The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 5, 2014

Webb City boys off to 'fresh start' with a victory

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — As far as Webb City boys basketball coach Landon Cornish is concerned, his team’s record is 1-0.

Of course, Cornish knows the Cardinals are actually 8-18. However, he wants his team to approach the district tournament like a new season.

So far, so good.

Webb City held off Monett 41-39 during the first round of the Class 4 District 12 tournament on Tuesday night at Carl Junction High School. The Cardinals will face top-seeded Carl Junction at 7 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.

“We’re 1-0 right now,” Cornish said. “That’s our mantra. We have a young team, and this is a fresh start.”

Monett ends its season with an 8-18 record. The Cubs lost 10 games by four points or less.

Webb City limited Monett to only three field goals in the second half, but free throws kept the Cubs in the game. Monett was 16-for-24 at the free-throw line, while Webb City was only 3-for-6. All six of Webb City’s free-throw attempts came in the game’s final 1:09.

“That was one thing we talked about,” Cornish said. “We wanted to get more free throws. We needed to take it to the basket more. Early, we were trying to live off the 3-pointer. That’s not our strong suit.”

Senior guard Clay Gardner led the Cardinals with 12 points. Sophomore guard Tyson Roderique contributed 11.

Webb City held a 38-30 lead with 3:22 left. Monett responded by causing turnovers with its pressure defense and making 5-of-6 free throws over the next minute to make it 38-35 with 2:13 left.

Free throws by Gardner and Trey Gibson helped the Cardinals cling to a 41-39 lead with 21 seconds left. Logan Coones’ shot attempt at the buzzer was no good.

Coones led the Cubs with 11 points. Jonah Paszek scored 10.

Monett held an early 14-4 lead, but Webb City rallied to take a 21-19 halftime advantage.

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