An annual holiday tradition in the Ozarks is underway with one upset and a near upset at the Greenwood Blue and Gold Basketball Tournament in Springfield.
First round Blue Division games at taking place at Hammons Student Center, with Gold Division contests being played at JQH Arena.
(1) Willard 46, Ava 42:
The Willard Tigers, seeded first in the Blue Division, narrowly escaped with a win over the Ava Bears at Hammons Center.
Ava led 21-17 at halftime, but the Tigers pulled ahead 30-26 after three quarters.
The Bears’ Andrew Dalton hit a jumper in the lane with 1:06 left in regulation, was fouled and made a free throw to give Ava a 42-40 lead.
But Willard’s Haden Brown hit a shot underneath the basket and was fouled with 15.7 seconds remaining. Brown also connected from the line to put the Tigers ahead 44-42.
Ava, with a chance to tie the game or win it with a three pointer, threw the ball out of bounds, and the Tigers’ Daniel Abreu hit two free throws with 6.4 seconds left to seal the win.
Abreu’s 15 points led the way for the Tigers, with Dalton scoring 21 points for Ava.
Branson 50, (#5) Lebanon 47 (Overtime):
The Pirates pulled off the first upset of the tournament with a thrilling overtime win in the Blue Division at Hammons Center.
Lebanon took a 10-4 lead after one quarter, but the Pirates led 17-15 at the half.
The second half was tight throughout, with both teams tied 28-28 at the end of three periods and 41-41 at the end of regulation.
The Yellow Jackets nearly won the game in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
Trailing 41-39, Branson’s D’Shawn Craigg was fouled while shooting from beyond the arc, and made two of three free throws to knot the contest 41-41.
Lebanon got the ball down court and missed a layup at the buzzer that would have won the game.
Darion Williams hit a shot underneath the basket to put the Pirates up 46-45 with 1:12 left in overtime, then added two free throws with 23 seconds left to give Branson a 48-45 advantage.
Lebanon’s Quenton Shelton had a good look at a potential game tying three pointer at the buzzer, but it rimmed out and the Pirates advanced to the quarterfinals.
Shelton’s 21 points were tops for the Jackets, while sophomore Ethan Jones scored 12 to lead Branson.
(4) Republic 65, Mountain Grove 33:
The Tigers coasted to a win in the Gold Division at JQH Arena, building off a 33-13 lead at the half and 52-28 after three quarters.
Drew McMillin scored 14 points to pace the Tigers, while Gaven Charlton and Bryce Stenzel put in ten points each for the Panthers.
(4) Hartville 56, Marshfield 30:
The Eagles outscored the Blue Jays 15-0 in the first quarter and went ahead 36-8 at the half, and cruised to a win in the Blue Division.
Hartville junior Brady Ward’s 16 points led all scorers, while Drew Cromer put in ten for the Blue Jays, who used a turbo clock for much of the fourth period.
(#1) Springfield Kickapoo 78, Aurora 32:
Kickapoo, seeded first in the Gold Division, had little trouble with Aurora, racing to a 22-3 first quarter advantage and winning easily with a running fourth quarter clock at JQH Arena.
Micah McIntire led all scorers with 15 points for the Chiefs, with Cross Elmquist adding 12.
Jaesik Friggle, Clayton Reed, and Ryan Cline each scored six points to lead the Houn’ Dawgs.
(8) Skyline 58, Reeds Spring 40:
The Skyline Tigers jumped out to a 32-16 lead at the half over the Reeds Spring Wolves in the Gold Division opener at The Q, and cruised to an 18 point victory.
Senior Dax Beem’s 21 points led the Tigers, with Ty Cooper leading the Wolves with nine points.
(#8) Clever 57, Springfield Hillcrest 42:
Clever pulled away in the second half to down Hillcrest in a Blue Division game at Hammons.
The Blue Jays’ 6-6 senior, Taylor Genzler, scored 23 points to lead all scorers, while Jordan Ausler finished with 16 points for the Hornets.
Here are all the scores from first round day session at the 74th Annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament (seeds in parenthesis):
Gold Division (First Round Games at JQH Arena):
Final: (8) Skyline 58, Reeds Spring 40
Final: (1) Springfield Kickapoo 78, Aurora 32
Final: (5) Fair Grove 69, Buffalo 57
Final: (4) Republic 65, Mountain Grove 33
Blue Division (First Round Games at Hammons Student Center):
Final: (8) Clever 57, Springfield Hillcrest 42
Final: (1) Willard 46, Ava 42
Final: (OT) Branson 50, Lebanon 47
Final: (4) Hartville 56, Marshfield 30
We’ll have scores and recaps from throughout the tournament at KTTS.com.