SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield-Greene County Health director gave his blessing to the Missouri State High school activities association to continue the show-me showdown.
Clay Goodard says the combination of limiting fans in the stands and the size of JQH Arena makes it acceptable.
The Walnut Grove girls and Dora boys were playing for state championships in class one.
While most of the surrounding state have canceled state tournaments to combat coronavirus
Missouri has opted to keep state basketball going.
And today, March 13, we got our first battles for state titles.
Starting with the class one girl’s championship between Walnut Grove and Platte Valley.
Lady Tigers seeking a second straight title, and the first of a new decade after four the last 10 years.
And a great start to that end.
Opening basket and Makayla McVay gets us going with a three.
And that started an onslaught.
A couple of minutes later, McVay again, three again.
An 8-2 Walnut Grove lead.
Then Lauren Johnson gets the bucket and the foul.
Lady Tigers trying to put it to bed early, up 13-4.
Just for good measure, Faith Gilkey driving and finishing at the buzzer for a 19-4 lead after just the first quarter.
And they ride that the rest of the way as walnut grove claims back to back titles with a 52-41 victory.
“We’ve always talked about it every year,” Gilkey said. “We would come to watch the older girls do it. We just dreamed about doing it. And now, we’ve done it twice. Feels just as good as it did last year.”
“That’s really our class, we just make a competition out of everything,” McVay said. “We’ve watched all these past groups win. It’s like, well this group has one.
“Let’s see if we can beat them. This group has two. Well, this group has three.
If we go as many times as we can, then we’ll have enough to tie them or maybe even beat them.”
So Walnut Grove already aiming for a three-peat.
The Dora Boys, meanwhile, finished runner up last year.
Hoping to claim the title this time against St. Elizabeth.
And Isaac Haney was huge to start for Dora.
Open basket, Haney knocks down the triple.
But St. Elizabeth responds in kind.
Nolan Heckmeyer with a three on the inbound knots us back up.
So Haney says, alright, let’s play this game.
Another from distance for three of his 16 first-half points.
They hold that lead the rest of the way.
Fourth-quarter, Bryson Luna with the transition and one.
Dora goes from runner up last year to state champion this year with a 59-49 win.
“Last year I cried a lot,” Dora junior Waylon Masters said. “I honestly think I’ve cried more. It’s just been so emotional. To experience what felt like the lowest point, then to experience the highest point. It’s just, it was wild. It’s everything.”
So, the state of Missouri decides to keep high school basketball going and Southwest Missouri says thank you very much, sweeping class one state championships on both the boys and girls side.