Monday, December 11, 2023

1000-point and other Milestones

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As GRC and GRC West players surpass the 1000-point (and other milestones) this season, this blog will share photos of their milestones.

Tyler New, Worth County (1500 points)

Tyler New passed the 1500-point milestone during districts

Annabelle Ball, Gallatin

Annabelle Ball passed the 1000-point milestone on February 15, 2024 against Stanberry

Chloe Burnham, St. Joseph Christian (1500 points)

Chloe Burnham passed the 1500-point milestone on February 9, 2024 against North Andrew.

Mirena King, Trenton

Mirena King passed the 1000-point milestone on February 9, 2024 against Milan.

Katelyn Jones, Pattonsburg

Katelyn Jones passed the 1000-point milestone on February 2, 2024 against King City.

Maverick Gentry, Polo

Maverick Gentry passed the 1000-point milestone on February 2, 2024 against Braymer. I will post pictures of him when I get them.

Talan Holt, Princeton (1500 points)

Talan Holt passed the 1500-point milestone on January 30, 2024 against Stanberry.

Ahmet Niasse, Milan

Ahmet Niasse passed the 1000-point milestone on January 29, 2024 against Grundy County.

Addy Henke, Princeton (1500 points)

Addy Henke passed the 1500-point milestone on January 22, 2024 against North Harrison

Photo Courtesy of Princeton R-V School District Facebook Page

Hanna Vaught, Polo

Hanna Vaught passed the 1000-point milestone on January 22, 2024 against Mid-Buchanan

Zoe Tunks, King City

Zoe Tunks passed the 1000-point milestone on January 11, 2024 against Stanberry.

Kobyn Metzger, Maysville

Kobyn Metzger passed the 1000-point milestone on January 11, 2024 against East Harrison.

Amelia Wallace, Stanberry

Amelia Wallace passed the 1000-point milestone on January 10, 2024 against North Nodaway.

Dillon Willis, Maysville

Dillon Willis passed the 1000-point milestone on January 6, 2024 against Trenton.

Kiefer Tolson, Trenton

Kiefer Tolson passed the 1000-point milestone on December 18, 2023 against Brookfield

Gage Iddings, Pattonsburg

Gage Iddings passed the 1000-point milestone on December 15, 2023 against North Harrison.

Hannah Carter, South Harrison (1000 rebounds)

Hannah Carter had already passed the 1000-point milestone before this season, but on December 12, 2023, she passed 1000 rebounds in her career.

Owen Ream, Putnam County

The first player to pass the 1000-point milestone was Owen Ream of Putnam County on December 5, 2023 against Novinger.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Five GRC/GRC West Teams Capture Tournament Championships

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

St. Joseph Christian, Maysville and Putnam County Boys along with Gallatin and Milan Girls all captured Championships in various basketball tournaments this past week.

Gallatin Lady Bulldogs

The Gallatin Lady Bulldogs won the Gallatin Invitational Tournament for the first time since 2008 when they defeated #2 seed Trenton 45-35 in the Championship game.  Gallatin fell behind 20-11 at the half, but a strong second half propelled them to the title in front of their home crowd.  They were led by Kallie Salmon who matched her career high with 22 points, but 14 of her 22 were in a crucial 4th quarter in which Gallatin outscored Trenton 17-6.  Annabelle Ball also added 14 for the Lady Bulldogs.

Gallatin entered the tournament as the #4 seed.  The defeated #5 seed Gilman City 54-42 and #1 seed Polo 45-37 to earn a berth in the championship game.  Gallatin is now 4-1 and will host Savannah on Friday in their next game.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Borges via Facebook

Maysville Wolverines

The Maysville Wolverines captured their first Gallatin Invitational Tournament title since 1977 in a 59-52 win over the #2 seed Braymer Bobcats.  Maysville trailed 44-43 after three quarters, but a strong 4th quarter helped secure the victory.  Dillon Willis had seven of his game-high 22 points in the 4th quarter.  Tanner Evans scored15 points and Kayden Gabbard added 11 for Maysville.

The top-seeded Wolverines defeated #8 seed Gilman City 76-44 and #4 seed Trenton 69-43 to advance to the championship game.  Maysville is now 3-0 and will travel to Albany on Tuesday for their next game.

Photo courtesy of Maysville R-1 School District Facebook Page

Milan Lady Cats

The Milan Lady Cats are champions of the Tri-Rivers Classic for the first time since 2020.  They captured the championship with a 47-33 win over #1 seed North Shelby.  Amy Pickering had a career-high 22 points in the championship game.  Marian Dabney added 12 points for the Lady Cats.

Milan was the #3 seed in the tournament and defeated #6 seed Scotland County 61-31 and #7 Clark County 50-36 to earn the shot at the title.  The Lady Cats are now 4-0 and will host Brookfield in their home opener on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of Milan Athletic Booster Club Facebook Page

Putnam County Midgets

The Putnam County Midgets are champions of the Tri-Rivers Classic for the 3rd consecutive year.  This year's championship was a 59-54 victory over #1 seed Schuyler County in overtime.  The Midgets had four players in double figures led by Mason Morris's 17 points, which are his most as a Midget.  Owen Ream added 13, Trace Riediger had 12 and Carter Simmons had 11 points.  Riediger also had a double-double in every game earning him tournament MVP honors.

Third-seeded Putnam County defeated #6 Clark County 67-38 and #2 Milan 71-46 to advance to the championship game.  The Midgets are now 4-0 and will host Novinger in their home opener on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of Putnam County Athletics Facebook Page

St. Joseph Christian Lions

The St. Joseph Christian Lions captured their first Platte Valley Invitational championship since 2020 when they defeated #4 seed North Nodaway 75-51 at Bearcat Arena.  Nick Orscheln led the Lions with 23 points.  Johnston Stewart added 21 points, and Cy Carlson scored 14.  The Lions were active from the outside during the entire tournament, connecting on 35 three-point field goals in the three games.

St. Joseph Christian entered the tournament as the #2 seed and defeated #6 Union Star 87-10 and #3 Stewartsville-Osborn 75-72 to earn a berth in the championship.  The game against Stewartsville-Osborn was won on a three-pointer by Johnston Stewart at the buzzer in overtime.  The Lions are now 4-0 and will host Bishop LeBlond on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of St. Joseph Christian Athletics Facebook Page

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

GRC West Girls Basketball 2023-24 Season Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

St. Joseph Christian girls are the coaches’ selection to win the GRC West Girls Basketball Championship for the 2023-24 season.  Last season, they finished 3rd after winning the GRC West in 2021-22.  The Lions captured six first-place votes.  Defending GRC West Champion King City received two first-place votes and is picked to finish second.  A newcomer to the GRC West, Princeton, received one first-place vote and was picked to finish third.

St. Joseph Christian

For most teams, a 20-win season would have been a success.  However, the St. Joseph Christian Lions did not meet expectations last year.  After coming off of a GRC West and District Championship the year before, the Lions finished 4-3 in conference play (20-7 overall) and lost in the District Semifinals to Bishop LeBlond.

Although St. Joseph Christian did lose Forward Ella Bowman (1st Team All-Conference) to graduation, they return a core group of players led by Chloe Burnham (1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-City, All-Area).  Chloe averaged 21.9 ppg last year, trailing only Addy Henke of Princeton as the top returning scorer in the GRC West.  She also had 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 4.8 steals per game.  Other starters returning for the Lions are seniors Jaci Jorgensen (6.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Danika Wattenbarger (6.1 ppg), and Maya Freudenthal (6.1 ppg, 35% 3-pt shooter).

Senior Taylor Parmer, a key contributor off the bench, also returns for the Lions along with junior Lexi McDaniel, whose season ended early in the year with an injury against LeBlond.  Lexi will be starting at point guard for the Lions this year.  Senior Genevieve McDowell is a newcomer to the Lions. McDowell played for the St. Joseph Defenders homeschool team last season.

Coach Erin Patrick said,  “Our expectations are very high.  We expect to compete for the GRC West championship, all three tournaments (PVI, Fairfax, & North Platte) we participate in, and for a District championship.  We should be a high-scoring and experienced team that will be competitive every night.  We will have some more depth than we have in the past.  Our schedule is a little unbalanced, with five early HOME games before Christmas break and only three more HOME games after the break.  We will play one game at St. Joseph Civic Arena and Hy-Vee Arena.”

King City

King City Lady Wildkats had one of their most successful seasons in school history last year.  They won the GRC West championship, won their own tournament, and captured the District Championship.  They finished with a 23-6 record overall and 7-0 in conference.  If they are to duplicate that success this season, they will have to be able to find production to replace Taryn Hunter (1st Team All-Conference, All-District).  Taryn was second on the team with 11.1 ppg.  Kamdyn Carlson (2.1 ppg) also graduated for the Lady Wildkats.

King City has plenty of talent to make another run at a title.  Leading scorer Zoe Tunks (14.3 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, District Player of the Year) will be back for her Senior year along with Senior Kaylee Roberts (2.9 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Junior Clare Staley (5.7 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference) and Tacee Catlett (3.9 ppg).

Coach Ryan Anderson expects a handful of freshmen and sophomores to compete for varsity minutes this season.  He said, “I think we have the capabilities to compete each night; even though we only graduated two seniors, our depth is my biggest concern at this point. Hopefully, as the season goes on, we will be able to define roles and rotations that give us the best chance to be successful. I expect us to defend well and limit the other team's possessions by taking care of the ball and not giving up offensive rebounds.

We have a lot of experience returning this year, but we are going to have to have our experience mesh with inexperienced players to create the depth needed to compete in the GRC West. There are lots of good teams in the conference, all capable of winning any given night.”


Princeton Lady Tigers finished 15-12 and 4-3 in the GRC East last season.  They are moving to the GRC West this year but will be facing a lot of familiar foes, having faced 6 of the 8 GRC West schools last season with a record of 6-4.  They will have to replace Klaire Buckler (6.1 ppg) and MaKenzie Dunkin (2.9 ppg), but the conference leading scorer, Addy Henke (24.2 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District), will be returning for her Junior season.  Also returning will be Senior Grace Kelly (9.8 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), Senior Gracie Allnutt (4.7 ppg), and Sophomore Audrey Kelly (1.2 ppg).

This year's newcomers for the Lady Tigers include Junior Macey Lewis and a trio of Freshmen - Mikaylee Henke, Gracie Mitchell, and Kymber Stark.

New coach Mike Schmidli says, “It will take some time for our young players to get acclimated with our returning players; however, as that happens, I think we will become more and more competitive with the better teams on our schedule.”

North Andrew

This season, leading scorer Junior Madison Lillard (9.9 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District) returns for the North Andrew Lady Cardinals. Still, they will have to replace their next three highest scorers from a team that finished 2nd in the GRC West last season (6-1 in conference, 15-11 overall). 

Moving on are Cassidy Brittain (9.7 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), Brylie Brincks (8.0 ppg 2nd Team All-Conference), Riley Walker (6.9 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), and Lily Smith (0.8 ppg).  The Lady Cardinals will be relying on Junior Ellie Lawrence, who sat out last season, and three players who played primarily JV last season (Junior Piper Cook, Sophomore Teigan Miller, and Sophomore Lillian Richardson) to step in and compete at the varsity level.

New coach Connar Powers said, “For this year, my expectations are mental toughness and a good attitude. We are learning as a team and coaching staff, and my expectations for the girls will be to learn with an open mind, hustle, and continue our work from the summer to toughen up mentally.”


Pattonsburg finished last season 12-13 and 3-4 in conference, finishing 4th in the GRC West.  They will return their top three scorers from last season, led by Junior Katelyn Jones (20.5 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference).  Senior Kelsey Crabtree (9.2 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Junior Kinsley Johnson (5.6 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 blocks per game) will also return to the starting lineup.  Also returning will be two players who saw time coming off the bench last season, Senior Jeighdynn Barraza and Sophomore Annabelle Gardner.

The Lady Panthers will also have two freshmen guards, Jayden Gobble and Addie Iddings, in the mix.

Coach Lee Warford said, “We return our three best players from last year, and we are bringing in two freshmen that should improve our team who are both quick guards.”


Last season was an up-and-down year for Stanberry.  They finished 13-14 and 3-4 in conference.  The season was highlighted by a big win over St. Joseph Christian in a conference game and finishing 2-1 in all three tournaments they participated in. 

The Lady Bulldogs will be entering the 23-24 season having to replace Kiley Mattson (5.6 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District) and Katie Angle (3.8 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference).  But returning for the Lady Bulldogs will be leading scorer Amelia Wallace (16.0 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District).  Other returning players for Stanberry include Lindsey Hailey (3.7 ppg), Trista Lager (3.6 ppg), and Bella Wright (who missed last season due to an ACL injury).

Senior Katlyn James, Freshman Brooke Robinson, and Freshman Josi Moffat are newcomers who expect to contribute.

Coach Taylor Wendt says, “Our biggest goal is to improve from day one to the end of the season. We want to be competitive in every game. We may be low on numbers, but this group of girls enjoys winning and always puts in the extra work to be successful, which makes them so much fun to coach. We are looking forward to having a successful season this year. We want to be playing for a trophy in every tournament and finish in the top half of the conference.”


After going winless and unable to field a team toward the end of the 21-22 season, the Albany Lady Warrior's goal last season was to stay healthy and be competitive.  They finished 5-20 and 2-5 in conference.  They look to improve on those marks this season as they return almost everyone from the team that finished last season.

Albany will be led by a senior class including Addisyn Crawford (4.8 ppg), Abby Troncin (7.0 ppg), Brook Wink (4.0 ppg), Jasmin Valderrama (0.4 ppg), and Jenna Smith (3.2 ppg).  These girls have a big part in leadership roles this year, on and off the court, to continue to help turn the program around and get back to a winning culture.

Talented Sophomores Jordyn Sterkis (7.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Hayleigh Wink (3.6 ppg) also return for the Lady Warriors.  They both got a good chunk of minutes as freshmen last year, and Coach Cody Weller believes they will keep improving.  Junior Keylee Siddens (1.5 ppg) is also returning.

Coach Weller expects the freshman class to provide much-needed depth that they struggled with last season.  Whether the freshman will see varsity action is still to be determined, but the competition they will provide the upperclassmen in practice will help tremendously immediately.

When asked about expectations, Coach Weller said, “My expectations for this upcoming season are not really centered around a win/loss goal but rather how we approach each day of practice and games. My expectation for the year is that we come into each and every game and play with energy and a purpose, and if we do that, the scoreboard should take care of itself.”

Worth County

Worth County Lady Tiger’s 8-win season was a 6-game improvement from the previous season as they finished 8-17 overall and 3-4 in conference.  If they are to make a similar jump this season, they will have to replace six seniors who graduated from last season’s team.  Top players who will be missed include Ali Brown (8.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Hailey Adwell (3.6 ppg), and Taylor Sanders (3.5 ppg).

The top returning players for Worth County are Senior Kynah Steele (8.6 ppg, 10 rpg, 3 spg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Sophomore Rylee Ruckman (2.8 ppg), who was the primary ball handler last season.  Senior Autumn Cousatte (5.0 ppg) will return from injury and play a key role at guard.

Top newcomers expected for the Lady Tigers include a trio of Freshmen: Kristen Tracy, who will play post; Kambree Briner, who is a guard and ball handler; and Keira Hardy, who will play guard.

Coach Tiffany Bliley said, “We have nine girls on this year's team, and I expect that you will see all nine of them in every game.  We are small in size, but I think we will be able to use speed and aggressiveness to our advantage.  I think we will come out in our games and be able to compete against most teams.  We have a pretty solid core group of players that will lead this team well.”

North Harrison

North Harrison will rely on a mix of young players and upperclassmen this season to continue improving.  They will have to replace four seniors who graduated last year: Leading Scorer Jayliegh Robins (10.0 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District), Trendi Johnson (7.3 ppg), Halle Morgan (3.0 ppg), and Raelynn Estrada.

Senior Jaci Davis (4.7 ppg) and Junior Kira Robertson, a defensive specialist, return for North Harrison along with Junior Cameron Fordyce, who suffered a season-ending injury in early December last season.

Newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact are Freshmen Lani Briggs and Jaxcyn Hansel.

Coach Aaron Long said, “We were unsure we were going to have enough participation to warrant a girls’ basketball team this season, but it looks like I should be able to compete this year, barring any significant injuries.”

GRC West Boys Basketball 2023-24 Season Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

Princeton is the coaches’ pick to win the GRC West Boys Basketball Championship for the 2023-24 season.  The Tigers received four first-place votes in their inaugural season in the GRC West.  St. Joseph Christian received two first-place votes and was picked to finish second.  Worth County also received two first-place votes and was picked to finish third.  North Andrew received the last first-place vote.


Princeton Tigers finished 16-9 and 4-3 in the GRC East last season.  They will move to the GRC West as the favorites to win the conference this season.  Last season, they faced 5 of the 8 GRC West teams with a  record of 6-1.  The Tigers must replace Jaden Finney (10.2 ppg), but the team's core will return.

The top two leading scorers, Senior Talan Holt (20.4 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, KMZU Dream Team) and Junior Clay Evans (15.8 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, KMZU Dream Team), return along with Senior Kelby Thomas (4.9 ppg), Junior Cooper Boxley (3.0 ppg), Junior Noel Schreffler (3.0 ppg), and Junior Tyler Coffman (2.4 ppg).

The Tigers have some incoming freshmen who have the opportunity to be significant contributors in: Hunter Lowrey, Kash Holt, Lincoln Berndt, and Chase Evans.  Along with the talent in the class, they also have some height.

Coach Damon Collins said, “With bringing several players back, including our leading scorers, I expect our team to be very competitive this season. I think we will have a chance to play for championships in our tournaments as well as compete for the GRC West title.”  He added, “We would just like to thank our fans for supporting our student-athletes through the good times and the bad. We look forward to competing and growing as a team this season.”

St. Joseph Christian

St. Joseph Christian finished 5-2 in the conference but struggled down the stretch, losing their last nine games to finish 11-15 overall last season.  However, they return the core of their team this season, hoping to improve on last season’s mark.  Returning starters for the Lions are Juniors Nick Orscheln (13.1 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference), Johnston Stewart (13.3 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), Cy Carlson (14.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), Hayden Riley (9.7 ppg) and Vail Fruechting (7.4 ppg).  Also returning will be Levi Miller (4.6 ppg), Peyton Hausman (2.1 ppg), and Logan Hubble (0.7 ppg).

Coach Neal Hook said, “We are typically the same team as last season with the hopes that a year of experience will help us to be more competitive.”

Worth County

Tyler New was the focal point for Worth County last season, scoring over 50% of the team's points.  While New is expected to continue to be the leader, they will mix in a talented class of freshmen.  Along with returning players, Worth County is expected to be a much deeper team that can challenge for the GRC West title this season.  Entering his senior season, Tyler will be coming off of a season where he scored 24.6 ppg and earned 1st Team All-Conference and All-District honors.

Coming off a 9-17 season and 3-4 in conference, the Tigers hope the newcomers can contribute immediately.  They will be replacing Levi Cassavaugh (5.6 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Tanner Ridge (6.0 ppg), and Jon Galanakis (2.6 ppg). 

Returning players include Junior Karson Briner, Junior Cannon Fletcher, Sophomore Brayden Stevens, and Sophomore Brayden Combs.  They will be joined by a very talented freshman class, including Hayden Stevens, Cole Ruby, Caleb New, Bo Collins, and Ethan Linniger.

Coach Les New said, “Worth County boys will be a much deeper team. Tyler New averaged 24 points a game last year.  We will be adding three freshman guards, Hayden Sanders, Cole Ruby, and Caleb New, who can shoot the 3-ball; also adding two freshman posts, Bo Collins and Ethan Lininger, who will help Karson Briner with Rebounding and post defense.  Brayden Stevens was hurt all last year as a freshman but will bring ball handling and athleticism to our defense.  Cannon Fletcher gives us length on defense and another shooter.  Brayden Combs, our 6th man last year as a Freshman, brings experience. 


The Pattonsburg Panthers had scoring threats throughout their lineup, with their starting five scoring over 60 points per game.  This season, the Panthers will have to replace two players, Sam Coin (12.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District) and Maesen Weller (6.3 ppg).  But they return a very talented trio of Seniors in Gage Iddings (19.5 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, District Player of the Year), Daltyn Sperry (14.4 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference,  All-District), and Landon Woodward (9.1 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference).

The Panthers are expected to be deeper this season, with the following players getting significantly more playing time than last season:  Drayson McCrary, Duke Hoover, Nash Hoover, Gavin Humphrey, and Collin Mason.

Coach Bill Pottorff said, “I expect us to continue to play hard for a full 32 minutes of basketball.  We have been working on our defense to become more sound.  I think this group could have just as good a record as last year, but we will have to be deeper as a team.”

North Andrew

North Andrew won the GRC West last season with a 7-0 record and finished 17-8 overall.  If they are going to repeat this season, they will have to replace eight seniors led by leading scorer Hayden Ecker (15.8 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District) along with Gunner Lawrence (11.3 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District), Collin Patterson (4.5 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Jacob Chittum (2.0 ppg), Andrew Goff, Aiden Miller, Koven Ehrhardt, Wyatt Pinion.  In addition, the Cardinals lost Blaise Patterson (1.8 ppg) to a season-ending injury during football season.

This left the Cardinals with only two players with significant varsity minutes from last season in Junior Braxon Linville (13.2 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Senior Trey McDaniel (5.8 ppg).  Junior Avrey Miller, Sophomore Hunter Lee, and Sophomore Mason Nester all played great at the JV level last season and will be expected to step in and compete at the varsity level this year.

Coach Wade Bryson said, “Our expectations are always to compete to the best of our ability. We graduated a lot of leadership, production, size, and athleticism. Losing Blaise for the season hurts a lot, so it will take some time for us to redefine who we are and what we do as a team. We had a great summer, and we look to build off that.  By February, we expect to be a team that could have a chance against anyone.

King City

King City will have to replace more scoring than any team in the conference.  Sophomore Ryder Sample is the only player with any significant varsity playing time last season who is returning.  He averaged 3.0 points per game, playing 13 minutes.  Gone are seven seniors – Hunter Moss (9.3 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Samuel Derks (9.7 ppg), Landan Jackson (5.9 ppg), Ty Mooney (5.1 ppg), Chase Moss (4.9 ppg), Hunter Hass (4.0 ppg), and Mason Kauffman (0.5 ppg) along with Blakely Eaton (8.8 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District) who transferred.

With Sample being the only player with significant varsity time, the Wildkats will rely on a host of newcomers.  They include Senior Brady Armfield, Sophomore Graham Medsker, Sophomore Josiah Shellhorn, Sophomore Tucker Mollus, Sophomore Brody Wall, Sophomore Cooper Mooney, Freshman Jonny Garlock, Freshman Coltin Potter, and Freshman Cayden Wainscott.

Coach Lane Schuman said, “It would be very difficult for me to make a confident prediction on what our record will look like at the end of this upcoming season. With very little returning varsity experience and an average age of approximately 15 years old to start the season, we can expect a lot of growing pains and learning experiences throughout the year. These young guys have all had a great deal of individual and team success at every point of their basketball careers leading up to this point. Now, it is on us to establish our identity and grow into that over the next few years. I expect us to come out and be competitive throughout the season.”

North Harrison

While North Harrison struggled in the conference last season, they were able to win seven games, including going 2-1 in both the South Harrison and Gilman City Tournaments.  They look to improve on that win total this year as they return most of their team and add some additional talent.

Tyson Gibson (8.9 ppg) graduated, but the Shamrock’s leading scorer, Senior Keygun Johnson (14.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), is returning along with Sophomore Ethan Henson (5.0 ppg) and Senior Jerry Kilpatrick (7.1 ppg).  Junior Owan Roberson and Freshman Wyatt Maize are newcomers expected to play a significant role.

New coach Justin Joiner said, “To keep building off last year. The kids made a lot of progress over the summer. We return everyone except Tyson Gibson. Owan Roberson is eligible this season, and we have three incoming freshmen.  The kids have been working hard these 1st two weeks. I'm excited to get the season started.”


After finishing 2nd in the state the season before, Stanberry struggled last season, winning just four games overall.  They took another hit when their leading scorer, Senior Colby McQuinn (16.7 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District), suffered a season-ending injury during football season.  They will also have to replace their second-leading scorer, Adam Jensen (9.6 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), who graduated.  Taking on the task of leading the Bulldogs this year will be Junior Colby McQueen (7.3 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Junior Calvin Smithson (3.1 ppg), and Senior Kolton Dias (2.1 ppg).

Newcomers expected to get significant playing time are Jordyn Wright, Decker Heyde, and Jaren Stoll.

Coach Nick Groomer said, “We planned on competing in the top half of the conference before Colby got hurt.  We are trying to be competitive every time we play.”


For Albany, replacing the conference’s leading scorer will not be easy.  Kemper Cline (28.2 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference) will leave a big hole for the Warriors this season.  Also gone from the Warriors will be Sam Stamper (3.3 ppg) and Troy Popplewell (2.1 ppg), who was injured much of last season.

Returning for Albany will be Senior Timothy Poppa (7.9 ppg), Senior Kole Emerson (3.5 ppg), Junior Seth Miller (0.6 ppg), Junior Chase Cline (3.8 ppg), and Sophomore Daulton Worrell (1.4 ppg).  All five of them started at some point last season.

Newcomers and players expected to see more time are Junior Keghan Schaefer, Junior Kyle Emerson, Sophomore Jace Palmer, Sophomore Shae Miller, and Freshman Jarrett Smith.

Coach Jeffrey Epperly said, “We will miss Kemper Cline's presence on the defensive end as well as his ability to create on the offensive end.  We look forward to playing a more team-oriented style of basketball as we search for and develop leaders on and off the court.”

GRC Girls Basketball 2023-24 Season Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

Defending GRC Champion South Harrison received six first-place votes and is the coaches’ pick to win the GRC Girls Basketball Championship for the 2023-24 season.  Polo received the only other first-place vote and was picked second.  Trenton was picked third by the coaches.

South Harrison

South Harrison’s senior class of girls is used to winning.  Not only is the girls' basketball team the defending GRC Champions, but they have also enjoyed success at the state level in golf, softball, and track.  This year’s Basketball team looks to continue that trend for the Lady Bulldogs.  After they won the conference title, they made it to the Class 3 Quarterfinals before falling to El Dorado Springs.

Everyone will return from last season’s team that finished 23-6 and 7-0 in conference.  They are led by the GRC’s leading returning scorer, Senior Hannah Carter (17.6 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, All-State, District Player of the Year).  Other key players returning are Junior Abigail Molloy (11.6 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District), Senior Megan Norris (4.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference), Senior Hallee Chamberlin (4.3 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Senior Emma Chamberlin (4.1 ppg), and Sophomore Lexi Hunter (4.0 ppg).

Freshman Bailey Barnett, Sophomore Abby Owens, Senior Megan Bottcher, and Junior Aubree Cannon, among multiple others, will be expected to help provide the Lady Bulldogs depth this season.

Coach Kale Watson said, “The bar was set pretty high last year for this squad as they made it to the Quarterfinals in Class 3 and ended the season ranked 7th leading into this year. Those accomplishments have really raised expectations around here for this season, and for good reason. I think that this year, we have some very nice pieces to add to our team to make us deeper off the bench & hopefully help us play faster. I look for us to be a stronger team inside with some nice additions & girls that have come along over the summer to add depth in that area. I fully expect our guards to be an even larger contributor to our offensive production & to make our defense more aggressive. However, our biggest challenge is going to be getting everyone to gel/mesh together to utilize our depth correctly.  Our #1 goal this season is just being really great at who WE ARE day in and day out. This group has some big expectations to fill, but if I know anything about these girls, it's that they are up to a good challenge.”


Polo had some ups and downs last season but was able to cap off the season with a second consecutive District Championship.  The District Championship helped earn the late Wally Aubrey District Coach of the Year.  Cody Glenn will be taking over the coaching duties this year.

They finished 2nd in the GRC East at 6-1 and 20-7 overall.  They will have to replace three talented players from last year’s team.  Gone are Chloe Gilbert (10.1 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District, KMZU Dream Team), Lily Gentry (8.3 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference, All-District), and Jade Misel (3.6 ppg).

The Lady Panthers will have leading scorer Hanna Vaught returning (14.5 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, All-State, District Player of the Year, KMZU Dream Team).  Also returning will be Senior Layna Norton (4.7 ppg), Sophomore Libby Norton (5.3 ppg), Sophomore Kendyl Fitzwater (2.2 ppg), and Sophomore Emma Chapman.

Coach Glenn said, “There has been a lot of improvement from last year leading into our summer ball. I am excited to see who is ready to compete for those spots that need to be filled from our Seniors last year. One of those spots being a point guard, which is a very important role, but we are excited to see the girls compete against each other in practice and prove to us who wants it more. The other big spot for us will be replacing Chloe Gilbert in the rebounding category. She was a natural rebounder who had a nose for the ball and passed the ball extremely well. But I think with some of the younger girls coming up, we have good opportunities to fill some spots.”

He added, “I have high hopes and expectations for this year. They are coming off back-to-back district championships, and players who played on those teams are still here. It is a great group of girls and a senior group that is super competitive and knows the feeling, and knows what it is going to take to win games this season. They are outstanding leaders with an amazing work ethic, so having the younger girls feed off them will be a huge benefit going into this season. We're looking to get past that Sectional game this year where we have come up short in the last two years.”


After a rocky start last season, the Trenton Lady Bulldogs finished the season strong, winning seven of their last nine regular season games.  They hope to build on that momentum this season as they return virtually their entire team.  Junior Mirena King (14.3 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District) was the team’s leading scorer last season.  Senior Madi Moore (5.0 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District) also took home postseason honors.  Also returning will be Junior Astrid Soriano (6.2 ppg), Junior Kenzie Lynch (2.6 ppg), Junior Kaegen Croy (4.3 ppg), and Sophomore Kaylor Hodge (5.8 ppg), all of whom started games last year at some time.  This gives the Lady Bulldogs six returning starters from last season, a luxury that few teams have.  Seniors Jena Harris and Katelyn Clark are also expected to play significant roles.  Newcomers Freshman Kimberly Clark and Junior Ayra Meeker will give Trenton some added depth.  Freshmen Cozette McLain, Zaylea Phillips, Catelin Bowe, and Olivia Tabbert will round out the roster.

Steve Richman replaces Kameron Cool as coach of the Lady Bulldogs this season.  Richman is coming over from Princeton, where his Lady Tigers led the GRC in points scored with 52.8 per game.  Under Cool, Trenton played a deliberate style that kept the games in the 30s.  Coach Richman said, “In my first year here, we will change the entire style of play.  We are going to play at a quick pace and look to pressure on defense.”


Last season, Milan had to learn to play without Cady Pauley.  They finished 12-15 overall and 2-5 in conference.  While they had some bumps along the way, they have a solid group of returning players looking to bring the Lady Cats back to a winning season.

Auburn Cole (7.7 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference, All-District), Hallie Weaver (4.7 ppg), Gracie Dickson, and Emily Menchaca are gone from last year's team.  But the leading scorer, Sophomore Marian Dabney (12.1 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District), will return.  Dabney also led the team in rebounds and blocks and was 2nd in assists.  Also returning will be Junior Emerson Pauley (3.8 ppg), who led the team in assists and will be the point guard, and Junior Amy Pickering (5.1 ppg), another guard who led the team in steals and is the Lady Cats' best on-the-ball defender.  Senior Avery Pickering, Junior Violet Gray, Sophomore Jazmin Cisneros, and Freshman Mya Pauley are other players expected to play significant roles. 

Coach Ched Hurley said, “We think we could be a really good team and want to vie for conference and district championships.”


Gallatin Lady Bulldogs improved from 4 wins to 12 last season.  They finished 12-13 overall and 4-3 in conference.  They are hoping to make another significant improvement again this season.  They will have to replace Presley Wells (6.0 ppg), Elle Copple (3.4 ppg), and Addison Pratt (2.1 ppg) from last year’s team.  However, Gallatin will return their three leading scorers:  Senior Annabelle Ball (12.9 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District, KMZU Dream Team, KKWK All-Star Team), Junior Kallie Salmon (8.8 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference, KMZU Dream Team), and Senior Ashley Feiden (6.4 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference).

Coach Trish Adkison said, “We are going to be short in the height department this year, and so we have discussed how we will have to out-hustle our opponents. We made great progress last season and look forward to continuing to build on our successes. One of our goals this season is to be in the top three in the conference.  We talked a lot this summer about being team-oriented and wanting the success of our teammates as well as ourselves. We have goals that we have established and certain things that we expect of the players. Everyone has a vital role to play on the team to make sure they are doing their best at fulfilling their role.”

Putnam County

The Putnam County Midgets had a young team that went through some growing pains last season.  They finished 11-15 overall and 2-5 in conference.  They did have some highlights.  They went 2-1 in both the Tri-Rivers Classic and Milan Tournament.  In addition, they were able to win six consecutive games in January. 

They will be replacing three players.  Three-year starters Adeline Dickerson (6.0 ppg) and Jesslyn Knowles (6.8 ppg) both graduated along with Taylor Powell, who started last season.   

Putnam County will be returning their top three scorers.  Leading the way will be Junior Allise Perkins (8.2 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference).  She will be joined by Senior Karley Seaton (7.3 ppg), Sophomore Jenna Knowles (7.0 ppg, All-District), and Senior Emma Whitlock (5.5 ppg).  Sophomore Sammi Blanchard (3.4 ppg) will be expected to step in and have a more significant role this season.

Coach Keith Smith said, “Our expectations are simple. We want to continue to grow our team chemistry, work hard, develop good habits, and have fun.  If we do these things, I feel we will be able to compete nightly and ultimately accomplish our team goals.”


Maysville struggled last season, winning just two games.  They will return their top two players this year and add some talent in the freshman class as they look to improve on that mark this season.  They will have to replace Hayley Sweiger (3.8 ppg).  Seniors Elana Clark (8.7 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Sydney Popplewell (6.2 ppg) will lead the Lady Wolverines.  Newcomers that new coach Tyler Zimmerman expects to contribute are Freshmen McKenzie Mason and Harley Sweiger.

Coach Zimmerman said, “I expect tremendous growth throughout the season. I expect to see the team grow into a more aggressive defensive team. We have some inexperience going into the season, which will cause some bumps in the road in the early part of the season, but we will continue to get better and fix the things we can fix.  Our team only won two games last year and graduated one player. We replace that lone senior with two freshmen who will contribute right away on varsity. We are not blessed with height, but we do have some speed and athleticism if I can figure out how to use it the right way. We do return one of the better outside shooters in the conference, so we will try to space the floor out with shooting from all areas of the court.  I want to shoot for double-digit wins this season. With our talent and our competition, I think that is very possible if we can stay healthy.

GRC Boys Basketball 2023-24 Season Preview

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

Maysville received six first-place votes and is the coaches’ pick to win the GRC Boys Basketball Championship for the 2023-24 season.  Maysville finished 3rd in the GRC East in each of the last two seasons.  Milan received the only other first-place vote and was picked second.  Putnam County was picked third by the coaches.


Maysville finished 3rd in the GRC East each of the past two seasons, winning 22 games last year.  Two players are gone from last year, Trey Hall and Hunter Smidt, but the Wolverines return their entire starting line-up this season.  They have their sights set on bigger things. 

Senior Kobyn Metzger (16.0 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District, Cliff Note’s All-Star, KKWK All-Star) and Junior Dillon Willis (19.1 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, Cliff Note’s All-Star, KKWK All-Star) return as our top scorers and rebounders along with Senior Kayden Gabbard (7.1 ppg), Junior Kris Gabbard (7.0 ppg), and Senior Tanner Evans (9.0 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference). Senior Caleb Renfro (2.8 ppg) and Sophomore Carson Bray (1.8 ppg) will be solid reserve players. Brock Windham is also back after sitting out last season due to injury.  Isaak Perkins is a newcomer that has the potential to give us some added depth. Eli Gaiser could also get more varsity minutes this year.

Coach Chris McMillen said, “Our expectations for this year are to continue to work hard, play great defense, and continue to improve our all-around game. We had some success last year, but we want to improve upon and exceed that this year.”


Milan has been one of the most successful programs in the GRC, having won at least 20 games in the last two seasons and five of the last six years.  In addition, they have won five District Championships in the last six seasons.  They will have to replace two starters this year with Jeremy Bennett (15.6 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Nathan Keck (8.4 ppg) graduating. 

If the Wildcats are to continue their winning tradition, Senior Ahmet Niasse (15.2 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District, District Player of the Year) will be one of the keys to their success.  Senior Jared Gonzalez (4.5 ppg), Junior Ethan Bennett (3.4 ppg), and Senior DonDivin Ngombo (2.0 ppg) are players who saw significant time last year and will return for Milan.

Junior Erick Reyes, Junior Tony Linhart, Junior Macky Sow, and Sophomore Anthony Bolden are expected to play a more significant role for the Wildcats this year.

Coach Andrea Dabney said, “Last season, we played 5-6 guys and are looking to expand that to maybe as many as nine guys in a rotation.  Other than that, we will be more of the same...hopefully, gritty defense and hard-nosed kids.  We will once again be undersized, but I think we will be able to make up for that with athleticism and experience.  Another factor we will have to deal with is the late arrival of our football team to practice.  Once those guys get there, it may take a little while to get into basketball mode.

Putnam County

Putnam County had a winning season last year, finishing 17-11 and 4-3 in conference.  Brayden McReynolds (8.1 ppg), Chase Tomlin (3.6 ppg), and Blaine Perkins (3.5 ppg) are gone from last year's team.

The Midgets return their top two scorers, Owen Ream (16.0 ppg, 1st Team All-Conference, All-District) and Trace Riediger (13.5 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference, All-District).  Mason Morris (5.3 ppg) and Carter Simmons (4.3 ppg) will also return.  Kooper Hornaday (3.8 ppg) saw some varsity time last year after some injuries and is expected to play much more this year.  Avery Campbell is a new face to varsity this season and is expected to make a difference on the Midgets team.  In total, 33 boys have gone out for basketball for Putnam County.

Coach Kyle Fleshman said, “I expect the boys to become better men, better teammates, and better basketball players.”


Gallatin’s Class of 2023 won 82 games, two conference titles, and a district championship over their four seasons.  Isaac Bird (20.4 ppg) and Payton Feiden (15.8 ppg) were Unanimous 1st-Team All-Conference selections during each of the last three seasons.  Both players also earned All-District honors, and Bird also was All-State.  But Bird and Feiden will not be the only ones that Gallatin will have to replace.  Also departing were Brett Hemry (6.4 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference), Peyton Johnson (3.4 ppg), and Durk Stout (8.0 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference).  These seniors' leadership to the program is immeasurable and will be extremely difficult to replace.

The new coach, Tanner Smith, will oversee that task.  To help him will be Senior Boston Bell (4.2 ppg), Senior Jaden Wilson (0.4 ppg), Junior Brody Bird (1.2 ppg), and Sophomore Gavyn Wilmes (4.0 ppg), who will return from last year’s team.  Each of them came off the bench last season but will have a more significant role this year.  Regarding the returning players, Coach Smith said, “Getting to experience some crucial minutes in some very important basketball games will be valuable as these guys look to grow into their new roles this season. While their ability to score, rebound, and defend will no doubt be important to the success of our team, so is their ability to grow into the leaders of our program. With a great group of seniors that graduated last year, we will lean on these guys a ton.”

Newcomers to the Bulldogs’ team include Sophomore Pryce Johnson, Sophomore Jack Donovan, and Sophomore Sullivan Bird.  Coach Smith said, “These guys getting to practice every day against the group from last year will no doubt help their transition to the Varsity level. The jump up is always a big one, but I’m extremely excited to see them continue to grow throughout the season, as these guys will be big parts of our future.”

Coach Smith added, “We have a young group that is stepping into a lot of new roles this upcoming season. There will be a lot of new faces for the Gallatin Bulldogs and a lot of new guys getting some of their first taste of Varsity Basketball. Inexperience and some early growing pains with guys getting to gel with each other are to be expected. With that being said,  I expect us to compete and play extremely hard on both ends of the court day in and day out. I hope that our guys can continue to grow and build their skills as we move throughout the season. I think our team has the potential to be a fun group to watch because of our ability to share the ball and play unselfishly. If we match that with the drive to compete, I’m excited to see what is ahead for this group.”


Polo went 9-15 last season (1-6 in conference), but 8 of the 15 losses were by six or fewer points.  Last season, the Panthers were a young team with difficulty finishing close games.  New head coach Josh Junco hopes that the experience from four returning starters will help Polo turn those close losses into wins this season.  One key departure from last season is Zadin Owens (7.7 ppg, 4 rpg).

Junior Maverick Gentry (13.7 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference) and Junior Gage Gilbert (9.3 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference) will lead the Panthers this season.  Senior Hunter McGee (6.0 ppg) and Senior Logan Raby (5.1 ppg) will also return.  Junior Brandon Wallace, Senior Tyler Carter, Senior Levi Bolling, and Senior Garrett Roberts did not see as much playing time and are expected to make a big jump this season.

Coach Junco said, “We have some young guys that could see some time off the bench. We are a pretty athletic team who should be pretty deep. I see our team as one of the top finishers in the conference who will make a giant leap this year.  We lost eight games by 6 points or less last year. We are hoping with maturity, skill development, and an adjusted play style and defensive shift, we will be able to score more points and give up less. This team is full of athletes with size and passion. Once we come together and play for each other, we should be able to accomplish anything.


Trenton Bulldogs’ 6-win season last year was their most wins in four years and a 5-win improvement over the season before.  Coach Jon Guthrie is looking for the Bulldogs to make even more considerable improvements this season.  Although they will be missing Tucker Otto (3.6 ppg, Academic All-State), one of their best defenders, Trenton will return their top scorers, Junior Kiefer Tolson (20.2 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District) and Senior Gabe Novak (12.2 ppg, Honorable Mention All-Conference, All-District).

This season, they will have a veteran team, with Senior Seth Doolittle, Senior Maverick Sole, Senior Bradyn Sager, and Junior Hunter Smith also returning for the Bulldogs.  Newcomers to varsity include Senior Evan Claycomb, Sophomore Isaac Dixon, Sophomore Garrison Otto, and Sophomore Elijah Miller.

Coach Guthrie said, “We finished the season strong last year, winning a District tournament game.  That was our first postseason win since 2019.  We also improved our average points per game to fifty.  This was an improvement of 12 points per game.  We have been working hard this off-season on competing hard with each possession and trying to improve our half-court defense.  We want to take care of the basketball and decrease our offensive turnovers.  We would like to improve, have a winning season, and attempt to finish higher in both conference and district play. 

South Harrison

South Harrison finished 9-17 overall and 1-6 in conference last season.  If they are to improve upon that mark, they will have to find someone to replace leading scorer Jad Cornett (17.5 ppg, 2nd Team All-Conference, All-District).  Also gone from last year’s team will be Grant Williams (8.0 ppg, All-District), Hunter Ackley (5.4 ppg), and Luke Sweat (2.2 ppg). 

This season, Senior Braxton Booth (7.0 ppg), Sophomore Jett Cornett (8.7 ppg), Sophomore Levi McDaniel (1.4 ppg), and Junior Cooper Johnson (0.5 ppg) will return for the Bulldogs.  They will be joined by newcomers Freshman Khale Taggart and Sophomore Brody Templeton.

Coach Aaron Fitzpatrick said, “Our expectation is to just go out and compete on a nightly basis.  One of our everyday goals is to just get better and continue to improve.”

Saturday, November 4, 2023

St. Joseph Christian defeats Bishop LeBlond 26-20 in a battle of cross-town rivals to advance to the District Championship

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

St. Joseph Christian 26 Bishop LeBlond 20

In a battle of the two private schools in St. Joseph, St. Joseph Christian knocked off the Bishop LeBlond Eagles 26-20 to advance to their first District Championship game since 2014.  It was also the Lion's first win over Bishop LeBlond in football (in four meetings).

The Lions received the ball to start the game but fumbled the ball at the Eagle's 34-yard line.  However, penalties stalled LeBlond's first drive forcing them to punt.  St. Joseph Christian took advantage when Cy Carlson scored on an option from 16 yards to put the Lions up 6-0 with 6:06 left in the 1st quarter.  LeBlond was able to get into the red zone on their next drive but turned it over on downs with 46 seconds left in the quarter.  The first quarter ended with St. Joseph Christian up 6-0.

On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Peyton Hausman broke free for a 41-yard touchdown run.  He also scored on the conversion to put the Lions up 14-0 with 11:50 left in the half.  The Eagles would answer when Jackson Sigrist scored from 10 yards out with 5:11 left.  He would catch the conversion from Cooper Tabor to cut the Lion's lead to 14-8.

Almost half of the scoring in the game came in the last 2-plus minutes of the 1st half.  With 2:11 left, Hausman scored his 2nd touchdown of the game from 3 yards.  After a failed conversion, the Lions led 20-8.  The Eagles answered when Tabor scored from 5 yards with 1:18 left to cut it to 20-14.  But the Lions were able to extend the lead right before the half when Levi Miller found Vail Freuchting in the end zone from 13 yards.  It was 26-14 at halftime.

The second half was mostly defense.  LeBlond turned it over on downs on their first possession, but the Lions immediately fumbled it to give the ball back.  LeBlond would take advantage when Trey Icke ran it in from a yard.  The conversion was no good which made it 26-20 in favor of St. Joseph Christian with 6:06 left in the 3rd quarter.  The Lions would turn it over on downs on their next possession, and the quarter would end with the Eagles still trailing 26-20. 

The Eagles were driving in the 4th quarter and got the ball inside the Lion's 10-yard line.  On a 4th and 5 throw, the refs threw a flag for defensive pass interference on St. Joseph Christian.  However, it was called off because the ball was tipped.  Much to the ire of LeBlond's coaches and fans, St. Joseph Christian took over at their own 5-yard with 9:47 left in the game.

LeBlond forced a punt at the 6:15 mark with another chance to tie or take a lead.  However, they fumbled with 3:27 left and St. Joseph Christian ran out the clock to secure a 26-20 win and a date with Plattsburg in the District Championship game.

Postgame from Tommy Rezac at St. Joseph Post:

Here is my postgame podcast and interview with coach Troy Schenk:

Here are photos from the game:

Highlights from Chris Roush Media:

Sunday, October 22, 2023

St. Joseph Christian knocks off #10 Stanberry to complete first winning season since 2016

by Jeremy Benson,

Sponsored by

St. Joseph Christian 28 #10 Stanberry 8

From 2019 to 2022, St. Joseph Christian had a record of 1-33.  They were picked to finish last in the Grand River Conference West.  No one outside of the St. Joseph Christian gave them much of a chance this season.  However, inside the program, there was some optimism that they had some winnable games, and if things fell into place, a winning season was possible.  A 6th win on Friday would guarantee the Lions a winning season for the first time since 2016.

In the Lion's way was the #10 Stanberry Bulldogs.  Stanberry had won their last four games against St. Joseph Christian and was 6-2 coming into the game. However, they were missing quarterback Colby McQuinn and running back Tucker Schieber.  But even without both players, the Bulldogs were still able to shut out North Andrew 38-0 the week before.

The Lions were able to get on the board with a drive over five minutes to start the game.  Cy Carlson ran it in from 4 yards out to put St. Joseph Christian up 6-0 with 6:44 left.  After Aiden Martindale recovered a fumble for the Lions, they would capitalize again when Peyton Hausman scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 2:57 left in the first quarter.  The Lions ended the first quarter with a 12-0 lead.

The second and third quarters were dominated by defense.  Both teams recovered fumbles in the second, and then Stanberry's Colby McQueen intercepted Levi Miller.  Stanberry was able to move the ball inside the Lion's 5-yard line but was unable to convert when they turned it over on downs at the 7-yard line with 7 seconds left in the half.

In the third quarter, Peyton Hausman had a 40-yard TD reception but was called back due to an illegal block.  Stanberry got into the red zone but turned it over on downs.  St. Joseph Christian's lead remained at 12-0 after three quarters.

The Lions would score again early in the 4th when Hausman scored from a yard out with 10:59 left in the game.  After the conversion, the Lions were up 20-0.  Stanberry got on the scoreboard when McQueen connected with Treston Williams from 7 yards.  After a successful conversion, it was 20-8 St. Joseph Christian with 7:59 left.

Stanberry's still had some hope just under 3 minutes left when St. Joseph Christian had a 4th and 5 from the Stanberry 17-yard line.  But Mason Stewart found Vail Freuchting open, and Freuchting took it in for the score to make it 28-8 after the conversion with 2:40 left in the game.

A Martindale interception with 2:34 left sealed the game.  Both teams finish the regular season at 6-3 and 4-3 in conference, tied for 3rd place.

St. Joseph Chrisitan earned the #2 seed in District 5 and will host Bishop LeBlond on November 3.  Stanberry earned the #4 seed in District 7 and will host King City on October 27.

I caught up with both coaches after the game on the GRC Podcast:

Here are photos of the game including photos of Senior Night for Stanberry: