District 3: Bunker topped South Iron in Wednesday night’s district championship game, claiming its first district title in more than 20 years. Led by junior guard Alacia Bland, the Lady Eagles are the first team below .500 (13-14) to advance to the state tournament.
District 4: The 22-5 Lady Cardinals were a perfect 7-0 in the regular season against district opponents. In fact, Chadwick is yet to lose to a Class 1 squad all season. However, none of those victories came against Verona, the Lady Cards opponent in Friday’s district final. Lady Wildcats senior Taylor Pinkly will try to make sure that Verona isn’t another stone in Chadwick’s path to Columbia.
District 5: Walnut Grove and Dadeville are two of the tops teams in the state. In fact, the two juggernauts have combined for nearly 50 wins on the season. In what will be a rematch from a January game that saw the Lady Tigers win the game and a PCL championship on Dadeville’s floor, the Lady Bearcats are looking for a little redemption. And if that isn’t enough, Walnut Grove has ended Dadeville’s season in the district title game in each of the past two seasons.
District 6: All four teams in the semifinals of District 6 own winning records, giving Friday and Saturday the potential for some good games. The top seed Weaubleau is the strong favorite, and are the defending district champs. However, district host Macks Creek is hoping for another shot at the Lady Tigers after dropping a pair of regular season contests to them, including a double overtime thriller in the championship game of the Osceola Tournament.
District 10: The Ozarks are loaded with a bevy of talented Class 2 teams and District 10 is no exception. Saturday night’s title game between Dora and top seeded Seymour will pit two of the area’s best. Seymour, led by the inside-outside combination of double-double machine Sarah Cook (12 PPG, 10 RPG) and Braythan Helms (18 PPG), is yet to lose to a Class 2 team this season. But, the Lady Falcons will be no pushover. Dora, who boasts a 20-6 record, topped a tough Sparta team to earn its spot in the district final.
District 11: The championship game of District 11 has had as many sequels as Die Hard. Crane and Marionville have met three prior times; the fourth will award the winner a district championship. After taking the first game, Marionville has dropped that last two to the Lady Pirates. Crane, led by lone senior Maggie McMenamy, is riding a 16 game winning streak, including six wins over state-ranked teams. Despite the Lady Comets losing Josie Young for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, Friday’s title game should be one to watch.
District 12: Sticking with the movie theme, District 12 is more along the lines of Rocky III, with top seeded Pierce City being Clubber Lang (A.K.A Mr. T). The Lady Eagles have won 10 straight and 15 of their last 17 with the losses coming at the hands of a possible sectional foe in Marionville and Crane. Included in those 10 straight victories is a 55-34 rout of Purdy, Pierce City’s district final opponent. If district host Purdy is to pull a Rocky Balboa, senior forward Mattie White will be a big reason why.
District 13: Simply put, District 13 offers the most intriguing matchup of any Class 2 district in the state. Top seeded Skyline, No. 6 in Class 2, will take on Archie. The Whirlwinds are not only unbeaten on the season (26-0), but they are the No. 2 ranked team in Class 2. However, don’t expect the Lady Tigers to back away from the challenge. Kevin Cheek’s squad is battle test, thanks to a schedule featuring nine Class 4 or 5 schools. The winner of this game should have little trouble on its way to Columbia.
District 10: Like many district finals, Class 3 – District 10 will feature a rematch in its title game. Licking defeated Hartville 64-59 back in December. The Lady Wildcats boast one of the Ozarks top sophomore duos in 6-foot post Bailie Osborne (15 PPG, 10 RPG and 4 BPG) and 5-foot-9 guard Megan Smith (15 PPG 5 APG). But, Hartville is playing well as of late, including a 55-39 upset of No. 2 seeded Alton in the semifinals.
District 11: For much of the season top seed Fair Grove was the heavy favorite to walk through District 11, but the emergence of Strafford and Blue Eye will make the title game extremely exciting. Strafford beat Fair Grove just over a week ago in Mid-Lakes play. The Lady Indians also beat Blue Eye this month, 46-37. The Lady Eagles own wins over Ash Grove, Skyline, and Class 4 Marshfield. The potential rematch will hinge on the play of Fair Grove’s guards DeAmbra Pilkinton and Bailey Weaver, and their ability to stretch the Strafford defense.
District 12: I will take in the semifinals and championship of this one personally as the remaining three games figure to be great matchups. In one semifinal the Ash Grove-Southwest rematch features a pair of state-ranked teams in a rematch from a game back in December that the Lady Pirates took easily 64-44. Ash Grove has stumbled a bit since then, largely due to injuries, meanwhile the Lady Trojans have won 14 straight, including a 70-64 overtime win over Kickapoo. In the other semifinal East Newton will take on defending state champs Mount Vernon, in a rematch from a January Big 8 showdown that saw the Lady ‘Neers take it 40-34 in OT. I’m expecting a Mount Vernon-Ash Grove district final; it would be the third straight season the two met to decide the fate of Class 3 – District 12, with the Lady Pirates coming up short in the previous two.
District 13: Much like Class 2 – District 11, this will also be the fourth time that Lamar and Stockton will have met this season. However, the three games were decided by a total of 58 points, all being lopsided Stockton wins. If game four goes the way of the previous three, Stockton will be in the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
Rehabbing St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina picked up a sharp single and a laser beam double to the right field corner in his first game back from surgery on his right thumb. Molina caught five innings and is expected to start for Springfield again to
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