By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Travis Vogt and his fellow Carl Junction seniors didn’t want to end their careers without a district championship.
Well, the Bulldogs finally have one. Carl Junction rallied from a 31-17 halftime deficit to beat Carthage 65-60 in overtime of the Class 4 District 12 championship on Saturday at Carthage High School. Carl Junction advances to Class 4 sectionals against Republic at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Ozark High School. It was Carl Junction’s first district championship since the 1950s.
“I’ve had a sour taste in my mouth the past three years not winning it,” Vogt said. “So I was doing everything in my will to get this championship.”
Vogt led the Bulldogs with 30 points, scoring 14 in the third quarter to help cut Carthage’s lead to 47-41.
“He was going to do whatever he had to do,” Carl Junction coach Kyle Williams said. “He didn’t care what it was, whether score a point or a get a rebound. He was going to do anything to ensure that this legacy continued. We had somebody different step up big every night.”
Third-seeded Carl Junction needed a variety of players to win three games in three consecutive nights.
The Bulldogs survived a poor shooting night to beat McDonald County 51-44 in the first round on Thursday. Carl Juntion trailed Webb City by 10 points in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 61-57 overtime victory on Friday night.
“It’s another night like last night where our kids had to fight,” Williams said. “Early in the year, I told our guys that we needed to have some games where we come back in order to win a championship. Leadership was huge. Kids stepped up and made plays. This was a total team effort with great senior leadership.”
Ten first-quarter points from Carthage senior forward Nathan Reid, who led his team with 30 points, helped the Tigers jump out to an 18-10 lead early.
A 3-pointer by Cory Prevost and a pair of inside buckets by Jaryd Coss helped fourth-seeded Carthage extend the lead to 31-17 by halftime.
Carl Junction turned to Vogt in the second half. He scored 21 of his 30 points during the final three periods. A Vogt 3-pointer tied the game at 56 with 2:26 remaining. Matt Magee followed with a driving basket to pull ahead 58-56, giving the Bulldogs their first lead since the opening minutes.
Reid hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 58 and send it to overtime. Carthage took an early 60-58 overtime lead when Coss scored inside. However, Carl Junction outscored the Tigers 7-0 the rest of the way.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” Carthage coach Steve Ray said. “You have to take your hat off to Carl Junction. They were the higher seed, but that took something to come here and beat us on our home floor with the way we played early.”
It was an emotional loss for the Tigers after knocking off top-seeded Nevada on Friday night and then surrendering a double-digit lead to Carl Junction. Reid averaged 27 points over the three nights.
“Nate was honorable mention all-conference and fourth or fifth on the all-district list,” Ray said. “But I don’t know if there’s a player in southwest Missouri I’d rather have. That kid was really, really good for us.”