The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 30, 2013

McAuley fends off College Heights rally

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— McAuley Catholic’s boys withstood a fourth-quarter rally by College Heights and defeated the Cougars 50-41 Tuesday night in the McAuley Warrior Classic.

Cole Lowry, a 5-foot-11 senior, led the Warriors with 20 points, including eight in the first quarter as McAuley grabbed a 15-3 lead.

The victory extended McAuley’s winning streak to four games. The Warriors (9-10) have won seven of their last 10 games.

In the girls’ game, College Heights held Wheaton without a field goal in the first half and defeated the Bulldogs 45-9.

The tournament resumes with three games Thursday night — Exeter girls vs. Carl Junction B at 5:30, College Heights boys vs. Springfield Catholic at 7 and McAuley boys vs. Carl Junction B at 8:30.

College Heights’ boys trailed by at least nine points after the first quarter until Josh Woodmansee, a 6-3 sophomore, scored 12 points during a 3 1/2-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that brought the Cougars to within 42-37 with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining.

“We would get a nice lead, then decide to relax defensively,” said McAuley head coach Randy Robertson. “I think we had a 16-point lead and just couldn’t or wouldn’t put them away.”

McAuley led 30-14 and 31-15 midway through the third quarter. College Heights quickly pulled to within 31-21 on a three-point play by Dagen Worthington and a 3-pointer by Woodmansee, who led the Cougars with 20 points.

“He’s capable of doing that,” said College Heights head coach Eric Johnson. “He has had a good January.

“Our kids play hard and don’t give up. You have to play hard to get better.”

McAuley rebuilt a 15-point lead on a three-point play by Lathan Vlasin 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, and led 42-27 on a basket by Vlasin assisted by Shaw Robertson with 6:20 remaining.

Robertson, a 6-4 senior, was held to four points in the first half. He and Connor Schlegel each finished with 10 points.

“Shaw has become more of a complete player with his assists,” Robertson said. “He made some really good passes to Cole and Lathan. Their 2-3 zone gave us a hard time in the first half, then we got that one solved.”

College Heights’ girls, who have been limited to six players in the last two weeks because of illness, had eight players in each of the first two tournament games.

The Cougars’ defensive pressure helped them build a 17-2 halftime lead. Wheaton’s first field goal came on a basket by senior Shelby Medley, assisted by Amanda Munday, with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. Medley led Wheaton with four points.

“We’ve been sitting back in a zone most of the year because we’ve been short on players,” said College Heights head coach John Blankenship. “Sometimes, that creates diminished intensity.

“We made a decision tonight, foul trouble or not, that we were going to extend our defense and make a push at the end of the season.”

Kirsty Green led the Cougars with 18 points and nine steals. Two of her four 3-pointers came in the first three minutes of the game.

Afton Clevenger had nine points and nine rebounds for the Cougars (5-13), and Bre Shores scored nine points. Jasmine Johnson and Brogan Ward each had seven rebounds.