The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 10, 2013

Olathe South brings top seed to Joplin tourney

Olathe South, the No. 1 seed, will open its basketball season in the Freeman/Joplin Lady Eagle Classic scheduled Thursday through Saturday in the Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium at Missouri Southern State University.

The Kansas Class 6A Falcons, new to the 17th annual event, weren’t able to find a season-opening, nonconference opponent last week, coach Steve Ingram lamented Tuesday.

“I’m pleased with our talent,” Ingram said. “We’re itching to go (start the season).”

The schedule on Thursday is Blue Valley West (Stilwell, Kan.) vs. Olathe South at 4 p.m., Marshfield vs. fourth-seeded Harrison (Ark.) at 5:30, Joplin vs. No. 2 Webb City at 7 and Neosho vs. No. 3 Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber at 8:30.

Friday’s session also will start at 4 p.m. Saturday’s seventh-place contest will tip off at 2 p.m. Daily admission prices are $3 and $2.

Har-Ber defeated Harrison 48-39 in the 2012 championship game.

Olathe South, which graduated two players, has four returning starters from a 20-2 ballclub that lost to Wichita Heights in the first round of the Kansas Class 6A Tournament in Koch Arena at Wichita.

Players with starting experience are 5-foot-9 senior Bailey Rinehart, 6-1 senior Samantha Samskey, 5-10 junior Kylee Kopatich and 5-10 junior Jordan Morton.

Zoe Matje, a 5-7 sophomore, probably will complete the starters against Blue Valley West, Ingram said.

Olathe South, which lost Rinehart (who was averaging 16.6 points) to an ACL injury in Game 7, reached the state tourney for the ninth year in a row.

Point guard Kopatich, who’s verbally committed to Kansas State, earned all-state honors in 2012-13 with averages of 17.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.5 steals.

Olathe South shared honors in the 12-team Sunflower League for the second year in a row after seven consecutive titles. Morton joined Kopatich in earning all-Sunflower laurels.

Ingram is in his 25th season at Olathe South and bagged a state crown in 2010.

Ingram, out of Shawnee Mission South and Kansas State, coached boys for 13 seasons at three other schools, including eight years as head coach at Emporia, before moving to Olathe South.

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