By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After four years of nothing for Glendale against rival Kickapoo, the Falcons turned in a historic effort in one of southwest Missouri’s biggest rivalries.
It was the largest margin of victory in 46 years for the Falcons, the first time the Falcons have turbo clocked the Chiefs and the first time since 1990 that Kickapoo was held under 40 points in the Southside Showdown.
Sparked by 23 points from Monty Johal, 18 by Jaxon Davis and 15 from Jordan Walton, the Falcons (13-6, 5-0) knocked down 10 shots from behind the arc and shot 50 percent from the floor to beat Kickapoo 68-37 on Monday in the 98th meeting between the two programs.
“It felt great to finally get a win over Kickapoo,” Walton said. “We haven’t done it since us three (seniors Johal, Davis and Walton) have been here. It feels amazing.”
It was also the first time Glendale’s seniors had played inside Kickapoo’s gym after the Southside Showdown moved back to the schools this season after years of playing at larger, neutral venues.
“We’ve been trying to get this game back to the high schools for a while now, and I’m happy these kids got to play in this kind of atmosphere,” Falcons coach Brian McTague said. “It makes it so much more enjoyable and memorable for the kids to be in this type of environment.”
Outside the first six minutes, Glendale never really let Kickapoo (14-8, 4-1) get close. The Falcons led by eight after a quarter and saw their first double-digit lead at 21-11 just 51 seconds into the second.
“We never really got too ahead of ourselves,” Johal said. “It’s a rivalry game and anything can happen. We kept our cool and kept doing what we were doing.”
That lead was down to eight at the half but three 3s from Davis in the third and a 3-for-14 shooting effort by the Chiefs in that quarter pushed Glendale’s advantage to as much as 16 even before the lopsided fourth.
“With the crowd as hype as it was, I felt like on every play we were up by a whole lot,” Davis said. “I think all our support from The Flock and all our fans out there really helped push us forward and let us get as big a lead as we did.”
Glendale shot 10-for-16 in the fourth quarter, matching their first-half output with 26 points.
“Glendale played really hard on defense,” Chiefs coach Mitch McHenry said. “They were in good positions all night. In the first half we were really easy to guard. We didn’t run any motion. We didn’t make them work on defense and they just played hard and stayed locked in.
“When we tried to make adjustments we just tried to get more movement and mix up our cuts a little bit more, and we never really made the adjustment.”
The Chiefs turned it over 15 times in the second half, which was a main culprit in the Falcons ballooning an eight-point halftime lead to the final 31-point margin, their largest differential in the series since a 93-59 win in 1972.
“You have that many empty possessions against a good offensive team, you’re gonna struggle to be successful,” McHenry said.
Sam Wallin finished with 10 points for Kickapoo and Elijah Bridgers and Kolton Giefer both had eight while the Chiefs were held to 32 percent shooting and their second-lowest point total of the season.
In a game with two sizeable sections, the biggest cheers came on a late free throw from Glendale senior Mitchell Marsh and a bucket by senior Adam Hirsch.
Kickapoo’s 37 points were the least allowed by Glendale all season. The Falcons held Waynesville to 38 in an 82-38 win on January 26.
“This game was played at Kickapoo’s pace,” McTague said. “They did a great job dictating tempo in the first half and beginning of the third quarter. After that I thought we were able to pressure them into some turnovers and were able to get some run-outs, get some open 3s and finally get our rhythm going on offense.
“Once that happened it gave our kids more energy to go back and play defense the next time.”
Glendale: The Falcons improved to 21-13 on the Chiefs’ floor. More importantly, Glendale is now 5-0 in the Ozark Conference. The win was a positive response to an 80-77 loss at Ozark on Jan. 30.
Kickapoo: Tuesday’s loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Chiefs, who fall a game behind Glendale in the Ozark Conference. They were without freshman Anton Brookshire. The Chiefs still hold the largest win in the series against Glendale with a 40-point differential at 87-47 in January 1996.
Glendale: The Falcons visit Parkview on Friday.
Kickapoo: Joplin visits the Chiefs on Friday.
Glendale 19-7-16-26 – 68
Kickapoo 11-7-9-10 — 37