The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

March 16, 2013

Webb City faces Goliath of Missouri girls basketball

COLUMBIA, Mo. — There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

The Webb City girls basketball team enters the state championship as sizable underdogs.

When the Cardinals take the floor in the MSHSAA Class 4 state title game at 4:50 p.m. today at Mizzou Arena, they will be facing a nationally ranked Incarnate Word Academy team that hasn’t had a close game since November.

“They are extremely athletic,” Webb City coach Brad Shorter said. “I would venture to guess most of those kids play year round. It’s a basketball school. Coach (Dan) Rolfes does a really nice job with them, and they are kind of the Goliath of Missouri girls basketball right now.”

The Red Knights (30-0) have dismantled all of their competition during the state tournament. Incarnate Word beat Dexter 66-25 in the semifinals on Thursday. Before that, the Red Knights rolled past once-beaten Kirksville 78-26 in the quarterfinals and clobbered MICDS 61-36 in the sectionals.

Incarnate Word has won 26 of its 30 games by 20 points or more. The Red Knights’ only game played within single digits was a 59-56 win over Hoover (Ala.) to open the season on Nov. 24. Hoover won the Alabama Class 6A state championship.

The St. Louis-based private school features numerous collegiate prospects.

Napheesa Collier, a 6-1 sophomore forward, entered the semifinals averaging 24.4 points and 11.7 rebounds. She totaled 28 points and 16 boards against Dexter.

“She’s phenomenal,” Shorter said. “She may be the best girls basketball player in the state of Missouri right now as a sophomore.”

Guards Nia Roth and Nakiah Bell average 11.7 and 10.8 points, respectively.

Gwen Adams, a 6-0 junior forward, and McKenna Treece, a 6-3 junior center, provide the Red Knights two more big bodies inside. Both average about 7 points and 5 rebounds.

So now that you’ve heard all the reasons people are saying Webb City can’t win, let the Cardinals tell you why they believe they can.

“We play together as a team, and that’s how we’ve always played,” Webb City sophomore forward Desirea Buerge said. “If we do everything right and listen to our coaches and not try to go off on our own, we can be pretty dang good. When we play together and listen, things get rolling.”

Webb City (25-5) is coming off a 54-53 win against Smithville on Thursday. Junior point guard Mikaela Burgess led the Cardinals with 23 points and five steals. Buerge added 13 points, and junior forward Casey Heger provided 10 points and 12 rebounds. They, along with junior Kaitlin Beason, have all produced 20-point games this season.

The Cardinals may match up with Incarnate Word as well as any team in the state. The 6-2 Heger and 6-0 Buerge are athletic posts who also can shoot from the outside. Burgess is one of the premier point guards in the state with her ability to drive with either hand and pull up for a 3-pointer. In the win over Smithville, Burgess made four treys and converted two three-point plays.

The outside shooting of Beason and freshman guard Lexey Kneib provide the Cardinals with two more weapons.

“I think we have the most heart, and I think we have a lot of talent on our team,” Heger said. “It’s just about how good we play as a team and playing unselfishly. I know they’re a good team, but I feel like we have the potential to beat them.”

Still, the Cardinals aren’t downplaying the challenge before them. Specifically, Heger and Buerge will have their work cut out for them against Collier and Incarnate’s other post players.

“We’re just going to have to do a really good job,” Shorter said. “We can’t let her have second chances. We have to box her out. A kid like that is going to get some points. She may get 15 or 20. If we can keep her under 20, I think we’ve done an outstanding job on her. But we got to do a good job on everyone else, because it will take more than just her.”

A good start will likely be important for Webb City. The Red Knights jumped out to a 21-2 lead on Dexter, not allowing their semifinal opponent to make a field goal in the first quarter.

“We don’t want to play from behind,” Shorter said. “We’ve got to get out to a good start. By no means do we need to get up 10 or 15, but we’ve got to play solid ball. Incarnate Word has been fortunate that they haven’t had a whole lot of close games this season. We’d like to put them in one.”

Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Friday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 17, 2014

  • More volunteers, donations sought for ‘Victory 4 Haiti’

    The second meals-for-Haiti project, scheduled for April 26, is in need of donations and volunteers, organizers say. “Victory 4 Haiti,” a food-packaging event that will provide meals to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti, needs $60,000 to pay for about 280,000 meals.

    April 16, 2014

  • TIF proposal filed for development of area at 44th Street and Range Line

    Joplin’s Tax Increment Financing Commission will hold an informational meeting today on a proposal to establish a TIF district to pay for a wetlands project on property in the area of 44th Street and Range Line, where a developer wants to build a retail, office and hospitality district.

    April 16, 2014

  • 041614 MDOT5_72.jpg JATSO recommends 15 road projects for planning

    The reconstruction of the Highway 171/Interstate 49 interchange at Carthage and the construction of a limited-access highway on the west side of Joplin and Carl Junction are among the top highway projects to be identified by the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.

    The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.

    April 16, 2014

  • Joplin city attorney takes job in Lee’s Summit

    City Attorney Brian Head will leave his Joplin post next month for a job in Lee’s Summit in suburban Kansas City. Head submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning to Mayor Mike Seibert and the City Council. The council is his employer.

    April 16, 2014