Monday, December 16, 2013

Bloomfield Christmas Tournament- Pre-Tip Rankings #1

This is arguably the toughest power rankings I’ve ever done. My top three or four are pretty clear cut, in my opinion, but ranking all these teams in the middle are EXTREMELY difficult to figure out. Nonetheless, I still gave it my best shot and will have an even better idea next week, after all of these teams play some more competition. It’s amazing what weather can do when trying to figure out who’s the best, isn’t it? 
Bracket for the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament is in the link below. 

Action gets going December 26th at 10 A.M. at Bloomfield High School. TV Coverage available on YHC TV (New Wave Cable-21) & online at

  1. Hayti-This is the most complete team to me in this field. Arguably, a huge favorite for me to return to Columbia as well. This team has come up big when they needed to the most by topping Caurthersville in the Lion Classic, taking care of South Pemiscot earlier in said Classic, and a big win against Portageville. Frankie and Brandon Burden are the two leaders on this squad, but they have a great supporting cast with Cedric Harris, Kenyatte Brooks, and Demetrious Luster. This team can come up clutch when need be, and instead of making noise early in the season, Coach Phillip Taylor and his Indians are making it happen now. 
  2. Kennett-Antavies Drake and Kevonte Mitchell are the two stars of this squad. They’ve won three out of the last four christmas tournament titles, and who said they aren’t favorites to do it again? Only reason I have this team below Hayti,is because defense isn’t as strong as it used to be in my opinion. The team had good starts against Jackson and Sikeston in the SEMO Conference Tournament, but seemed to falter out in the 2nd quarter in both matchups. That being said, with the team returning to that tournament, it’s only going to make them better when it comes to District Play, since Kennett has moved on up to Class 4. Plus, playing in the same conference as Hayti, Caruthersville, and South Pemiscot is no easy task either. 
  3. Bernie-This team is always solid year in and year out, winning 6 out of 7 Bernie/Holcomb/Whatever School Invitationals, and their fifth in a row. Yet, trying to replace  key figures like David Baker,Landon Woods, and Sam Turner is always going to be tough. Nonetheless, they’ve knocked off all of their opponents by at least 22 points, and even at that was to a decent Holcomb squad. Plus,you never know who’s going to score more one night. One night could be Caleb Ellenberg, the other could be B.J. Jennings. They still have games against Woodland and Bell City next week, but do you really see them dropping those? Their first Major competition could come into play on Semifinal night, as a potential matchup with Hayti may be in store. But even at that, looking at their regular season schedule, they could escape with maybe 2 or 3 losses at most. 
  4. South Pemiscot-This team was extremely close to taking a trip to sectionals, but fell to the Mules by just three points. Nonetheless, they look to make a deep run in the next few weeks at Bloomfield with most of their cast members from last season. The bad thing is that they fall usually right in the middle of that tough Class 2 District 1 Pool. The good news is, anyone can win on any given night in it as well. Look for them to make some noise. 
  5.  Holcomb-This is where things get a little difficult to gage and rank where teams should belong, but Holcomb is not as down as you think. Yes, they’ve lost most of their stars in Jamie Massey and Michael Glover, but Ryan Reeves and Company are looking to prove many wrong, as this squad is mostly new, but ready for the task to defend their Christmas Tournament title. They are a defensive minded squad by all means, so keep that in mind, as they haven’t passed 50 points this season. I love the chemistry that this program has had. However, we’ll get a better read on them after matches with Portageville and Hayti this week. 
  6. Saxony Lutheran-The interesting thing about this squad is how much we don’t know on them. They’ve always been a defense intensive squad, but can shoot well in 3 point land, thanks to targets like Jack Lake, Hunter Coe, and Chse Steffens. The team won the Rolla “Duke” Herbert Classic this past week in Crystal City thanks to wins over Jefferson and Ste. Geneveive. The team also has taken home a win over Herculaneum as well. They’ve dominated in the north, but how will that translate to the competition they’ll be against in the boot? The crusaders have Chaffee and Perryville on the road this week. 
  7. Twin Rivers-This has always been a team moving around in the middle, but never seems to break out to me. However, they’re also 2-1 on the year with a win over Bloomfield by 3, but losing to bernie by 23. Games against Dexter and Bloomfield have been currently postponed, but should be rescheduled soon. Nathan Watson has led TR in shooting, but great guard play has came from Chance Wilkerson as well. The team takes on Clearwater Friday, a team almost built exactly like this royals squad. 
  8. Dexter-I recieved a lot of flack on putting dexter in the lower seeds last year, but that unfortunately reflected the quality of play-not good. This year though, Coach Nichols and the Bearcats look to bring back a winning tradition to Dexter, and it all begins with veteran leadership under Noah Kronk and D.J. Dowdy. You never really know what to expect with this squad, especially the past few seasons. Nonetheless, they’ve only played one game. They take on Jackson and Richland this week, so maybe then we’ll see who’s starting off hot from there. 
  9. Portageville-This squad is returns 5 varsity players to its squad, including Center Caleb Gooch, and A.V. Banks. They’ve only had one game against Hayti on the year, a 63-46 loss, but its hard to judge on just one game. However their road to taking home a trophy won’t be easy, as they come in with the 10 seed, taking on Dexter first. Setting up a potential rematch with Hayti in the second round. 
  10. Bloomfield-Young and Resilient. That’s the words I would use to describe Bloomfield this season, as they have no juniors, but some senior leadership with Tim Fox and Austin Battles. However strong sophomore shooters are brewing in Noah Vandiver and Nathan Newell. Nonetheless, they win games on defense, as the cats have held opponents under 50 points on the year, much like Holcomb. But their ability to close games late is something that needs to be adjusted.  Then again, they slowed down what’s supposed to be a High-Octane Puxico squad in Quarterfinal play of the Bernie Invitational. They have a tough test against Advance Friday night, before starting tournament play against Saxony Lutheran for the 4th consecutive season in the tournament. They’ve lost to the crusaders every time. 
  11. Malden-Coach Andrew Halford is taking over a squad with a lot of energy and potential led by star Cortez Dobbins. He dropped 35 points on Advance in the opening round of the Oran Invitational. Then again, he can’t do it all on his own. The Greenwave stand at 1-1 on the year, with a win over Bell City, but a grueling loss to Advance. Once again, another team tough to gauge now, but we’ll get a better idea after games against Kennett and a consolation championship game against Kelly at Oran later this week. Chances are 2-2 isn’t a bad start for a small squad. 
  12. Doniphan-Once the sweethearts of the Bloomfield Tournament have been a victim of the graduation bug, and losing key big guys in the middle is not what you’re looking for. Then again, this team has faced against two powerhouses in their respective classes with Wionna and Liberty. They have a tough task against Portageville, before taking their talents to Bloomfield. 
  13. East Prairie-Safe to say, I have no idea what to expect from this squad. They had a big Turbo-Clock winner against Delta a few weeks ago, but let’s see what they’re really made of against Oak Ridge coming up this week. Then again, we’ve heard good things about this team. I’ll believe it when I see it on the court.
  14. Puxico-What was supposed to be a preseason favorite, has now fallen on rougher times after being upset by #7 Bloomfield in the Bernie Invitational, along with a loss to Advance this past friday. They come in with wins over Naylor, Van Buren, and former Christmas Tournament player Greenville. But when we start to see them against stiffer competition, we’ll see how much they can bring the heat in fastest 32 minutes in Basketball. They sure do love that full court press.
  15. Van Buren-I’m not going to lie, I know very little about this squad at the moment, so I may need some help from you guys on giving me an idea about them. I know they did drop a game to Puxico, but picked up a win against Seymour as well. Does the coaching staff still do the sweater-vests up there though? 
  16. Richland-Losing Forshee was killer for this team. No good guard play=No Good Season for you. Or at least a run in this tournament. 

Like  I said, this is always the hardest To Gauge in rankings before we see them play, but this is a blind taste test as well. We’ll see how these teams fare in games this week, and I’ll provide an updated rankings next Sunday or Monday as well. 


SE Missourian Tournament Power Rankings- Pre-Tip #1

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. 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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? 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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. 
  13. 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. 
  14. 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. 
  15. 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. 
  16. 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. 


Ho Ho Hoops.

The holiday season is always a time to get together with loved ones, enjoy company, and celebrate the season in whichever way we please. One of those ways is packing up the car, and heading to either Cape or Bloomfield for High School Basketball Christmas Tournaments. These tournaments bring out the biggest teams and the brightest stars in the region, and is often a financial success for the venues that host them. Nonetheless though, both tournaments are extremely different in styles of atmosphere, along with the quality of play on occasion. If you're looking to head to Bloomfield or Cape, here's the Pros and Cons of both major tournaments in the area. 

Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.

  • Larger Arena- The tournament has been hosted in the Show Me Center since 1987, and seats just over 7,000 spectators in its Basketball Configuration. This is good considering that most of the larger schools in the region such as Central, Jackson, Notre Dame, and Charleston bring large crowds. Also, schools like Charleston and Scott County Central bring attention to fans outside their respective schools due to both teams contending for state championships every season. Did I mention that rivalry is intense too? 
  • Wider Concession Choices-Want pizza? Got it. Want Pretzels? Got it. Larger Soda? Got it! The Show Me Center provides a little more concession variety than Bloomfield's tournament, and instead of settling for a $2.00 bottle of soda, make it larger and not run back and forth to get a drink. Then again, that sometimes applies to gym rats like me that stay and watch all of these teams play. 
  • Parking-Since the Show Me Center is home to the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State, and several events/expos in the region, parking is plentiful. While it can fill up on occasion, you can still find ample parking even on the most packed of nights in the tournament. 

  • Little parity between the teams-While this has improved in previous years, it's still EXTREMELY unlikely that we see a lower seed creep into the Championship Semi-Finals. Usually, its four out of the top five teams seeded. Six if you're lucky on occasion. Also, the quality of teams really seems to drop after you pass the 10 seed, as you see the best of the best in the top, but often the worst of the worst too. Sadly, some of these teams know they could be 2 and out at best. (Both tournaments are Double Elimination.) 
  • Double Entry Fees-Eight Games are played on Days 1 and 2, and split into morning and evening sessions. However, you can't stay around at the end of session 1 to wait for the next set of games to start, as you are forced to leave and pay another entry fee to get in, which usually has been $4 in recent years. If you wanted to watch all 26 in this tournament, entry fees will cost you $24, along with a little time in the cold on days one and two. Gotta pay the bills somehow, though. 
  • Sense of Emptiness-Yes, playing in a D1 Basketball arena is great. However, what if you're stuck playing in an early morning/afternoon game, and you see tons of empty seats around you. It makes a tournament that should feel special sometimes, into just another game. For most of these schools, this tournament is just as important as winning a district championship, and making a deep run into the state playoffs! 
Bloomfield Christmas Tournament


  • Lots of parity here. Usually, there's a good slate of 6 or 7 teams that can win it all. (We saw that happen with Holcomb as a #6 seed win last year.) However, teams can be often on upset alert as well, as sometimes a 9, 10, or even an 11 seed can win on the first day, and often at times be in the running for 5th, maybe even 3rd place. Looking at this years slate (Power Rankings coming Soon), it wouldn't surprise me if we see more than our fair share of upsets.
  • Bang for your buck-Yes, the entry fee is $5. But on the first two days when all eight games are back-to-back-to-back and no interruptions? That's pretty good considering what you may be getting yourself into. Don't feel like coming though? All 26 games are televised by YHC TV and streamed online at 
  • Old-School sense-Yes, the arena can seat no more than 2500 people, but the staff there tries to squeeze everyone in for what is usually, great basketball. While the bleacher seats may hurt you after awhile, you feel like you walk into a gym that has been a cornerstone for Southeast Missouri Basketball for over 50 years. It'll be a sad day if and when the gym goes down. 

  • Parking-If you want to get a good place to park, you better either commute or get there early. Parking in and around the school is often limited. It's not rare that you have to park 3 or 4 blocks away to get to the arena on a packed evening. Also, make sure you're not parking in front of a driveway because your car's license plate will be announced over the PA system with the warning "Please move your car, it WILL be towed."
  • Minimal Concessions-Not many concession options are offered here, with its most extravagant offering being Pizza from either Pizza Hut or a local pizza shop. They used to offer Hot Dogs in the tournament, but I haven't seen them being offered in the past few years. Maybe that will change this year. Plus, getting a large fountain cola? Not gonna happen here. Only option is a bottle for $2. Highly suggest eating a large meal before coming to watch games. Then again, the Pizza isn't bad. 
  • Bleachers-While there are Chair back seats available, there are very few of them. 9 times out of 10, you'll be sitting on the bleachers. If you're sitting for a long time, not good for your torso. But the main worry comes if you roll solo, like me sometimes. Expect to move around quite a bit, especially if your seat gets taken away by someone unsuspecting. Nonetheless, its not that bad of a con, unless you absolutely hate bleachers. 

If you ask me to compare the two, I gotta say Bloomfield. Yes, it's right in my backyard by all means. Yes, I'm an Old-School kinda guy, but it comes down to quality of play for me. Any given team has a chance to win and make a deep run. For most of these schools, it's just like winning a district or state title. Plus, 6 out of the 16 schools are in Class 2 District 1, arguably one of the toughest districts in the state. It's nice to see who's going to be hot in the season, or who's got work to do in the weeks following. It's also really good when it's packed elbow to elbow, which has happened on several occasions. Nothing against the bright lights of Cape, it just feels empty and predictable sometimes. 

Feel free to comment below! 


Hey everyone!

For those that know me, I have a bit of a soft spot when it comes to local high school basketball. 
Even more so as of lately, thanks to all of the talent that has been cropping up in the area as well. 
So the purpose of this blog is to give you my views on the latest in Southeast Missouri High School hoops, from Christmas Tournaments to the Final Horn at state, I'll give you my takes each and every week throughout the season. Feel free to express your opinions as well. You might agree with what I believe, you may not. But I still want to hear from you!

Feel free to get in touch with me at the following websites below.