The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 26, 2013

Seneca, Strafford clash in Class 3 sectional

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Seneca’s boys threw the proverbial wrench into Strafford’s apparent desired basketball rematch with Mount Vernon.

Now, of course, Seneca hopes to take the disruption another step.

Seneca and Strafford — a clash of Indians — will tangle tonight at 6 in the sectional round of the MSHSAA Class 3 playoffs at Baptist Bible College in Springfield.

Seneca, 22-7, reached the first round on its floor by beating Big 8 Conference rival Mount Vernon 51-47 in overtime on Saturday night. Strafford, 23-4, ousted Fair Grove 65-56 in a clash of Mid-Lakes Conference members in the District 11 final at Hollister.

Mount Vernon, en route to fourth place in Class 3 last season, eliminated Strafford in the sectional round.

Strafford standout Jacob Wade told Matt Schoch in the Springfield News-Leader that the team had wanted a rematch with Mount Vernon.

Said Wade: “Every time we see the Mount Vernon score in the paper, it sets fire to us. Every time, it makes us so mad. We want to show everybody that was a fluke last year.”

Seneca coach Will King indicated on Tuesday that Wade, a junior, had the right to say what was on his mind after his effort of 22 points and 18 rebounds against Fair Grove.

“He will be a force,” King said of Wade. “He’s 6-foot-3 and stout. He’s their horse. They have athletic players around him that have the ability to play very well.

“Strafford is a real good ballclub,” King said. “Coach (Mike) Wilson has been there several years. He always does a great job.

“Strafford also has experience in the postseason,” King said. “They were second in state in 2010-11.

“Strafford, again, is a very good team that has lost to good, big schools,” King said.

Strafford has lost twice to Ozark and once to Springfield Kickapoo and Jackson.

Probable starters for Seneca are 6-0 senior Kyler Ng, 5-9 junior Bradley Jumper, 6-2 junior Elias Roelfsema, 6-2 junior Chance Smith and 6-2 senior Logan St. Clair.

Completing a leading eight for Seneca are 5-10 senior Shane Murphy, 5-8 junior Seth Harris and 6-2 junior Payton Rawlins.

Ng is averaging some 16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Jumper, St. Clair, Harris, Roelfsema and Smith are contributing averages of 7-10 points, King said, with Roelfsema, Smith and St. Clair adding about 5-6 boards.

Wilson’s likely starters for Strafford, with Wade, are 5-9 sophomore Brady Collier, 6-1 sophomore Kyle Foley, 6-2 senior Blake Alexander and 6-0 sophomore Dalton Taylor.

Notes: King, who’s assisted by Toby Roelfsema, Josh Yarnell and Jamie Lankford, is a graduate of Seneca (1995) and Missouri Southern. King is in his ninth season at Seneca after two at Chadwick and two assisting Brad Barton with the Indians. Said King: “The joke around here is that I can’t win a district without Coach (Toby) Roelfsema. He helped us win as a player as a sophomore and junior and he’s in his first year as an assistant.” ... Seneca had gone 1-3 in overtime games this season before nudging the Mountaineers last week. ... Carl Junction, Mount Vernon and Seneca tied at 6-1 for the Big 8 crown this season for the second straight year. ... The Seneca-Strafford winner faces Hartville or Fatima in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Saturday in Springfield at Drury’s O’Reilly Family Event Center. ... Tonight’s 7:45 girls game at BBC is Ash Grove vs. Fair Grove.