COLUMBIA — Five Columbia high school seniors are preparing for this weekend’s Missouri Challenge. Ricky Kreklow, Charlie Henderson, Logan Parks and Amaya Williams, all from Rock Bridge, and Lyle Harris from Hickman were among those chosen for the Northeast regional team in the tournament.
The Missouri Challenge is an all-star basketball tournament that features eight regional teams comprised of the top senior boys and girls players from around the state. This is the second year the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association has held the Missouri Challenge, which originated to replace the organization's all-star game.
Hickman boys basketball coach John Burns said the whole idea behind the substitute was to bring out a more competitive edge in the players, rather than the showiness previously executed in the all-star game.
“The tournament is serving its purpose. There’s more of a pride factor involved, as you’re trying to win for your particular region,” he said.
The MBCA determines which players are chosen, based on exposure throughout the season.
The Missouri Challenge kicks off with the quarterfinal round Friday at Columbia College. The Northeast girls team, which is seeded fifth, will playat 9:30 a.m., while the second-seeded Northeast boys team will play at 5 p.m.
Competitive. That's the word Hickman coach John Burns uses to describe guard Lyle Harris.
Burns says Harris can bring this edge to the tournament to make him a valuable asset to the Northeast team.
“Lyle is a very competitive player,” Burns said. “He plays very good defense and knows how to score.”
Harris led the Kewpies this past season in points, assists, steals and 3-point shots. He was also named All-District and second-team All-State.
Burns said it was quite an honor for Harris to be chosen for the tournament, considering Harris didn’t play last season and therefore lost exposure.
“These honors are all about player exposure. That just tells you how good he is,” Burns said.
Burns said he is confident about Harris’ uniqueness as a player, which will help propel the Northeast team to a victory.
“Lyle plays to win. He knows how to win and what it takes to win. That’s his main goal,” Burns said.
Rock Bridge representatives
Rock Bridge basketball coach Jim Scanlon says guard Ricky Kreklow, forward Charlie Henderson and center Logan Parks are “totally concentrated.” Most have played basketball all of their lives, and their dedication is evident.
“They’re all hard workers,” Scanlon said. “Their efforts are paying off with the benefits in the all-star tournament.”
These benefits not only include the Missouri Challenge, but also other honors as well. Kreklow and Henderson were named All-District, and Kreklow was also designated All-State.
Scanlon says his players’ strength is their love of the game and their ability to mesh as a team.
Amaya Williams was the only girls player from Columbia chosen for the tournament.
“Amaya was a catalyst for our girls team this past season,” Scanlon said of the senior guard. “She’s been such an integral part of the team for the past three years.”
Williams was also honored in being named All-State.
“They all deserve it,” Scanlon said. “They’re some of the better players in the area. I hope to see them bring a winning attitude and good work ethic to this tournament.”