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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Checiking the forecast for the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill., the NWS is calling for a crest of 42.4 Dec. 5.

With the reading at 37.4 on Wednesday and a forecast of 38.28 by 9 p.m. Thursday is appears the river is expected to rise nearly a foot a day over this five-day span.

With 51′ level reached at the upper and lower crevasses and with work proceeding as fast as humanely possible on the middle crevasse to get that 1.000 foot breach to the interim level. The Corps has publically stated their intent to aggressively flood flight the levee breaches to 55′ – and if one is to use a little logic – would fight higher if the fight could be won.

Broadcast and print reports have cited local politicians as concerned the interim grades will not be reached in time to ward off the water that is coming now – and the anticipated coming winter rains and runoff leading up to the sure-fire seasonal spring rise.

For perspectives sake; here’s what we’re looking at;  The lower crevasse is settled and with the breach in accessible points, flood fighting that will be the easier of the three. The middle crevasse – if a flood fight is needed – will be easily accessible on the land side of the levee  but river access is  a ways a way as noted by how far the dredging pipes were laid to bring in the sand from the river to fill in the new blue hole.

The upper crevasse, also knows as the confluence by the Corps, has been the site of incredible earth work and there is additional work being done just north of Cairo and in Western Kentucky to bring about a new management technique on the ‘confluence.’

As the middle crevasse is nearly 9,000 foot in length, flood fighting along this length of levee would be difficult; dangerous and costly. It is desired to have the 55′ mark hit and hope the river doesn’t ‘make another historic rise.

So, again, we are dealing with historical flood on top of the spring 2011 Flood of Record.

Rest assured, the USACE, under new MRC president Peabody, are aware of the recent problems as Peabody recently held the Great Lakes post the dealt with the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers and was instrumental in keeping the water back for as long as he could in late April.

Risking potential dam failures and widespread flooding in doing so. In fact, had Peabody and the Great Lakes Division had their way in the activation of the BPNMF its highly likely the deed would have been done prior to May 2.

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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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Thanksgiving….pre-post…; Man, lot of good football this weekend…

As I have participated in the Facebook chronicling of days of Thankfulness, I’m hoping it’s possible to write a couple of fun items throughout the Holidays without a long, saga of things that I am thankful. And, in a larger sense, I am thankful for each moment of each day and truly try to find a way to relay that thru my writings/my interactions with people – even outside of FB; and my supremely important growing and continuing life-long relationships with Mason and Kaylie. For that – everything more – I am thankful…

Now, to the real talking points of this article; Sports. There is a lot of good stuff to enjoy this weekend and I – like many of my fellow Cardinal Nation members – are still basking in the maturing realization of what we actually saw – and now believe what I just saw. Thanks Jack for those memories and thanks to the StL Cardinals for that wondrous ride thru the fall to the World Series Championship. Now, that’s a memory maker. Although there is no baseball this weekend, still a bit of chatter with the unsettling non-signing of Albert Pujols.

For the record: I’m 100% confident he will remain a Cardinal for life thus becoming the new ‘Mang’ in StL. I’m aware of the cynics who are finding numerous scenarios where King Albert leaves, but I’m not buying. Throughout it all, I still have faith in human kind and feel Pujols will do the right thing. Only time will tell…

To football: College football has taken a black eye with the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State. Those consequences will reverberate off the fields for years. On the field Saturday, the Nittany Lions face Wisconsin for a chance to play in the first ever Big 10 Championship Game. Kind of ironic, yes? The Bowl Championship Series *(BCS) is a shambles.  Which one-loss team deserves the right to be gator bait for LSU in the National Championship? Is this the last year for the current system; how far away are we from the +1 scenario wanted by many – and now, seemingly – the BCS itself. If #3 Arkansas beats unanimous #1 LSU, will the computers implode trying to decipher who plays where; when, and for what…

I don’t see that happening. LSU takes care of the Razorbacks – tho I will be rooting for the Hawgs – and Wisconsin wins at home over PSU.

Will Missouri beat Kansas and elevate its bowl berth a bit above the Outhouse Back Door Bowl? Obviously, there are a variety of more important and compelling reasons the Tiges left the Big 12, the second-tier bowl selections during the Chase Daniels era was a factor, however. Mizzou at 6-4 in the SEC gets better bowl placement than a 6-4 in the Big 12…

Lot of other quality college football and the NFL offers their annual Thanksgiving feast and traditions. This year, the Lions actually have a change to play for something. The Cowboys could be in for a let-down trap game. And the late Thursday addition on the NFL Network caps the day, filled with football family and feastdom. And there’s’ Sunday’s ritual of penance having to watch the Rams die a slow agonizingly boring football demise right in front of our very eyes. Or it may just be me. Piitchers and Catchers report in less than a 100 days.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…Kp, Mason & Kaylie

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