The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 26, 2014

Winning record shows progress for Exeter boys

The Exeter High School boys basketball team, although ousted by Chadwick in the first round of the Class 1 District 4 Tournament at Sparta, turned in a special season for coach Jay Allen.

The Tigers, counting a forfeit, were 13-10 for their first winning season in some 20 years.

What is known is that Tom Linkous guided the Tigers to records of 15-10 in 1988-89, 14-13 in 1989-90 and 17-10 in 1990-91. Sam Knight logged four straight winning seasons in the mid-1970s with the 1975-76 edition, going 27-3 overall, taking at least a share of a third straight Ozark 6 Conference title and reaching the first round in Class 1.

Tom Hewgley finished 27-6 in 1961-62 and 35-0 in 1962-63 — topping Class S — and Charles Posey boosted the winning streak to 52 before Wheaton prevailed 67-64 in mid-January 1964 in the Red Division final of the Golden City Tournament.

The Eagles fell on hard times in the late 1990s. They gained national notoriety with a 182-game losing streak.

But Allen, who’s completing his third season as the boys coach, believes the success can be sustained.

“We should have quickness and firepower returning,” Allen said. “We could compete for the Ozark 7 Conference and districts. We should have five or six guys capable of leading us in scoring. Responsibilities will be more spread out.”

Colten Stringer, who reached 1,001 career points in the loss to Chadwick, won’t return. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior averaged more than 25 points and some seven rebounds.

Joining Stringer in the starting lineup were 5-6 senior James Kho, 6-0 senior Ty Pendergraft, 5-9 junior Terry Cook and 6-0 junior Blake Walker.

Michael Brattin, 5-8, who started several games, was the Tigers’ fourth senior.

Junior Josh Hood and sophomore Codie Evatt joined Brattin in leading the Tigers off the bench, Allen said.

Completing the varsity roster of 10 were juniors Dylan Henry and Clint Bradford.

Allen, 37, said that finishing with more than a .500 record wasn’t the No. 1 goal.

“We really wanted to win the (Ozark 7) conference (claimed by Washburn Southwest at 6-0),” Allen said. “We tied with Purdy at 4-2 for second place. Our focus was on the Ozark 7.

“Obviously, we (the Tigers were seeded second) had a shot against Chadwick,” Allen said. “We weren’t at full strength with Cook and Kho, our point guards, physically below par. Cook played about 10 minutes. We entered Kho in the fourth quarter, basically to honor him, and he was a warrior. Still, we had a tying trey rim out at the buzzer.”

Allen, who’s assisted by Chris Seymour, played basketball for the late Gil Hanlin at Blue Springs High School and graduated in 1995. He attended Missouri-Kansas City for a year before securing his undergraduate degree from Missouri-Columbia.

Allen began coaching at State Fair Community College in Sedalia — helping women’s coach Dale Kimberling — before stints at Smithton, Springdale Har-Ber and California at the prep level. He’s in his fifth season overall at Exeter.

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