Archive for category THE SEMO SPORTS


Trailing by as many as 14-points late in the third quarter, the East Prairie Eagles rallied to tie the score at 51 with four minutes left to play in regulation. Though, Puxico (3-1) steadied and pulled away for the six-point 63-57 victory in the consolation championship of the Bernie Invitational, the Eagles displayed the reason(s) they will be a good watch in person this season.

Grit. Determination. Effort. Hustle. Good sportsmanship.

All worth the price of admission.

Senior Dalton Golightly, who also enjoyed his birthday today, said in a message via Facebook;

“Thoughts on game.   Disappointed   I know the game was close but We didn’t play how we

Senior Daton Golightly

can.  I had high expectations for this game and it hurts to lose like that.  We will learn from This and come back stronger.   I hope we grow as well as our crowd support grows.  The crowd helps us so much.    Thoughts on tourney.   I’m pleased with the tourney.  We got seeded the 8 seed which we all felt undeserving of and we came out and proved we wasn’t the worst team there.  It feels good to gain respect which I felt like we did. “

The veteran senior has had the burden of bringing the ball up the floor for basically four years for the Eagles with not a lot of help in the #2 guard position – facing a pressing defense virtually game in-game out. It’s the formula to beat them, according to area observers.

Ep took a good run at Puxico Friday night leading 12-10 at the end of the first quarter. With not a pure scorer on the team, the Eagles depend on different point sources. Senior Shawn King – whose game winner propelled Ep into tonite’s battle for some hardware – has hit double digits in all three games; P-Lat and overlooked Logan Staggs added double digits the last two nights and Devin Cook has been a pleasant addition to this year’s team. Sophomore Damien Tipler can help but could use a trim; and when thrird year coach Casey Knight brings freshman off the bench in Seth Bays and Mack Marcum, they don’t look lost on the floor.

The Indians got hot in the second quarter running to an 11-point margin 33-22. Puxico, for those that may not know, is a historic small school basketball legend from the 1950’s. Google it. As I stated in an earlier post, friend and author Matt Chaney documented the greatness and innovation of coach Arnold Ryan in a standard-setting look at the program. Google that as well, it’s worth it.

Back to the game, the Eagles fell behind by 13 in the opening possession of the second half and trailed by as many as 14-points before defensive pressure allowed the Eagles to rally back steadily reducing the deficit to put themselves in a position to make a run at the end of the game for the win. They came up just short.

Down by five entering the fourth period, the Eagles would remarkably tie the score at 51 all with just over four minutes left to play. But could never get over the hump. It was couple of missed crucial free throw opportunities that kep the Eagles was taking the lead getting it to 57-55, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

This team will win more games. And, this team will win more respect and they gain confidence with the competitiveness. I must say, I look forward to going and watch them play this season. I couldn’t say that in the not so recent past. HATS OFF to Coach Knight and the players for  fighting the good fight the right way.

It’s not all about wins and losses; its how you play the game sometimes.

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East Prairie senior Shawn King’s buzzer-beating three-pointer culminated an exciting to watch high school basketball game Thursday night in Bernie as the Eagles defeated Twin Rivers 64-61 to advance to the consolation championship game Friday night at 5:30 against Puxico.

Regardless of the outcome, this game was a homage to hustle, effort and grit. Not long on basketball talent, yet what the Eagles lack in that area, they supplement it with the type of play you would be proud to have your kid be a part of.

*Editor’s note: This is not an AP style story, rather a folksy, fan tale of the game sitting with the father and grandfather of two of the players; both whom I’ve know for a long distance of time. Normally, I’m on the floor – or the sideline – and rarely get to feel the emotion flowing thru the veins of those with participants. I did tonite and enjoyed it immensely.

Senior Devin Cook tied the game tied at 60 thanks to the perfectly ran play that set up him up at the top of the key with a great look and nailed the trey with 1:37 to play.

Tenacious defense forced a five second call and the Eagles were sent to the free throw line with just under a minute to play and made one of the two to take a one-point lead, 61-60. Ep kept up the defensive intensity holding Twin Rivers until a two-shot foul was called sending a Royal to the line with a chance to tie – and – win the game with 13.8 ticks remaining.

Close enough to hear third year Eagle coach Casey Knight mutter out loud that “he wasn’t gonna make both of them.” Well, the he Coach Knight – I just like to type that some time – was talking about was the Royal at the charity stripe with the game on the line.

‘He’ didn’t and Ep’s Logan Staggs snagged the rebound and outlet the ball to senior Dalton Golightly who manuevered up the floor – not at a fast enough pace for those I was sitting nearby mind you – but bringing the ball up the floor with the game tied at 61 and the clock ticking.

At about 3.7 seconds remaining, Golightly faked right and sped to his left and down the lane for an apparent game winner – except (as he said later with a wry smile on his face ) he caught a cramp going up for the game winner; clanking the ball of the bottom of the goal it appeared; or hard off the backboard, frankly I don’t recall it all with the hollering and yelling going on around me…but anyhow, after a tussle for the ball and an Eagle(s) looking like they were falling out of bounds with the ball we all thought we were headed to overtime.

That’s when the ball somehow made its way to the hands of a wide open King far out on the left-wing who let the ball fling from his hands the moment it touched them and just a hair before the buzzer sounded.

Cuz, as the buzzer sounded the ball was still in flight; but you knew – we knew in the stands – and King even said he felt good about the shot when he let it go – that the ball was going in and the Eagles were gonna win. And it did. And they did.

It was exciting – and rewarding – to watch it without a camera in my eye and no one to interact with during the game.

It was a close game most of the way but the Eagles would never lead until late in the contest and could never get a double-possession lead to give their self a break. It seemed they were always playing catch up; which, is essentially what they did.

With Kaylie helping keep the stats the first half, the Eagles trailed 14-6 at the end of the first quarter but – setting the stage for later – snatched their first lead of the half 29-28 right before intermission.

Twin Rivers built a six-point lead midway through the third but the Eagles rallied to cut the deficit to 45-43. As the fourth quarter got underway, Ep and Twin Rivers would trade the lead five times and tie once before King’s game winner sealed the deal for the Eagles.

Game time is 5:30 p.m. Friday night against Puxico for the consolation championship.

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COVERAGE OUTLAY for basketball season….


*The basketball coverage of the Kp Chronicle will not be as time consuming an exhaustive as the football season – I lol to myself while typing that sentence. Sure it will; just not on the same break-neck speed for released needed to beat football self mandated deadlines.

To the basketball season, it’s a long, 4-month grueling slate with holiday tournaments; district tournaments; and then – for some – state tournaments, that you best not get all worked up over th beginning of the season because come March it will all fall out in the Tournament.

*Originally published  11/15

As the Thanksgiving weekend has passed with an abundance of sports – for which I was very thankful – it’s time now for HS hoops and the games begin to come rapid fire…

This is the first River Bend Classic I’ve missed in the past few years. In recent past coverage outlay, I earnestly tried to balance the North end of the County with the South end; the boys with girls teams. I can say with all candor, I did my best.

Now, I’m balancing two third graders full-time with all their needs and joys; tasks of simple amazement every single day. One of which would love to go to every game while the other not so much. So, I will not be attending as many this season. Though, I do owe Kellie Anderson Bone some basketball photos for allowing me to use the family camera during football season.

That’s a partial excuse by the way. Secondly, I will get to cherry pick games without a possible show of favoritism. Balance used to be the theme; Now, the game(s) of the week will be the calling.

Meaning, I’m missing a must-see game tonight in the Ladies’ Battle of Mississippi County as a powerful Charleston Lady Blue Jays team comes to the Prairie to play a growing Lady Eagles squad. Charleston brings one of the premier lady athletes in the region to the contest with Kasuela Cooper.

The teams also play with intensity and character; good sportsmanship and hustle from both teams. I’ll miss this game but will talk to veteran Ep coach Dr. Steven Douglas and second year Charleston coach Josh Thompson. Two teams fun to watch.

A couple years ago the Eagles were hard to stomach watching a varsity game. On court mis-conduct and lack of hustle and effort brought about a coaching change in Casey Knight.

In one of the toughest basketball jobs in SEMO, Knight’s team hustle; play hard and with good sportsmanship. They open the season Tuesday against Risco in the Bernie Invitational Tournament. I plan on attending. They deserve the support.

The Blue Jays are on a mission. Going 1-1 at the prestigious River Bend Classic topping Arkansas power Pine Bluff before losing to a juco-lookin West Memphis squad. Senior Gregory Tucker, an early signee with Northern Colorado poured in 23 and 26 points in the two games and the depth showed in the season opening win over the Zebras.

There will be more L’s on the Charleston ledger as I’ve stated, but come March, expect this Blue Jays edition to bring home another banner to the crowded loft at the historic gym.

Charleston hosts Dexter to open the SEMO Conference season Tuesday and then the Jays will likely enter the conference tourney – which begins Dec. 5 – as the number two seed and have a legitimate shot of bringing home the big hardware.

So, I’ll see a lot of games and will keep up with the season with input from the four coaches; all of whom are very media friendly in Coach Farmer,  Thompson, Knight and Douglas. Throw in the cooperation I’ve received from Coach Blackmon, Coach Aycock and the support of both administrations made covering the football seasonn a blast.

CANT WAIT…to what unfolds in the long, tourtous basketball season of 2011-12…

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Tradition rich Blue Jay basketball program…

It’s really a privilege to be able to cover the Charleston Blue Jays basketball program for as many years as I have…Missouri Hall of Fame Coach Danny Farmer is as press friendly as they get; and legendary former coach Lennies McFerren always knew how to make a young sportswriter comfortable.

Last year, however, was my first time to go the Final Four. Replete with credentials first class and a hotel room with the kids in hand, I chronicled the exciting third pace finish in a special section. And, the Jays were a free throw away from making the championship game.

This season Charleston is loaded for Bear. A strong schedule that will put L’s on the ledger, but as usual the strength gained and experience gathered on the floor will make another run to a title opportunity an achievable goal of this year’s edition.

Though Gregory Tucker – an early signee with Northern Colorado gets a lot of attention, and deservedly so – the Blue Jays are especially deep and experienced. Admittedly, there’s no guarantee Charleston escapes the state’s toughest District, but that is the expectation and anything less than a 20th trip to Columbia will be a disappointment.

Rack that up to expectations, yes and deservedly so; but well-earned.

Check this: 10 Missouri State Championships…4 Second Place finishes; 3 Third Place and 2 Fourth Place.

*Before we preview the 2011-12 edition, let’s take a quick glance back at last season. A scintillating and exciting weekend of hoops resulting in some more hardware for the stocked trophy case.

In the consolation game, Charleston came out flat after suffering the heartbreaking 86-79 OT loss to eventual state champ Hogan Prep. In that semifinal game, the Jays were a free-throw away from icing the game.

The Jays came out flat in the third place game trailing by 22 at intermission; fell behind by 24 to start the second half then but went on a record-setting tear to overwhelm a outstanding and astonished Elsberry 87-79.

Charleston owns the mark now for most points scored in a fourth quarter with the 38-point show out surpassing Riverview Garden’s 1992 record; and equaled esteemed Scott County Central points for a half with a 64-point output.

So, we enter 2011-12 with a baseball team coming off its first ever Final Four under coach Michael Minner; Brett Blackman’s football Blue Jays just come off a playoff experience. It’s up to the history laden basketball team to keep the streak going….

Any takers?….Thought not.

Full preview forthcoming before Friday’s matchup with Pine bluff, Ark. River Bend Classic at New Madrid County Central. The Jays play perennial Ark. power West Memphis Saturday.

For complete Charleston schedule.

*Farmer quotes*….endeavoring to reach Coach Farmer; which I do at his home phone; as I have done for years. When I was the Sports Editor of the Daily Dunklin Democrat in Kennett in the late 80’s ; I incorporated all the small schools in the area to be a part of the coverage, but needed to phone the coaches at home – (back in those days folks, remember, there were no such things as cell phones) so I got to know families; sons, wives and have great memories of time served there at the award-winning paper.

And to end this story, a quote from Charleston KCHR Radio man – and a lot more – Dave Manker, prior to the Blue Jays making their nearly seemingly annual trek to Columbia last year. ….*March 17, 2011 via Dave Manker!! Facebook post…. Dave also has just announced this is his last season as the play-by-play man. Job Well Done, sir…Kp

….For the 19th time, Charleston ‘s High School basketball team, the Blue Jays, left for Columbia to compete in the Final Four . Ten state champion banners hang in the gym. Ponder on this…Since 1967, 28 district titles. A 72-19 won/loss record in state playoff games, 19 trips to the Final 4 coming into this season. 10 state championships, 4 second place finishes, 2 third and 2 fourth. Hall of Fame season in 1990 (33-0)….go Blue Jays, bring us home another banner.

I think what Dave just said sums up what the Blue Jay Nation feels about their basketball team.

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EAGLE basketball brief retro…Ep season #100

Long-time East Prairie sports observers don’t talk a lot about the Eagles basketball prowess…

Here’s why. In a nutshell…This is the 100-th season of Ep basketball; the Eagles began play in 1911-12 season. We have enjoyed 19 winning seasons.

Since legendary coach Bud Hendrix left for the greener shores of North Carolina in 1989, where he continued his winning ways, East Prairie has registered 2 winning seasons.

18-10 under Matt Schonhoff in the 2006-7 season and 18-10 in the 2004-5 seasons. That last winning year was the 19th in school history.

The first was in the Eagles’ second season in 1912-13 where under R.A. Doyle the team went 3-1. Clem Walker’s 7-1 team in 1916-17 was the second. Then, again in the 1920-21 (3-2), 1923-24 (5-4), 1923-24 (5-4) and 1924-25 (4-3), the schools first back to back winning seasons.

Seven coaches later, the Eagles would notch another winning season under Hugh May in the 1940-41 (14-4); the first to reach double digit victories. Jack Russell led the Eagles to another pair of back to back winning season in 1946-47 (8-7) and 1947-48 (13-6).

The final of back to back winning seasons – until Hendrix – came on the 10th winning record in the history of the school with Ray Melton’s 1952-53 (20-4) and 1953-54 (13-7) Eagles. That set of athletes also halted the losing streak in football to county rival Charleston.

Don Elliott’s 1958-59 team (8-7) would be the schools 11th and final winning season until the wildly successful – in Ep measure – Bud Hendrix era. There would be 12 coaches until the Hendrix returned to his alma mater in the 1980-81 season notching the school’s first winning season (13-12) since the 1958-59 season.

What Hendrix did in his decade (9 years) as coach is unparalleled. Frankly, no discussion of rivaled span of Eagles basketball exists. There were highlights from that run hopefully some of the old players will comment about on this story. The Bloomfield Christmas Tournament comes to mind; and a Scott Mississippi Conference tournament.

Ep experienced only two losing seasons under Coach Hendrix;  one was his second year at the helm in 1981-82 ( 4-16) and then not again until his next to last season (9-13) in 1987-88. Hendrix was .500 (12-12) in his final season at East Prairie.

In between, the Eagles rolled up a unprecedented and never seriously threatened record winning streak of 5-years in a row highlighted by the 23-6 team of 1985-86. The Eagles were 14–10 in 1982-83; 15-12 in 1983-84, 13-9 in 1984-85; 23-6 and then 14-10 in the final winning season of 1986-87.

It would take five more coaches to get the Eagles back into the winning column under current Portageville coach Jason Irby in 2004-2005. A stretch of nearly a quarter century (24 seasons) without a winning mark.

So, with those numbers fresh in the mind during this Centennial Season, come out and support the Eagles. It’s not about the wins and losses, but how you play the game some times.

Coach Casey Knight’s third edition of Eagles get underway at the Bernie Invitational playing top seed Risco to open the season Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

I will say this for Coach Knight, these kids hustle and play with good sportsmanship that make EPHS proud. And, for that, Eagle alums and administration are truly thankful. What the Eagles may lack in pure hoops talent, the effort put forth on the floor can not be questioned under Knight’s helm.

And while there aren’t any 7-footers walking through the door anytime soon at Ep, the cupboard is getting stocked with more talent and an upcycle in on the horizon. This year, the Eagles will have to scrape out the W’s…but, they will be worth the price of admission and deserve support from Eagle Nation.

That’s why the play the games.

*Source material courtesy of