The Waynesville Tigers hosted the Joplin Eagles in their final Ozark Conference game against them, as the Eagles are joining the Central Ozark Conference next season. Waynesville won both the junior varsity and varsity match ups on Friday night.
The junior varsity boys began the night with a win in perhaps the last time the teams will play each other for several years.
The Eagles began the game with a 14-9 lead after the first period. The Tigers were able to pick it up in the second period and outscore the Eagles 16-10. Waynesville took their first lead of the game and never looked back after that, leading 25-24 after the first half of play.
The Tigers did not slow down in the third period and continued to add to their score. They outscored Joplin 19-7 in the runaway game. Waynesville was on top of Joplin 44-31 after third quarter. Waynesville extended their lead to 44-31 heading into the final quarter of the game. Waynesville kept their foot on the gas all the way to the end as they outscored Joplin again 12-7 in the fourth quarter. The Waynesville Tigers defeated the Joplin Eagles 58-38 to get a final win over Joplin.
The varsity boys gave the near sold out crowd a nice send off against Joplin as both teams had a close game.
The Eagles came out after the first quarter and led 15-12. The Tigers were able edge out the Eagles 13-10 in the second quarter. Waynesville and Joplin were tied at halftime 25-25.
The Tigers began the third period and opened up a more comfortable lead after a 19-11 run. The Tigers led 44-36 after three periods of the game. The Eagles tried to stage a comeback in the final period as they outscored the Tigers 27-23. The Waynesville Tigers were able to hold on and win the game 67-63.
Head Waynesville Tigersboys basketball Coach Chris Pilz said after the win, “It was a good win for us against a tough opponent that has been playing well. They jumped out to an early lead but we closed the half well. We were able to build a lead in the second half and never gave it up. We had some good contributions from all the guys that played. Simpson and Stewert came off the bench and gave us some good minutes. Hopefully we can keep working and improving as we go.”
With one loss in the Ozark Conference, the Tigers are still in the hunt for the conference title. They'll need to win out to have a chance to tie for the conference championship, but will need Glendale to lose a game down the stretch.
The Waynesville Tigers were led in the game by Carson Cavalier with 24 points. Tahje Stewart scored 50 points while Tanner Simpson added 13 points in the conference win. Caleb Barnes scored eight points and Gunner Reese added six points for Waynesville. David Adams added a free throw in the win.
The Joplin Eagles were led in scoring by Higdon with 20 in the game. Testerman scored 10 points while Westmoreland scored 13 in the close loss. Guillory scored nine points for the Eagles. Woods scored five points and Tash scored four points. David added a basket in the final Ozark Conference Game for the Eagles.
The Waynesville Tigers are now 12-7 and Travel to West Plains on Friday night for another Conference game. The Joplin Eagles are 12-6 and will travel to Springfield on Friday and play the Kickapoo Chiefs.