Blase pilots state’s smooth-sailing championships

As fans hopped over rails and raced for the best seats in Mizzou Arena, George Blase sat calmly at a table on the court, waiting.

There was still about an hour until the first game of the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s state basketball championships started Friday morning, and Blase had been through this process many times in the past.

Matching Interests

Danny Todd stands on one side of the table-tennis table. His 18-year-old son, Will, is on the other. Both are undefeated on the night.

“I’ve got to admit I’m tired,” Danny Todd says as he volleys with his son to warm up.

What might have been

If you closed your eyes this weekend and listened to the crowd noise at Mizzou Arena, you could almost picture him in black and gold.

McDonald’s All-American and North Carolina recruit Tyler Hansbrough spent the weekend in Columbia trying to lead Poplar Bluff to its second consecutive state championship.

Hansbrough, Poplar Bluff steamroll nation’s top team

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.

Ball bounces Tigers’ way

KANSAS CITY — From Jason Conley’s viewpoint, there was no question it was going in. Almost everyone else in Kemper Arena agreed.

“As soon as I looked up it was straight on line and I went, ‘Oh, my God,’” Conley, Missouri’s senior guard, said.

Kleiza too much for ‘Huskers again

KANSAS CITY — Nebraska hasn’t found a way to stop Linas Kleiza.

Kleiza tied his second-best effort of the season to help the Tigers earn a 70-67 victory at Kemper Arena in Kansas City on Thursday. He scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds to propel Missouri into the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

New home greets state tournament

The best high school basketball teams in Missouri are in Columbia again.

Arndt comes through when needed

It’s no secret that Missouri’s offense has been dominant this year.

The Tigers (10-4) have scored more than 10 runs in eight of their 14 games. James Boone, a junior, and freshman Jacob Priday have combined for seven home runs and 42 RBIs in the middle of the lineup. MU has hit 14 home runs as a team, double the total of its opponents.

Focus on big prep contest

KANSAS CITY — Sophomore Spencer Laurie and junior Jimmy McKinney will be on the same side when the Tigers take on Oklahoma in the second round of the Big 12 Conference tournament today, but the Missouri guards have divided allegiances.

McKinney’s former team, Vashon, will play Laurie’s former team, Kickapoo, at 6:05 tonight in the Missouri State High School championship semifinals at Mizzou Arena.

Never Satisfied, Always Working

When Lauren Grice began her Missouri soccer career in 2003, Tigers coach Bryan Blitz had a vague idea how Grice might help his team.

“We knew that Lauren would play here one day,” Blitz said. “We didn’t know when. We thought it might be her junior year she started to get a lot of time.”

Cougars double their fun

Monica Mueller found herself in an unfamiliar position Thursday at Cougar Softball Field.

Mueller, a senior All-American pitcher for Columbia College, had a three-run lead in the top of the seventh, but the tying run was stepping to the plate.

MU divers look to build off success

Coming off their best performance of the season, the Missouri men’s and women’s diving teams will head to the Zone D Diving Championships this weekend in College Station, Texas.

The event starts today and finishes Sunday. The top divers will qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Stars show improvement but lose debut

Stephens College and Missouri Valley College have come to know each other well on the tennis court.

The Stars opened their season Thursday the same way they did last year: a date with the Vikings.

Upset eludes Tigers in Big 12 Tournament

KANSAS CITY - A Missouri upset of Oklahoma seemed imminent but with one play that all changed.

A ball dribbled out of bounds by Tiger guard Thomas Gardner shifted the momentum of the game in the No. 1 seeded Sooners' (24-6) favor. Oklahoma held on to win the quarterfinal match up 83-79.

Cougars get NAIA tournament bid

The Columbia College men’s basketball team may have snuck in the NAIA tournament’s backdoor, but that hasn’t diminished the Cougars’ excitement about playing for a national championship.

“That’s the reason why we play, just to make it to the national tournament,” junior forward Nahowan Saxon said. “It’s a good opportunity for us and hopefully we can take advantage.”

Postseasons start and stop: Men's basketball

KANSAS CITY — The silence that filled Kemper Arena during Nebraska’s hour-long practice didn’t last when the Missouri men’s basketball team took to the floor at noon.

The Tigers, who were greeted by the applause and cheers of about 100 fans, ran an interactive and energetic hour-long practice Wednesday, during which there was constant talking between the players and coaches.

Tigers hoping to leap from Arkansas into nation’s elite

The Missouri gymnastics team has a lot to accomplish this weekend.

The Tigers will compete at No. 15 Arkansas on Sunday. After recording its top three scores at Hearnes Center the team is heading south in with hopes of solidifying its place in the regional tournament. The Tigers need to beat their previous away-meet scores in order to regain their position in the top 20.

Pitch for redemption made

For Missouri pitcher Doug Mathis, Wednesday night’s game against Illinois State meant more than an early-season nonconference game usually does.

It was a chance to redeem himself for what he considered a poor performance in his last start. Mathis did just that, working out of early jams and shutting out the Redbirds through five innings to lead the Tigers to a 15-2 win at Taylor Stadium. Missouri improved to 10-4.

Horton to play against Huskers

Coach Quin Snyder confirmed after Wednesday’s practice that Jason Horton, Missouri’s freshman point guard, will play Thursday against Nebraska after serving a one-game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

“Jason is with our team, ready to play (today),” Snyder said. “We’ve got standards for our players both in practice and in games. He’s not the first guy that has had to learn from some of those things. I think he is excited to be back with the team and it will make him better.”

Season’s close brings optimism for future

KANSAS CITY — Freshman Angela Tisdale, Baylor’s backup point guard, dribbled the ball slowly across half court. There were 12 seconds left, and Missouri was losing by 18.

The end of the game would mean the end of the season for the Tigers, whose 11-18 record merits neither an NCAA nor NIT berth.