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1. Walnut Grove, 27-2 (1)
For the second week in a row the Lady Tigers are back in the top spot. The Class 1 – Dsitrict 5 champs have won 14 straight, including a dominating 78-52 Sectional win over St. Elizabeth in which Lexi Harman scored her 1,000th point. Walnut Grove seems like a lock for a Columbia trip… And there isn’t a single senior on its roster.
2. Crane, 27-3 (2)
At this point, Crane and Walnut Grove are like 1A and 1B. It’s like trying to pick your least favorite Nicholas Cage movie. The Lady Pirates are really good. They have 18 straight after surviving a Sectional scare from a very good Pierce City team, in a game that they lead by 17 heading into the fourth. Saturday’s quarterfinal with Crocker will be a showdown.
3. Republic, 25-1 (3)
The COC-Large runner-ups have won four straight since that home loss to Ozark. For the Lady Tigers it’s a championship or bust year. Friday’s district championship game with West Plains will be a battle.
4. Ozark, 20-6 (4)
Lady Tigers is clearly the area’s most popular mascot. Ozark has won seven straight, picking up steam heading into the rematch of the Christian County Throwdown with rival Nixa. The Red Tigers took the first matchup 57-44. However, that game didn’t have a state tournament bid on the line.
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5. West Plains, 25-1 (5)
The Lady Zizzers will put their 17 game winning streak on the line against Republic on Friday for the Class 4 – District 11 title after a sluggish 44-13 win over Rogersville in which West Plains had just four points after the first quarter. Expect a little more offense Friday night.
6. Skyline, 23-6 (6)
More Tigers… The other Red Tigers claimed the Class 2 – District 13 title with an impressive 52-39 win over previously undefeated Archie. After a snow delay, Skyline will hook up with Windsor in the Sectional, giving the Ozarks the possibility for a second team in the Final Four in addition to the Crane/Crocker winner.
7. Ash Grove, 24-6 (7)
After battling mid-season adversity, the Lady Pirates are reaping the rewards of staying together as a team. The Class 3 – District 12 champs earned a spot in the quarterfinals are a 67-56 win over rival Fair Grove, in a game that saw five Lady Pirates finish in double figures. The balance of Coach Milleson’s team starts at the guard spots with a pair of scrappy, talented guards in Abby Arico and Madi Johnson. Ash Grove will play a very good St. James team, who beat Licking 53-35 in the Sectional round.
8. Chadwick, 24-5 (8)
Despite a slow start that saw the Lady Cards trailing after the first quarter, Chadwick used a 27-6 third quarter to blow open Wednesday’s section with Bunker. We all know about Maddie Hursh, but Chadwick junior Kailyn Rozell can put the ball in the basket with the best of them. The Class 1 – District 4 champs will put their 13 game winning streak on the line Saturday when they play Naylor. A win will setup a potential game with Walnut Grove should the Lady Tigers also win Saturday afternoon.
9. Crocker, 27-2 (10)
Between Crocker and Crane, there are 54 combined wins, with 35 coming in succession, going into Saturday’s quarterfinal. While the Lady Lions haven’t quite played as difficult of a schedule as Crane, all you can do is beat the team in front of you and that’s what they’ve done this season.
10. Nixa, 22-5 (12)
The Lady Eagles pulled off what may have been the comeback of the year in Tuesday’s Class 5 – District 11 semifinals. After trailing Branson 55-38 with four minutes remaining, Nixa ripped off a 20-1 run, led by senior standout Jeana Raper’s three point barrage, to advance to the district final for a rematch with those Ozark Lady Tigers.
11. Webb City, 20-5 (13)
The Lady Cardinals open Class 4 – District 12 play today against rival Carl Junction. Webb City is coming off a 10 day layoff, so they may have to knock a bit of rust off. But, with high-scoring guard Mikaela Burgess and a pair of talented posts (Desirea Buerge and Casey Heger) that shouldn’t be hard to do.
12. Parkview, 18-9 (NR)
The Lady Vikings have won eight of their last nine games and find themselves one home win away from a district championship. Parkview, who will take on Willard for the Class 5 – District 12 title, beat the Lady Tigers 47-39 in the PWLC.
13. Dadeville, 24-3 (9)
The Lady Bearcats had a great season. Unfortunately, being in the same district with arguably the best team in the state doesn’t bode well for making a Final Four run.
14. Marshfield, 15-11 (NR)
You probably looked at their record and thought I was crazy. However, the Lady Jays have won seven of their last eight games and are probably the best 11 loss team in the state. Eight of those losses have come to state-ranked teams. A healthy Lauren Aldridge and home games could spell trouble for the rest of Class 4 – District 11.
15. Seymour, 25-4 (11)
The Class 2 – District 10 champs came up just short in a 63-57 loss to Crocker in the sectional round. Seymour impressed many bouncing back from all the graduation losses they had. Coach Frank will reload again next year behind double-double machine Sarah Cook.
Knockin’ on the door: Stockton (16-12), Pierce City (21-9), Southwest (24-4), Thayer (20-4), El Dorado Springs (18-8), East Newton (19-10), Mount Vernon (18-9), Marionville (20-7), Strafford (19-8), Fair Grove (17-7), Blue Eye (17-8), Weaubleau (22-6), Sparta (19-8), Bolivar (17-7), Camdenton (17-7)