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Libs close in courtwarming loss

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Bolivar’s Lukas Gabani scores during the third quarter of his team’s game against Springfield Catholic on Friday, Feb. 5.

Going into the fourth quarter of its courtwarming game against Springfield Catholic on Friday, Feb. 5, Liberator basketball charged back from a 6-point deficit at the break to take a narrow 31-29 lead. 

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Senior Ashton Lynn and escort Bo Banner smile after Lynn was crowned courtwarming queen before the Bolivar High School varsity boys’ basketball game against Springfield Catholic on Friday, Feb. 5. 

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Members of the court pose for a photo in the stands with their escorts. 

It didn’t last, and the Liberators fell 47-40. But, for Bolivar coach Robby Hoegh, it put on display the grit his team has developed over the course of a tough schedule. 

Springfield Catholic leads Class 5 District 10 with a 12-5 record. Bolivar stands at 8-8 as of Monday, Feb. 8.

“I thought our answer in the third quarter was tremendous,” Hoegh said. “Defensively, it was outstanding. The kids are just trying to get a big win.”

Offensively, Bolivar’s Kyle Pock led both teams with 20 points. Bolivar’s big third quarter saw Pock hit a single 3-pointer, while teammate Lukas Gabani scored 5 points. 

“Our kids, they’ve worked so hard,” Hoegh said, “which is why it’s hard to go this way.”

He said the remainder of the season presents still more tests. 

Bolivar plays Smith-Cotton at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Sedalia. 

“We have to make sure we’re working to get better down the stretch,” he said. “These kids are trying to do that, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Fair Play

The Hornets started February on a high note, winning 66-42 over Everton on Monday, Feb. 1, and 65-37 over Hermitage on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

A game against Lighthouse Christian on Friday, Feb. 5, was canceled, according to the district. 

It’s a strong place for the 9-10 defending district champions to be in, heading into the season’s final weeks. 

The Class 1 District 6 tournament is Saturday to Thursday, Feb. 20-25, hosted by Walnut Grove. Fair Play shares the district with 11-7 Humansville, while 18-1 Lockwood leads the league. 

The Hornets’ next game is 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, against Macks Creek in Fair Play. 

Halfway

Halfway High School boys’ basketball is 11-6 heading into the final weeks of its season, following a 62-57 win over Wheatland. 

The Class 1 District 5 tournament is Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26. 

“Since Christmas break, we have won third in the Pleasant Hope tournament and we have been playing really good team basketball,” coach Jeremy Cook said. “The boys continue responding well to changes we are making game-to-game.”

The Cardinals next play Humansville at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in Humansville. 

Humansville

In the games leading up to its cross-county showdown with Halfway, Humansville boys’ basketball too has shown it can respond to changes and adapt to meet opponents on the court. 

Days after losing a narrow 48-46 game to Fair Play on Jan. 29, the Tigers beat 13-8 Weaubleau 51-44 on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

Humansville has the third best record in Class 1 District 5, ahead of the tournament Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26. 

Marion C. Early

February has, so far, brought a series of tough breaks for Marion C. Early boys’ basketball. The team could be close to rounding a corner. 

The Panthers fell 67-44 to Conway on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The team bested district opponent Fordland 72-67 on Friday, Feb. 5. 

At 7-13, MCE stands near the bottom of Class 2 District 11. Crane, at 15-4, has the best record. 

The district tournament is Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26. 

Pleasant Hope

Pleasant Hope boys’ baskteball’s 10-7 record is likely to improve before the team heads to the Class 3 District 11 tournament set for Saturday through Friday, Feb. 20-26. 

The Pirates’ upcoming opponents include a game against 4-15 Diamond on Friday, Feb. 12, and a contest against 8-13 Niangua later in the month. 

The Pirates can count among their victories a pair of close games — a 48-45 win over Sarcoxie on Tuesday, Feb. 2, and a 55-51 victory over Pierce City on Friday, Jan. 29. 

Humansville, an 11-7 team on the rise following a 7-19 2019-20 campaign, will face Pleasant Hope in its last regular season game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in Pleasant Hope. 

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