The Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament kicks off December 26, and will run until December 30 at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. However, the seedings and bracket for the tournament have already been released. Take a look at them at the link below.
However, it’s tough to properly rank these teams early on.
What I decided to do is rank these teams based on performances I’ve seen/read for the past week. Now, these will be subject to change next week, as all of these teams have pretty important match-ups to play before tournament play gets going next week. I’ll release a revised edition either next Sunday or Monday.
For now, This is what I like to call, a Blind Taste Test.
- Jackson-This team is finally clicking together, with finally winning their first SEMO Conference Tournament title, although the conference season has just begun, they are hot with a well-balanced set of shooters in Josh Friess, Karson King, and Blake Reynolds. Consistency is key, and that’s what Jackson is thriving in right now.
- Notre Dame-Getting on a hot streak is absolutely key when it comes to winning game after game, and night after night. Notre Dame wasn’t rated that high in seedings of the SEMO Conference Tournament, but boy did they prove powerhouses Sikeston and Charleston wrong, even if they squeaked those wins out. Now they’ve raised a little more attention with the run in Sikeston. Quinn Poythress is the leader of this team, but watch out when Grant Ressel fires up beyond the arc. This team was involved in one of the greatest games we’ve seen in quite sometime against the Bulldogs last Thursday. The question is, can they rise up again Friday night against said Bulldogs, and later on in this tournament?
- Charleston-Despite a loss to ND, Charleston starts the season with a 4-2 campaign with losses to Notre Dame and West Memphis, AR. Nonetheless this is squad that is led by Delfincko Bogan, who’s been averaging around 27 points per game. It’s noted that this squad is a little inexperienced, but still keeps in the top 10 preseason ranking in Class 3. They’re starting to click now. However, their ability to close out games against opponents like ND and West Memphis is something to note, combining the final deficits of those games is only 4 points. The two games they won in the SEMO tournament against NMCC and Poplar bluff? 12 apiece. When the lead is open, they’re fine. They have to keep it open if they want to raise the trophy for a third consecutive year.
- Oran-We’ve seen them top an average to subpar Scott City squad this past Friday. Then again, we’ve still see then play more competitive basketball, which will happen Saturday as they face SCC in the OIT Tournament title game on their home court. But when you have strong leaders such as Seth Ressel, Hunter Schlosser, and Chance Tenkhoff, its hard to doubt this team when they are turning on the buckets. Senior leadership and chemistry is key, and has been for this squad. That’s why they went as far as they did to Columbia last March.
- SCC-Depth is key with this perennial powerhouse, and according to the season preview from the Southeast Missourian, coach Staples mentions that they have “10 guys that we can legitimately play.” The team has topped another powerhouse, Kennett at the start of the year in the Riverbend Classic, but had some tough competition with Chaffee in the OIT. While they have a finals date with Oran on Saturday, a date with Advance is also in sight. Keep in mind, I need to find results from the Ozark Mountain Shootout if they did play in that tournament after all. Nonetheless, this is a good squad, but it could be a streaky one as time goes on.
- Cape Central-I’ve never been sold on this squad, but they always find a way to make a run in tournament play. Granted, some of their players are getting back into basketball form after playing in the state Football playoffs, but going two and out in the SEMO Conference Tournament is not the wisest route is not the wisest route to starting your season. Andre Statham and Jamal Cox are two big factors for this team returning 4 starters from last season. Now, you have to get some of that magic rolling again. I have Central here because of what they’ve done in the past. Now, prove to me what you can do now. If Central and Charleston clash in a potential semifinal bout, it’ll be interesting to see how this team fares against Danny Farmer’s club. Even if its a close loss, it’ll begin to prove me wrong.
- Leopold.-This team is slowly becoming one of my favorite teams in Class 1. And yet, they still get undersold and looked because of the SCC factor when it comes to District time. Nonetheless, with a Woodland Tournament title underneath their belt against teams such as Perryville, Oak Ridge, and Meadow Heights. They’re a defensive minded team in my eyes, as they haven’t been known to score that much. But making changes to defense in the WIT final shows me why this team can contend. How they may fare against Jackson potentially is still fairly scary, they can make a solid run for the 5th place crown.
- Advance.-Coach Bubba Wheetly calls this team a rebuilding team, due to injuries from Matt Hood, and Austin Miller. Lane Below also was out early in the year as well. Nonetheless, Miller and Below lit up the scoreboard over Puxico last Friday, 93-76. This team is known to shoot the ball, and shoot it well. However, they have a test with SCC coming up tomorrow night at home. Their first round match with Chaffee in the Christmas Tournament is one that is really really good on paper. How good? We’ll find out down the road, but if guard play improves, this team could finally make some signature moments they’ve long awaited for.
- Chaffee.-A team usually near the bottom of the rankings has a major need. The need for speed, that is. They have it with all 5 returning starters looking for something to prove in the Scott-Mississippi Conference this season, and if a close affair with SCC says anything, it’ll be interesting to see how they can make it not only in this tournament, but also in that Class 2 District 3 title race, as they and Advance are all chasing Oran, in one of the most competitive districts in the state heats up even more.
- Oak Ridge-This team lost star Ryan Below last year before District Tournament play, but he and coach Adam Stoneking have a goal of winning districts, according to the SE Missourian preview. For a team that has been a constellation finalist for the past three years, they now want to starve off an upset and move into the winners bracket. Leopold has been the kryptonite for this team though. They got a late 3 in the WIT semis, and thwarted the Blue Jays last year in opening round play. Nonetheless, is it their time now? With a little magic, maybe. I still see them as a starter for the final day of Tournament play, nonetheless.
- Woodland-Scott Davis is inheriting a team that is looking to make noise in Marble Hill. Something that we haven’t seen that much of until last year. While they picked up a win in last years tournament against Kelly, it’s interesting to see how Devon Gramlisch and Garret Reynolds will lead their team to a season that could even get the usual cellar-dwellers in the SCAA some attention. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did later, but not now in this tournament.
- Scott City-Another constant team appearing the losers bracket for the past few years, may need to generate some more chemistry with a very young squad, with only one senior. Nonetheless, Trent Pobst made noise in last years tournament against Oak Ridge, as he was a young freshman starter. It’s a learning curve for this team, but an early exit may not be in the cards. However, another date with Oak Ridge in the tournament is possible as well.
- Meadow Heights-This team has height, but not depth unfortunately. Nonetheless, with a slew returning starters and only three seniors, the program and its culture could have some hope in the future. Coach Mark Verticchio says “getting them (the team) to realize that basketball takes a lot of work.” Maybe we see work getting done later on, as a date with Central is not the best way to start a tournament for a program that’s rebuilding.
- Kelly-This is a team that is trying to spark some sort of fire, but is having trouble finding that spark. Granted, they haven’t had much action this season, thanks to the weather-delayed schedules we’ve seen. But facing SCC and losing by 40+ points isn’t an accurate read for this team yet. I want to see how they can fare Saturday against a Malden squad that has had some minor issues as well this season.
- Bell City-10 years ago, this team was one of the best in the state. Now, they’ve fallen all the way to the bottom. However, after watching some JV play early this season, they could have a solid squad in the next year or two.
- Delta-First year coaches have been a reccuring theme for SEMO High School hoops, and Robert Vazquez is no exception. The team is looking to play tighter defense, according to an interview with the Southeast Missourian. But giving up 78 points to Oak Ridge and a 45 point loss to East Prairie isn’t the best way to go about that. Nonetheless, this team could grow into something special, like the bobcat mount at the High School.
Once again, these will be subject to change as of next week, so keep your eyes open to the blog, and see where the teams will shake out to next week.