By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Passing lanes quickly closed. Open shots were contested in the blink of an eye. Defensive breakdowns led to easy baskets.
In Friday’s Class 4 Show-Me Showdown semifinal, Grandview showed why it’s closing in on a repeat state championship.
The Bulldogs jumped on Logan-Rogersville early and cruised to a convincing 66-45 victory at JQH Arena. Grandview got 43 combined points from freshman forward Taj Manning and junior guard Reggie Morris, Jr.
“They just played stronger than us,” said Wildcats senior Luke Vandersnick. “We were playing weak the whole first half, basically. If we would’ve stronger, we could’ve probably stuck with them a little bit better.”
Grandview led 36-13 at halftime.
The Bulldogs shot over 60 percent from the field in both halves. Overall, they made 26 of 41 shot attempts.
Junior Josh Linehan was the only Wildcat to reach double figures in scoring. He finished with 10 points. Logan-Rogersville shot under 30 percent from the field (5-for-18) in the first half.
“Really rough first half,” said Wildcats coach John Schaefer. “We got ourselves in a bad bind against a good basketball team.”
Manning led all players with 23 points and eight rebounds. He shot 8-for-10 from the field.
Morris, Jr. scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half. He made four of his first five 3-point attempts.
Morris, Jr. is one of three Grandview starters shooting over 40 percent from 3 on the season.
“I came out understanding what I needed to do for the team,” Morris, Jr. said. “I chose my shots, but I didn’t just go out firing. We needed somebody to get hot, push the offense together and keep it flowing.”
Logan-Rogersville faces Ladue Horton Watkins (20-9 overall) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hammons Student Center in the Class 4 third-place game.
Grandview goes for a repeat Class 4 state championship when they face St. Mary’s (St. Louis) at 2:40 p.m. Saturday at JQH Arena.
The Bulldogs had never won a state championship in program history before last season.
“If you would’ve told me on March 17, 2018 that a year later you’d be playing for your second consecutive state championship, I would’ve said, ‘I’d take it,’” said Grandview coach Reggie Morris. “But from that time until now, there are lot of things that have to transpire for you to reach that goal.”
Logan-Rogersville shot 16-for-44 from the field overall, including 2-for-14 on 3-point attempts. The Wildcats committed 15 turnovers and were 11-for-19 at the free throw line.
Grandview recorded seven blocks and nine steals.
“They’re long, big and athletic,” Schaefer said. “You think you have a layup, and it’s pinned against the glass. That changes a lot of what you do.”
A Kanon Gipson 3-pointer brought the Wildcats within 19-11 early in the second quarter. Grandview responded with eight quick points – prompting a Logan-Rogersville timeout – and was in full control the rest of the way.
A year ago, Grandview beat Logan-Rogersville in the quarterfinal round on its way to the Class 4 state championship.
This weekend marks Logan-Rogersville’s first final four appearance since 1986.
“It’s pretty awesome. We got a lot of support from our hometown, and that always feels good coming into the game,” said Wildcats senior Ryker Strong. “Even though we didn’t win (today), we’re going to come back tomorrow with a fire. We definitely want to end on a high note.”
Grandview 66, Logan-Rogersville 45
Grandview 18 18 13 17 — 66
Logan-Rogersville 6 7 15 17 — 45
Logan-Rogersville (24-6 overall) – Josh Linehan 10, Luke Vandersnick 9, Cade Blevins 8, Zach Bergmann 7, Kanon Gipson 5, Ryker Strong 4, JJ O’Neal 2
Grandview (28-2 overall) – Taj Manning 23, Reggie Lewis 20, Deandre Sorrells 8, Liashwuon Boston 5, Jermain Yarbough 4, Aidan Banks 4, Kamto Eze 2