-of-10 three-point attempts in a 63-36 win against East Newton this past Saturday.

Fisher, who has helped the Blue Jays to a 17-3 record, scored 25 points in the win. It was one of his four recent 20-point outings, also scoring at least 20 against Forsyth, Blue Eye and Mount Vernon.

He averages 18.3 points, while compiling about four assists and three rebounds per game.

Fisher has made seven 3-pointers in a game twice this season. He was 7-for-12 with 25 points in a 60-44 win over Sarcoxie in December.