The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 11, 2014

Joplin sinks Wichita Word of Life, meets defending champion in Kaminsky Classic

The Joplin Eagles will have another opportunity to claim their home tournament’s trophy.

Joplin defeated Wichita Word of Life 67-47 during the semifinals of the Kaminsky Classic on Friday night at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.

The victory advances the Eagles to the championship game at 2 p.m. today against two-time defending champion Webster Groves (8-2). Joplin will be looking for its first Kaminsky title since 2001.

“We’ll be in the title game for the third time in five years,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “We’d like nothing more than to win the championship, but we’ll have to be on top of our game to do so. Webster Groves is a really good team.”

Webster Groves, which has won eight Kaminsky Classic titles, defeated Jefferson City 69-62 on Friday.

Joplin (7-2) earned its trip to the title game behind 26 points and eight rebounds from senior guard Charlie Brown and a strong team defensive effort.

“Defense was the key for us tonight,” Joplin senior center Spencer Lane said. “We had some key stops. Keiondre (Adams) made a lot of big plays, and Charlie (Brown) hit some big shots.”

Adams, a senior forward, recorded 16 points and six rebounds.

“He’s really developing into a player for us,” Williams said. “He’s getting comfortable as a varsity player, and he’s been real consistent for us.”

Jace Braker had 13 points, shooting 6-for-7 from the field.

Joplin jumped out to a 27-12 lead in the second quarter but allowed an 8-0 run by Word of Life (2-6) to make it 27-20 at halftime.

The Fire pulled as close as 29-24 ith 6:24 left in the third quarter, but Joplin responded with a 9-2 run.

A pair of 3-pointers from Brown and Jayden Hetiback helped Joplin take a 46-32 lead with 2:30 left in the third.

The Eagles shot 56.8 percent from the field, while limiting Word of Life to 39.6 percent.

Luka Radosevic, a 6-foot-8 center, led Word of Life with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Antwane Hicks added 14 points.

Webster Groves 69, Jefferson City 62

The Webster Grove Statesmen used seven 3-pointers and 27 points from Sam Craig to hold off a Jefferson City Jays rally.

“Sam Craig was phenomenal tonight,” Webster Groves coach Jay Blossom said. “And we needed almost every one of them.”

Webster Groves (8-2) held the lead almost the entire game, but Jefferson City (6-6) used 33 points and 11 rebounds from O.G. Anunoby to pull within two points in the fourth quarter.

Anunoby, a 6-foot-6 junior forward who is receiving interest from NCAA Division I schools, converted a three-point play to make it 62-60 with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter. Then Anunoby appeared to give the Jays a chance to tie or take the lead when he stole the ball on Webster Grove’s next possession. But the ball became loose, and a foul was called on Jefferson City’s Lucas Theroff as several players went to the floor.

Theroff was then called for a technical foul for protesting the call. That meant Webster Groves received two free throws for the foul and two more for the technical.

Alex Floresca made the first two free throws, and Craig hit the technical shots to give Webster Groves a 66-60 lead with 1:00 left.

“That was big,” Blossom said. “You got to knock those down when you have the opportunity. Those were big.”

After that, Jefferson City pulled no closer than five points.

The Jays will face World of Life in the third-place game at 12:30 p.m. today.

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