The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 24, 2013

Mount Vernon, Reeds Spring to clash

Mountaineers 3-3 going into tournament

— Mount Vernon’s boys are seeded sixth in the Blue Division of the annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.

Mount Vernon and Reeds Spring clash at 8 p.m. on Thursday in Hammons Student Center at Missouri State University in Springfield.

The Class 3 Mountaineers have opened 3-3, and coach Skip Brock, who’s logged more than 400 varsity wins, isn’t disappointed with the beginning.

“We believe we’re right where we need to be entering the Blue and Gold Tournament,” Brock said Monday night. “Our early schedule was brutal. We’ve been improving. Hopefully, like we did last season, we’ll get on a roll and really start playing well during the Blue and Gold.”

Mount Vernon has lost to three Missouri Class 5 teams — Nixa, Waynesville and Hazelwood Central. The 65-50 loss to Hazelwood Central came last Saturday in the Route 66 Shootout at Waynesville.

Waynesville, in winning the Rogers (Ark.) Arvest Hoopfest, defeated Mount Vernon in the first round. Mount Vernon salvaged fifth by beating Pea Ridge (Ark.) and Tulsa Edison.

Mount Vernon has three junior starters returning from a 22-7 edition that shared the Big 8 Conference title with Carl Junction and Seneca at 6-1. Mount Vernon lost 51-47 in overtime to Seneca in the finals of the District 3-12 Tournament at Seneca.

Returning starters are 6-foot-2 Braden Adams, 6-0 Luke Call and 6-4 Chandler Myers.

Brock said that seniors Joey Curl (6-2) and Grayson Ketron (6-3) complete the probable starters against Reeds Spring.

Brock said that leading reserves currently include 5-10 junior Ezra Emerson, 5-10 junior Daniel Redfearn, 5-9 sophomore Jordan Walters and 6-2 sophomore Trace Williams.

All-leaguer Myers, who shot 70.4 percent from the field in 2012-13, averaged 19 points and 7.4 rebounds. Call and Adams averaged 10 and 3.1 points, respectively.

Mount Vernon has won three Blue and Gold crowns — Blue in 1947, Blue in 1993 and Blue in 2006.

“Playing in the Blue and Gold is a tradition at Mount Vernon,” Brock said. “We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.

“Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas for my family if we weren’t preparing for the Blue and Gold,” Brock said.

“I was fortunate to play for Joplin Parkwood and coach Russ Kaminsky in the Blue and Gold,” Brock said. “I’ve been fortunate to coach Mount Vernon (two different stints) and Camdenton in the Blue and Gold.”

Remainder of the Blue Division first round: Marshfield (8) vs. Spokane, 9:30 a.m.; Kickapoo (1) vs. Ash Grove, 11 a.m.; Rogersville (5) vs. Clever, 12:30 p.m.; Branson (4) vs. Mountain Grove, 4; Crane (7) vs. Hollister, 5; Ozark (3) vs. Skyline, 8:30.

Central Ozark Conference Large Division powers Nixa and Republic are the top two seeds in the Gold Division. Its first round will be held in JQH Arena.

With a win, Mount Vernon would advance to a 2 p.m. game on Friday against Ozark or Skyline in JQH Arena.

“Our focus obviously is on Reeds Spring,” Brock said. “Reeds Spring, under former East Newton coach Barry Yocom, is coming off an impressive win against Ava. Reeds Spring is balanced and very physical. We expect a challenging game.”

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