After a ho-hum first seven games to open day one of the 56th annual event, fans were energized in the finale as host Bloomfield used a last-second basket by Brett Ruch to pull out a 58-56 overtime win against Malden to send fans home eagerly awaiting today's games.
It was the only upset, and a very mild one at that (No. 9 over No. 8), of first-round play.
In what turned out to be the second-best game of the day, No. 5 Twin Rivers turned back No. 12 Dexter, 62-56. The No. 7 Portageville vs. No. 10 Doniphan game looked interesting on paper, but the Bulldogs took control early and the game wasn't as close as the final 65-55 score would lead one to believe.
Other first round results included: No. 1 Kennett defeating No. 16 Richland, 87-39; No. 2 Bernie over No. 15 East Prairie, 71-34; No. 3 Hayti downing No. 14 Saxony Lutheran 82-44; No. 4 South Pemiscot slipping past No. 13 Puxico, 74-60; and No. 6 Holcomb claiming a 65-42 decision over No. 11 Van Buren.
Bloomfield 58, Malden 56. OT
Bloomfield's Ruch drove the length of the court with the score tied at 56-all and time running out, slipping past several Malden defenders for a uncontested scoop layup with three second remaining to lift the Wildcats over the Green Wave.
It was the only upset of the first round at the Bloomfield?Christmas?Tournament Thursday.
"That's kind of what we wanted to do," Bloomfield coach Jason Karnes said of the game-winning shot. "We wanted to kind of get it there. We had a couple of shooters out there that were in the right spots. We were just lucky enough he caught it, went and made a play and it worked out for us. If that situation arises again we will do it again."
Malden did not score the final two minutes, 39 seconds of overtime. Bloomfield scored all of its overtime points in the final 46 seconds.
"Every defense we played tonight worked to some extent and we played it until it didn't work," Karnes said. "I thought defensively for the most part we did a fairly good job keeping them in front of us and contesting jump shots.
"Our guys kept battling all night," Karnes continued. "Those first three minutes of overtime were ugly for us, but then we look up and we were only down four."
Caleb Baker led Bloomfield in scoring with 17 points. He hit three of Bloomfield's five treys.
Austin Williams added 10 more for Bloomfield.
Romello McCoy led Malden with 18 points. Malik Perkins scored 13 points for Malden and Dajuan Criglar added 12 more.
Malden's largest lead was six in the first quarter and Bloomfield's largest lead was seven in the third period.
Bloomfield (6-3) will take on Kennett Friday at 4 p.m. in a championship quarterfinal.
"I told the kids we want to play against really good teams and we are going to play against one [Friday]," Karnes said. "It's good to get on the right side of the bracket, compete and see where we stand. For us to come out and get to play against a really good team like Kennett is something real special for us and we are going to try as hard as we can to compete against them."
No. 5 Twin Rivers 62, No. 12 Dexter 56
The fifth-seeded Twin Rivers Royals edged the No. 12 seeded Dexter Bearcats 62-56 in a first round contest at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament Thursday afternoon.
Dexter had four players score in double figures, but it wasn't enough to overcome the higher-seeded Royals.
DJ Dowdy paced the Bearcats with 17 points, followed by Chase Young and Brad Potts, both with 14, while Nick Noble added 11.
Dexter's goal now will be to try and play all four days of the tournament from the consolation side of the bracket.
Dexter was scheduled to open Day 2 play against Puxico starting at 10 a.m.
The Bearcats slipped to 1-6 on the year.
No. 1 Kennett 87, No. 16 Richland 39
The top-seeded Kennett Indians displayed nearly all of its offensive weapons against the No. 16 seeded Richland Rebels in the opening-game of the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament Thursday morning.
Nine of the 11 Indians' players listed in the Kennett score book scored. Six Kennett players calculated at least 10 points.
The offensive outburst helped Kennett outscore Richland by double digits in three of four quarters.
The Indians advanced to the quarterfinals for a fourth straight season with an 87-39 win against the Rebels.
"It's good we were able to spread it out a little bit," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said. "We scored quite a bit off transition and defense. To win this type of tournament you have to have different guys step up. Congratulations to our team for having so many guys score today. That's a good sign for us."
Neither team recorded a 3-pointer in the game. Kennett calculated 36 2-pointers and went 15 of 24 from the free-throw-line. Richland recorded 16 2's and shot 7 of 11 at the free-throw-line.
"It's always kind of tough to get things generated a morning after Christmas," Vaughan said. "We displayed that by not being able to shoot the ball very well today. No excuses. You've got to come ready to play and create your own atmosphere. I thought our intensity picked up on the defensive end as the game went on and that helped spurt us in a lot of occasions."
Kennett led the game 23-14 with 6:30 remaining in the first half before a 22-0 run pushed the lead to 45-14 with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter.
"We gave up two baskets right away to start the second quarter," Vaughan said. "We provided a lot more defensive energy after that and held their offense down the rest of the half."
Kennett faced the daunting task of attacking a Richland zone defense centered around Rebels' senior center Richard Forshee, who is just under seven-foot tall.
"You don't ever want to get non-aggressive offensively," Vaughan said. "We still wanted to go to the lane and the basket. I didn't think we were bad attacking the basket. I thought we took bad shots sometimes because we threw it into his arms a lot. He used his length well. That is a situation where you have to be able to make perimeter shots."
Nick Daniels led Richland with 16 points. Forshee scored 11 points.
Kevonte Mitchell tallied a team-high 23 points for Kennett. Harold Weeden added 13 more. Antavies Drake, Cameron Harper, Akeem Nelson and Antonio Primer tallied 10 points each for the Indians.
Kennett (6-3) will play its quarterfinal contest Friday at 4 p.m. against No. 9 seeded Bloomfield.
"There are a number of first-round games that are not certain for anybody," Vaughan said. "But every single second-round game will be competitive. We will put this one away and be proud of what we did today, but we've got to get back in the gym Friday and get ready for Friday afternoon."
No. 2 Bernie 71, No. 15 East Prairie 34
The second-seeded Bernie Mules improved to 9-0 Thursday afternoon with a 71-34 win against No. 15 seeded East Prairie in a first round game of the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Bernie's David Baker erupted for a game-high 24 points to pace the Mules, who will now take on host and SCAA foe Bloomfield at 4 o'clock today.
No. 3 Hayti 82, No. 14 Saxony Lutheran 44
It took less than four minutes for the third-seeded Hayti Indians to build a double-digit lead against the No. 14 seeded Saxony Lutheran Crusaders Thursday in a first round contest at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Hayti jumped out to a 16-5 lead with 4:33 left in the first quarter. The lead continued to swell the remainder of the first half as the Indians calculated 29 points in the first quarter and 25 points in the second quarter to build a 54-22 lead at halftime.
Hayti tallied the first seven points of the second half to push the margin to 61-22 and led by at least 32 points the remainder of the game on its way to an 82-44 victory.
"It's the first time this year we've came out and played hard at the beginning of a game," Hayti coach Philip Taylor said. "I was very impressed with that. We've been stressing for the last five games to quit waiting until the second half. I couldn't be more pleased with our start.
"The second half became a teaching time for us," Taylor added. "We had the lead so we started working on things we needed to fix. We had are ups and downs, but overall I was very pleased. The thing is to continue to get better. Even in a situation with a big lead we've got to work on getting better."
Six Hayti players scored at least eight points.
Hayti's Maurion Newbill scored all 19 of his points in the first half. Newbill drained all four of his 3-pointers in the first quarter.
"These kids can play this game well," Taylor said. "We have our ups and downs like every other team, but tonight we were clicking on all cylinders."
Gabe Bohnert led Saxony Lutheran with 12 points.
Hayti (6-2) will take on No. 6 seeded Holcomb in a quarterfinal contest Friday at 7 p.m.
"At this point we want to play quality teams and get better," Taylor said. "The goal every year is to play four games at Bloomfield. If we play four we will be OK. We will go from there and see what happens."
No. 4 South Pemiscot 74, No. 13 Puxico 60
The fourth-seeded South Pemiscot Bulldogs outlasted the No. 13 seeded Puxico Indians 74-60 in a see-saw first round contest at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament Thursday afternoon.
South Pemiscot trailed the game 32-25 at halftime before it outscored Puxico 28-6 in the third quarter to take a 53-38 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
"We really focused on rebounding at the start of the second half," South Pemiscot coach Aaron Bidewell said. "We were killed on the glass to the point it was almost embarrassing. Our efforts were uncharacteristic of this group. Usually they are a very tough bunch. I don't know if it is a new gym or coming off of the Christmas break, but it was definitely not our best first-half showing of the year."
The Bulldogs' Jacob Trammel hit three of his five 3-pointers in the third period. He finished the game with 17 points. South Pemiscot's Anton Wilbourn scored eight of his 10 points after halftime and Seth Harris calculated 21 of his team-high 28 points in the second half.
Zach Tucker led Puxico with 17 points. He scored nine points in the fourth quarter. Tim Hancock calculated 11 points for the Indians.
Puxico trimmed the Bulldogs' lead to 60-58 with 3:29 left in regulation. The Indians scored only two points after cutting the deficit to two.
"They are not a bad basketball team at all," Bidewell said, when asked about Puxico's fourth-quarter surge. "They only lost to Twin Rivers by [single digits]. Twin Rivers is one of the top teams in this tournament I feel like.
"But as far as the run goes I don't know what we have going on as far as team chemistry, but we've got to improve if we want to make offensive runs and sustain runs."
South Pemiscot (9-3) will play in the quarterfinals Friday at 5:30 p.m. against fourth-seeded Twin Rivers.
No. 6 Holcomb 65, No. 11 Van Buren 42
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. - The Holcomb Hornets fed the ball to six-foot-seven center Jamie Massey early and often in Thursday's first round contest against the Van Buren Bulldogs at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Massey calculated 30 of the Hornets' 62 points to help sixth-seeded Holcomb cruise to a 65-42 win against No. 11 seeded Van Buren.
"Their size wasn't equivalent to ours," Holcomb coach Seth McBroom said. "Massey is an excellent post player and did a great job of post discipline. He's a load in there and hard to move around. He kind of had his way at times. He's a heck of a player. There is no doubt about that."
Holcomb scored the majority of its points in transition when it wasn't finding Massey. Cameron Clark led all Holcomb guards with 15 points.
"We had some guys step up in our transition game," McBroom said. "Cameron Clark got our transition game going a little bit. Tyler Lewis came in and helped handle the ball and helped our defense. You can also never take for granted what Michael Glover and James Vance do for our defense and also in the rebounding department."
Holcomb limited Van Buren to six points in the first nine minutes of the game. The Hornets led 24-6 with seven minutes left in the first half.
"We just tried to play well defensively and keep them in front of us," McBroom said. "That's kind of our whole philosophy. We wanted to make it tough for them to score. They got down deep on us a couple of times and got a couple of rebounds. They beat us on the boards at times, but overall we kept them in front of us. I think that was the key.
"We clicked a little bit better tonight than we had earlier in the year," McBroom added.
Van Buren cut the deficit to 26-14 with 3:51 left in the first half, but never got closer.
"They threw that press on us and it took us a couple of possessions to adjust," McBroom said of the second quarter. "We probably should have been more aggressive attacking it, but it was a good adjustment by their coach to try something different. We finally got our guys set up and attacked it better in the second quarter and in the second half."
Holcomb's largest lead in the second half was 57-28 in the third quarter.
Austin Chilton led Van Buren in scoring with 13 points.
Holcomb will play third-seeded Hayti in the quarterfinals Friday at 7 p.m. Hayti defeated Holcomb by single digits in December.
"They are a heck of a team and probably playing about as well, if not better, than any team coming into the tournament," McBroom said of the matchup against Class 2 district rival Hayti.
No. 7 Portageville 65, No. 10 Doniphan 55
The No. 7 seeded Portageville Bulldogs defeated the No. 10 seeded Doniphan Dons 65-55 in a first round contest
at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament Thursday.