By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Here are the final area boys basketball power rankings for the 2017-18 season.
THESE RANKINGS ARE BASED ON DOMINANCE BY CLASS, NOT STRICTLY HEAD TO HEAD RESULTS.
1. Eminence (Class 1; 32-1)
Pete McBride and company made it two state championships in the last five years with a 79-72 over reigning champion Walnut Grove. The Redwings ended the season with a 32-game winning streak, 13 of those came by at least 20 points. Eminence won six of its seven playoff games by at least 14 points and McBride will return likely Class 1 Player of the Year Trent McBride, as well as standouts Grant and Wade Dyer.
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Eminence beats Walnut Grove in thrilling Class 1 state championship game – https://t.co/QJbpyELosa
— Ozarks Sports Zone (@OzarksOzone) March 11, 2018
2. Mountain Grove (Class 3; 31-2)
Over the last three seasons, the Killer C’s (Carter Otwell, Connor McNew and Cade Coffman) have helped Mountain Grove to three consecutive Final Fours and a ridiculous 87-11 record. This year they finished third in Class 3, also winning a prestigious Blue & Gold Tournament title, as well as another undefeated SCA run. This year’s resume included wins over Kickapoo and Nixa and seven total wins over district champions.
3. Dora (Class 1; 24-6)
Rick Luna is sitting on a gold mine at Dora. The Falcons won a district championship before being bounced by eventual Class 1 state champion Eminence in Sectionals. All six of their losses came to eventual district champs. They also own wins over Hartville and Walnut Grove. Freshman Isaac Haney ended his freshman season 676 points, trailing on JaRon Rush for the most in state history.
4. Walnut Grove (Class 1; 22-11)
Walnut Grove made it back to the Final Four for the third consecutive season. The Tigers again won 20 games despite playing a brutal schedule and wrapped up yet another Polk County League championship. If RPI was a useable metric in high school basketball, Grove’s would’ve been through the roof. Of their 10 losses, six came against Class 3-5 teams and seven of the 10 teams won district championships. Senior sharpshooter Logan Thomazin finished his career as the program’s all-time scoring leader and top-10 nationally in 3-point FG makes. Partner in crime Hunter Gilkey walks away as one of the few players you’ll see with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 450 assists and 300 steals.
5. Purdy (Class 2; 24-8)
Purdy was the surprise team of the winter. In just his first season, Jeremy Dresslaer helped guide the Eagles to the program’s first Final Four run. They were red-hot to finish the season, winning 15 of their final 16 games entering the Final Four. It was Purdy’s second 20-win campaign in the last three years and the unblemished Ozark 7 championship was the program’s first conference title since 2009.
6. Ozark (Class 5; 21-6)
The disappointing end to the year doesn’t change the fact that Mark Schweitzer and company had a tremendous regular season run. They won the COC Large without dropping a game, winning seven of its eight games by at least 15 points. The Tigers also upset Christ the King and went toe-to-toe with nationally-ranked Oak Hill Academy and Wasatch Academy and at one point had an 11-game winning streak.
7. Rogersville (Class 4; 24-6)
Year One of the John Schafer era went about as well as possible, with the Cats winning the COC Small and making an Elite Eight run, falling to eventual Class 4 state champion Grandview. LogRog’s 24 wins marked the highest total since 2011-12. LR won its last 14 games prior to the Grandview game and will be the area Class 4 favorite next year behind juniors Luke Vandersnick and Ryker Strong, as well as sophomore Cade Blevins.
8. Parkview (Class 5; 18-11)
Landon Cornish and the Vikings put together one of the best runs in decades for Parkview, capturing the program’s first district championship in nearly three decades. Making the Elite Eight run more sweet was the fact it came with wins over Ozark and SPS rival Glendale; two teams that beat Parkview during the regular season.
Congratulations to the Parkview Vikings! Class 5, District 11 champs! pic.twitter.com/FkQDtdea75
— Heather Ramsey (@heramsey) March 2, 2018
9. Hartville (Class 2: 23-8)
For the sixth straight season, Brett Reed and Hartville racked up 20 wins with a district championship. The Eagles advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual Class 2 runner-up Hayti. Seven of their eight losses came to teams that won district championships. Hartville also pulled off a rare feat, picking up a win over a program in each of Missouri’s five classes.
10. Springfield Catholic (Class 3; 22-9)
Irish fans will always wonder what if. They won the Blue and Gold and finished as the runner-up to Class 4 Rogersville in the COC Small race. Catholic won seven straight games before falling to Mountain Grove in the Class 3 Elite Eight, playing without explosive guard Jake Branham. Branham scored 600 points, third most in program history. Catholic hadn’t won a district title since 1997.
21 years in the making.
Jake Branham’s 35 points gives Catholic its first district title since 1997. pic.twitter.com/zMXkmSYfwd
— Ozarks Sports Zone (@OzarksOzone) February 25, 2018
11. Rolla (Class 4; 24-4)
Rolla lost its third game of the season, then responded by winning 19 straight. Their four losses came to COC Large champ Ozark, Ozark Conference champ Glendale, Class 4 district champ Pacific and Class 4 state champ Grandview. The Bulldogs rallied from a 15-point deficit through three quarters to shock Helias Catholic in the district championship.
12. Mount Vernon (Class 3; 21-9)
The ‘Neers added yet another district championship plaque to the trophy case, winning nine straight games to advance to the Sweet 16. Mount Vernon shared the Big 8 title in the last year of the conference’s classic alignment. The Green was especially mean at home, going 10-1 in Mount Vernon, which includes a win over Class 5 district champ Willard.
13. Glendale (Class 5; 20-7)
You’ll be hard pressed to find someone with a better Class 5 resume than Glendale. The Falcons dropped seven games, three in the Tournament of Champions, one to Class 5 third-place finisher Rock Bridge, and the other losses were Nixa, Ozark and Parkview. Glendale ran through the Ozark Conference unbeaten and Monty Johal and Jordan Walton end their careers as two of the most decorated players in SPS history.
14. Joplin (Class 5; 18-10)
Throughout the season people questioned if Joplin was for real, but the Eagles district championship run – which came with back-to-back upsets of COC powers Republic and Nixa – proved just how bright the future of Joplin Basketball is. They won their first nine games of the season and got hot late behind the play of standout sophomores Zach Westmoreland, Isaiah Davis and Evan Guillory. Joplin hadn’t won a district championship since head coach and former Mizzou guard Jeff Hafer’s days at Joplin.
Two years ago Joplin won three games. Now they’re district champs after knocking off COC powers Republic and Nixa. Wow. https://t.co/lJzKQKV6E3
— Jordan Burton (@thejordanburton) March 3, 2018
15. Republic (Class 5; 17-8)
The Tigers seemed like they’d be in store for a rebuild after graduation losses, but the final season of Trevyor Fisher’s reign saw Republic overachieve again. RepMo was again one of the top defensive teams in the Ozarks, holding eight opponents to 40 points or fewer. They also picked up wins over Parkview, Ozark and Rogersville. Fisher finishes with four 20-win seasons and a pair of state championships in his six seasons at Republic.