The Mules were thundering Saturday night, and Tyler Hansbrough was the lead stallion.
Poplar Bluff won its second consecutive Class 5 boys’ basketball championship with a 72-56 romp over Vashon, the top-ranked team in the country.
The win ended Vashon’s 60-game winning streak and solidified Tyler Hansbrough as the state’s top recruit as he prepares to join the North Carolina Tar Heels next fall.
He finished with a flourish, dunking over Vashon players on fast breaks and half-court sets to end the game with 29 points and 16 rebounds.
His coach, John David Pattillo, summed up his thoughts on Tyler Hansbrough after the game.
“I have never seen a high school player like him,” Pattillo said.
Neither had Vashon this year, and coach Floyd Irons admitted that there was not much his team could do to slow the big man down.
“We spent a lot of time trying to contain him, but we couldn’t stop him,” Irons said.
Poplar Bluff finished 27-4. Vashon (29-1) was led by Johnny Hill’s 23 points and Kenneth Daniels’ 10.
– Brandt Merritt
Lee’s Summit 33
Bolstered by a 12-0 run to open the game, the Kickapoo Chiefs lived up to their hype, capturing the state Class 5 girls’ basketball title with a resounding 52-33 victory against Lee’s Summit.
The win, which put the finishing touch on a 30-1 season for the Chiefs, was secured by Kickapoo’s unrelenting pressure.
The Chiefs’ suffocating defense did more harm to Lee’s Summit’s ability to stay on its game than the pressure of playing under the arena’s lights and large crowd.
Lee’s Summit (26-4) was led by Adams’ 12 points and Ashley Patterson’s seven.
— Brandt Merritt
O’Hara 81, Willard 77, OT
O’Hara’s Marcus Walker ended his high school career on the best possible note.
Walker, a 6-foot-1 guard who has signed to play at Nebraska and came into the Class 4 boys’ title game averaging 30 points, scored a game-high 40, shooting 13-of-33 from the field.
After regulation ended in a 69-69 tie, Walker scored all 12 of O’Hara’s points in overtime. Seven came from the free-throw line.
Coach Todd Magwire said Walker’s effort solidified him as a top player in Missouri.
Walker, the team’s primary scorer, said he has fought the entire season to break the stigma of being branded a ball-hog.
“Marcus does his job, but it’s a team,” Magwire said. “I want everyone to understand that. They play so well around him.”
– Mason Mocabee
Ozark 34, Lincoln Prep 31
Ozark held off Lincoln’s second-half surge to win the Class 4 girls’ title.
After trailing 22-11 at the half, Lincoln outscored Ozark 13-4 in the third quarter.
Ozark coach Yancey Little said he told his team at the end of the quarter to be more aggressive.
“I looked in their eyes and said, ‘We can’t make the mistakes we’ve made’,” Little said. “We did some things that were uncharacteristic of ourselves. You know, turnovers. I thought we were too patient offensively.”
In the fourth quarter, Ozark outscored Lincoln Prep 8-7, and made crucial free-throws in the final minutes.
– Mason Mocabee