McAuley races past Southwest, PC locks up Purdy in district semis

By Jordan Burton

Sarcoxie, MO –

Balanced McAuley races past Southwest in C2-D12 semis

Twin Towers.  Double Trouble.  Bash Brothers.

Regardless of the moniker used, McAuley’s Tommy and Jake and Tommy Doyle are just effective.

On Thursday the duo combined for 35 points and 20 rebounds, guiding the Warriors to a 78-62 win over Southwest and clinching a berth in Friday’s Class 2 – District 12 championship for the second straight year.

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The Trojans have just one player on their roster 6-foot-4 or taller – senior forward Paton Clay – and when he picked up his second foul midway through the first quarter the Doyles went to work, combining for 18 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone.

“We like the tempo to be quick and we’re pretty good when that happens,” said McAuley coach Randy Robertson. “I feel like we’re in better physical shape than most people we play so we like to push it and try to get post touches. Late in the first they started missing some shots and I think it’s because they were fatigued. It works in two ways, it gets us points and wears them down.”

Helping get the 6-foot-4 brothers going was senior point guard Brendyn Taylor.

Missouri’s assists leader handed out six in the first eight minutes, helping the Warriors grab a 22-14 advantage. Taylor entered the game averaging 10.6 assists per game, the fifth-highest total in the nation accord to MaxPreps.

Taylor has recorded double digit assists in 16 of his last 18 games, but the reigning Ozark 7 Player of the Year credits his bigs for making it easy on him.

“It’s a point guard’s dream,” said Taylor. “It’s nice knowing that I can dribble in, throw it up and someone is going to finish it for me. It always takes two to get those assists.

McAuley led comfortably for much of the game, but a 14-4 run spanning the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth cut the Warriors advantage to just 10 for the first time since the second quarter.

That run was countered by a quick 7-0 McAuley spurt, capped with a sensation pair of plays by Taylor.

First, he hopped in a passing lane for a steal and fed senior Colin Lowery for a layup. On the ensuing possession Taylor picked the pocket of a Southwest guard and finished on his own.

Taylor scored just two points but had his fingerprints all over the game.

“Their point guard does it as well as you possibly can and everything goes through him,” said Southwest coach Rusty Roe. “You watch them on film and he’s a part of every single play. He makes play that you don’t really see out of high school kids.”

McAuley finished with four players in double figures, with Hunter Huthsing and Lowery finishing with 20 and 15 respectively. The Warriors are now 13-1 when they score at least 70 points.

Clay led Southwest with a game-high 24 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter.

McAuley will take on Pierce City in the Class 2 – District 12 championship. The Warriors won the first meeting, a 72-67 overtime game in Joplin. PC has won two of the last four district championship games.

Few teams in the Ozarks play faster than McAuley, but Robertson isn’t worried about the impact that tempo will have on his team playing on back-to-back nights.

“We’ve played in tournaments and had back-to-back games throughout the regular season,” said Robertson. “We’ve prepared for this so hopefully it works out for us. We’re in the championship again and it’s good, but we have to be ready to play.”

The Class 2 – District 12 championship game is set for an 8 p.m. start following the Purdy vs. Pierce City matchup in the girls title.

McAuley 78, Southwest (Washburn) 62

Southwest 14-10-17-21 – 62

McAuley 22-14-20-22 – 78

Southwest: Clay 24, Resz 14, Wright 12, Leonhardt 7, Duressette 4, Ramirez 1.

McAuley: Hushing 20, Lowery 18, J. Doyle 17, T. Doyle 15, B. Taylor 4, Olmstead 2, Londo 2.

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Pierce City locks up Purdy to clinch district championship berth

Hunter Tindell didn’t start Thursday’s Class 2 – District 12 semifinal matchup vs. Purdy…

In fact, Pierce City’s 6-foot-5 junior scored six points, but his presence was pivotal.

Tindall blocked six shots and altered several more, helping keep a Purdy team that doesn’t have a starter listed taller than 6-foot, out of the paint and guiding the Eagles to a 68-58 win.

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“It’s a luxury to have a guy like that on our team,” said Street. “We’ve started him some to go with two bigs and we’ve brought him off the bench at times and we just feel like he gives us so much off the bench because of his size and length. With his ability to score and defend he’s a game changer that gives us so much energy when he comes in the game.”

Pierce City trailed for much of the opening quarter but locked in defensively in the second eight minutes, limiting Purdy to just two field goals and six points.

The Black Eagles had scored 70-plus 13 times this season.

Another major key to the first half was Pierce City’s ball pressure on Purdy standout junior Tyler Keeler.

Keeler enter district play averaging a team-high 18 PPG. He scored 27 against PC in the first meeting, but was limited to just six points on Thursday, none of which came before the intermission.

“Our goal tonight was to not let him catch and we used a few different guys on him tonight but they all did a tremendous job,” said Street. “We held him scoreless for the entire first half which really gave us an opportunity to stretch our lead in the first half.”

Pierce City also held junior Hunter Cook to just four points. He was Purdy’s second-leading scorer at nearly 13 PPG.

The defensive effort highlighted the point that a PC team starting two freshmen and lacking experience was able to accept the mental and physical challenge of competing with a Purdy team that played in the Class 2 Elite Eight last year and can extend its pressure defensively.

“We don’t have many kids that have played in a district championship, but we have kids that have played in a big environment this year,” said Street. “Purdy can pressure you and make things tough so for our guards to be able to handle their pressure and still do the things that we needed to do was huge.”

Purdy tried to mount several comeback bids in the second half, but each rally was met with a Pierce City counterpunch.

Matt Wilson led Purdy with 24 points, more than doubling his season average. Jose Sanchez added 13 points.

Pierce City landed four players in double figures led by Donell Keibocker’s 16 points. Freshmen Aaron Garner and Trey Sagehorn added 14 and 12 respectively. Senior Mason Moreland chipped in 10.

With their 21st win, the Eagles match the highest single-season win total in more than a decade, but there’s still work to be done.

PC has lost each of its last two meetings with McAuley, falling this year in overtime, 72-67, and losing last year’s meeting at home by one, 66-65.

This team is eager to be the first to win a district championship since since Garner’s older brother did so in 2015.

“It’s a quick turnaround, but I hope our guys will be better to play,” said Street. “In some ways I think it helps us because of how many people we play and it gives our guys less time to overthink things. The pressure is on them. They were in this game last year. We have a bunch of guys that haven’t really been here before.”

The Class 2 – District 12 championship game is set for an 8 p.m. start following the Purdy vs. Pierce City matchup in the girls title.

Pierce City 68, Purdy 58

Purdy 17-6-13-22 – 58

Pierce City 21-10-18-19 – 68

Purdy: Wilson 24, Sanchez 13, Hughlett 6, Keeler 6, Young 5, Cook 4.

Pierce City: Do. Keibocker 16, Garner 14, Sagehorn 12, Moreland 10, Cox 6, Tindell 6, Da. Kleibocker 2, Hatfield 2.

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