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.