CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
During football season, Carl Junction scored on the game’s final play to beat Lamar and eventually win the Big 8 Conference championship.
This time, Carl Junction’s boys basketball team rallied from an early 10-point deficit to defeat Lamar 81-73 on Tuesday night.
The win keeps the Bulldogs in position to win their third straight Big 8 basketball title. Carl Junction (11-9, 3-0 Big 8) and Lamar (16-2, 2-1) both entered the game unbeaten in conference play.
“We decided to go full-court press pretty much the second half,” said senior guard Dustin Satterlee, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half. “I think that got to them a little bit.
“I’m sure they wanted redemption against us, but we just wanted to come out and beat them for a second sport in a row.”
Senior Matt Magee led all scorers with 25 points. Cody Vogt and Gaige Crockett added 12 points each for Carl Junction.
“At the end of the day, it came down to guard play,” Carl Junction coach Kyle Williams said. “Tonight, our guards were really good.”
Coming in with a size advantage, Lamar jumped out to a 23-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Senior post Sam Bailey led the Tigers with 15 points in the first half, mostly coming off second-chance opportunities.
“They were very physical,” Williams said. “We’ve played the No. 1 team in the state in Republic, and I haven’t seen a team as physical as them. They offensive rebound the ball well, but our guys just stayed with them ... We did a great job contesting shots all night long.”
Magee scored 10 points in the second quarter to help the Bulldogs enter the half tied at 36.
“The defensive intensity picked up a little bit, but we didn’t change what we were doing,” Williams said. “They got hot early and hit some shots. We adjusted a little bit defensively and woke up a little.”
Trailing 52-48 with 1:32 left in the third quarter, Magee converted a three-point play after being fouled while driving to the basket. The play not only cut Lamar’s lead to one, it also forced the Tigers to sit Bailey with four fouls.
Lamar coach Joel Braden said he planned on returning Bailey, who led Lamar with 19 points, to the game with about five minutes left.
“All of a sudden about the 5-minute mark, they pulled away from us by about six or eight,” he said. “We needed to go with a smaller lineup to defend a little better and get the ball down the floor against the press. Sam played a great game, and I feel bad that we ended up not being able to play him in the fourth but it just didn’t fit to what we were needing to do.”
Cody Vogt’s inside bucket gave the Bulldogs a 67-60 lead with 4:04 to play.
Carl Junction’s pressure defense forced Lamar into several turnovers and possibly playing faster than they would have liked.
“They kind of pushed us out of our comfort zone a little bit with the pressure they put on us,” Braden said. “They forced us to do some things we didn’t want to do.”
Carl Junction will be at Aurora on Friday, and Lamar will be at home against Mount Vernon on Friday.
Carl Junction girls 62, Lamar 41
Carl Junction jumped out to a 40-12 halftime lead, and the Bulldogs maintained their perfect record in the Big 8.
Bryce Boyd led the Bulldogs (11-9, 4-0 Big 8) with 13 points. Lindsey Showalter and Brenlee McPherson added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
“Our top seven players, we’re able to rotate through them very well,” Carl Junction coach Tiffany Dirks said. “We don’t lose a step at all when we bring players in and out. It shows we have very good team chemistry, and they’re very unselfish girls.”
Carl Junction forced Lamar into several turnovers with its halfcourt pressure.
“Pressure defense and spreading out our offense were the two keys tonight,” Dirks said.
The Bulldogs led 57-23 at the end of three quarters.
Trinity Cornell led Lamar with 10 points.
Carl Junction travels to face Aurora on Thursday, and will be at home against East Newton on Monday for a pair of conference games.
“From all the scouting reports I’ve seen, Aurora is the other team in the conference that’s doing very well right now,” Dirks said. “It’s a big game Thursday night followed by another tough one against East Newton on Monday.”