The Waynesville High School boys’ basketball team captured the championship of the US Bank/Rolla High Holiday Invitational for the fourth consecutive year on Saturday. But not without a fight from the host team.
Waynesville and Rolla - old league foes from the days of the Mid-State and Mid-MO conferences to currently in the Ozark Conference - put forth a typical Tiger-Bulldog tussle on Saturday. However, after an even first half, the Waynesville Tigers began to pull away after intermission to post a 67-54 victory at the Rolla High gym to take home the first-place plaque in the 27th annual event.
“We had to play really well to win,” said Waynesville head coach Chris Pilz. “Rolla plays real hard and can really shoot it. This is a little two-game mini-series, as we come right back here.”
Rolla and Waynesville resume its rivalry when each return from the New Year’s break, facing each other at the RHS gym on Jan. 7 in OC action (6 p.m.).
“They’re a really good basketball team,” Rolla head coach Mark Miller said of the Tigers. “We have to hit shots, but we hit a spell where we couldn’t get the open shot to fall. And against a nice team like that you don’t want to get in position to foul, and that’s where we were.”
Waynesville, ranked No. 8 in the Missouri Class 5 state poll, improves to 8-1. Rolla saw a five-game winning streak end and falls to 6-4.
Also on Saturday Rogers, Ark. got past Francis Howell Central 50-44 in the third-place game while Festus knocked off Warrensburg 57-50 in the fifth-place game and Fulton bested St. Joseph Benton 66-58 in the seventh-place game.
Juwan Morgan, Waynesville’s 6-8 junior forward, was named tournament Most Valuable Player. Also selected to the all-tournament team were Kellieon Williams of Waynesville; Kobe Wands and Caleb Copeland of Rolla; Hunter Hill of Rogers; Tre Curry of Francis Howell Central; Dakota Jones of Warrensburg, and Kamau Kinder of Festus.
Waynesville 67, Rolla 54: The Tigers came out with a seven-point lead when Morgan canned a three-pointer at the 3:06 mark of the first period to make it 14-7.
However, Rolla chipped away and a three-pointer by senior guard Damaris Facen with 5:54 remaining in the half gave RHS its first lead, 19-18.
During the second period the lead would change hands five times and there were three ties. Morgan’s layup with 1:11 left gave WHS a 28-26 halftime advantage.
Waynesville would lead throughout the second half, as Rolla’s shooting touch cooled. Morgan’s driving layup ended the third period with a 47-41 score.
Page 2 of 3 - A pair of free throws by sophomore guard Joe Johnson inside the final minute of play gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game, 65-51.
Copeland, a 6-4 junior forward, paced Rolla with 14 points while K. Wands, a 5-10 sophomore guard, added 13 points and 6-2 senior forward Aaron Froehlich 11.
Morgan scored a game-high 26 points for Waynesville while Johnson, a 5-9 sophomore guard, added 17 and 5-8 senior guard Michael Thompson 11.
Rogers 50, F.H. Central 44: In his final game with Rogers, 6-4 sophomore forward Jake Killingsworth fired in 17 points to pace the Mounties to the win. Killingsworth’s family is moving from the community for the next semester.
The Francis Howell Central Spartans, now 3-4, led after a low-scoring first quarter 8-5 but Rogers took a 20-19 halftime lead. The Mounties outscored the Spartans 15-6 in the third period to claim the lead for good.
Junior guard Frank Davis scored 18 points to pace the Spartans, who played without their leading scorer, Curry, due to an ankle injury he suffered in the semifinals on Friday.
Festus 57, Warrensburg 50: The Festus Tigers led 17-16 after the first period and 28-26 at halftime. Festus then outscored Warrensburg 18-13 in the third period.
Kinder, a sophomore guard, had 16 points and senior guard Travis Spraul 15 for Festus, now 4-2.
Jones, a 6-0 senior who was the Holiday Invitational’s MVP the previous two years, had 21 points for Warrensburg, now 5-4.
Fulton 66, Benton 58: The Fulton Hornets took a 21-12 edge after the first period and went on to salvage a victory. Fulton led 34-24 at halftime and 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ricky Dawson, a 6-0 junior guard who is the nephew of former Missouri S&T standout player Chris Dawson, fired in 30 points to lead Fulton. Junior guard Fabian Smith had 17 points for Benton, who remains winless at 0-9.
Waynesville 67, Rolla 54
Rolla (54): Facen 1-0-3, K. Wands 4-1-13, Froehlich 5-1-11, Marshall 2-1-7, O’Brennan 2-0-6, Copeland 6-1-14, Totals 20-4-54.
Waynesville (67): Alexander 2-0-6, Thompson 3-2-11, Walker 1-1-3, K. Williams 2-0-4, Johnson 5-5-17, Morgan 9-7-26, Totals 22-15-67.
Rogers, Ark. 50, F.H. Central 44
Rogers (50): Hill 4-2-11, Smith 2-8-12, Martinez 0-1-1, Street 3-0-7, Black 1-0-2, Killingsworth 6-2-17, Totals 16-13-50.
Francis Howell Central (44): Kreder 2-0-6, Hayden 3-0-7, Davis 5-3-18, Stroh 1-0-2, Whitson 1-0-2, Crawford 0-2-2, Erby 1-0-2, Ray 1-2-4, Conley 0-1-1, Totals 14-8-44.
Page 3 of 3 - 5th-Place Game
Festus 57, Warrensburg 50
Festus (57): Spraul 6-2-15, Kinder 5-6-16, Stamps 2-3-7, Brewer 4-2-12, Purchase 1-0-2, Jarvis 1-3-5, Totals 19-14-57.
Warrensburg (50): Denker 4-0-8, Collier 1-1-3, DeVries 1-1-3, Horn 1-0-2, Terry 2-0-4, Nappe 0-1-1, Jones 8-2-21, Roop 4-0-8, Totals 21-5-50.
Fulton 66, Benton 58
Fulton (66): Dawson 8-11-30, Tilson 5-2-9, Gibson 3-3-9, Wilson 4-9-18, Totals 20-25-66.
Benton (58): Johnson 1-0-2, Reynolds 1-0-2, Stevens 1-0-3, Bowen 3-1-7, Beaver 3-0-6, Smith 6-3-17, Flowers 3-0-7, Mapel 1-0-2, Harris 5-2-12."
Friday, Dec. 27
Waynesville 87, F.H. Central 60: Junior forward Juwan Morgan erupted for 18 points in the first half to help the Waynesville Tigers get off to a fast start. Waynesville led 19-15 after the first quarter and then outscored the Francis Howell Central Spartans 18-5 in the second period to go into halftime up 37-20.
The Tigers widened their lead to 63-36 entering the fourth period.
Four Tigers scored in double figures, as Morgan finished with 24 points, K. Williams 17 points, and sophomore guards Reggie Walker and Johnson each had 12 points.
Senior guard Justin Hayden tallied 13 points for the Spartans.
Waynesville 87, F.H. Central 60
Waynesville (87): Alexander 1-2-4, Thompson 1-0-3, Walker 4-3-12, Rodriguez 1-0-2, K. Williams 6-3-17, Johnson 4-1-12, Morris 0-2-2, Morgan 7-10-24, Green 2-2-7, C. Williams 2-0-4, Totals 28-23-87.
F.H. Central (60): Kreder 0-3-3, Hayden 6-1-13, Davis 4-0-9, Scott 2-0-5, Curry 2-1-5, Stroh 1-3-5, Whitson 1-1-3, Crawford 3-3-9, Erby 2-2-8, Totals 21-14-60.