Glendale’s boys basketball team considered itself undersold with a No. 2 seed in the Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.
The Falcons (5-4) will take on their naysayers and No. 1-seeded Republic (7-1) in the championship of the Blue Division of the 71st Blue and Gold Tournament on Thursday night at JQH Arena at 7 p.m. Glendale advanced on the wings of an 83-70 win over Hartville (9-1), defending state champions and the No. 1 ranked Class 2 team in Missouri.
Glendale’s win snapped a 19-game Hartville winning streak dating to the 2015-2016 regular season.
Glendale junior guard Jordan Walton scored 30 points in the semifinal win.
“We’re extremely happy that we’re playing in a championship. Honestly, we felt like we were extremely underrated coming into this tournament. It’s nice to prove to other people but mainly to ourselves, ‘Hey, we’re here. We’re good too,’” Walton said.
Glendale suffered two of its losses in a national tournament, the Under Armour Challenge, part of the Kreul Classic in Coral Springs, Florida. The losses hurt Glendale’s record, but junior Monty Johal believes they were valuable to the season as a whole.
“They were all great teams, tough teams to play against. One team won seven state championships over the past eight years, and I feel like that made us play at a higher level, so when we come back here we have to maintain that same level,” Johal said.
Glendale’s other two losses came at the hands of Gold Division No. 1-seeded Nixa and Norman North of Norman, Oklahoma, a team led by nationally touted recruit Trae Young.
“We should be a No. 1 seed. That’s what we thought,” Walton said.
Johal led Glendale with 36 points against Hartville. He has scored 91 points in three Blue and Gold games.
“They are a great team, they are tough to play against—all around tough,” Johal said of Hartville. “They have tough guards that will get in your face and guard you the whole game. It was a good challenge to play up against them and see where we are compared to them.”
The running, gunning Falcons will meet a more defensive-minded opponent in Republic, which beat Parkview 47-36 to reach the Blue championship game. Johal believes Glendale matches up well with Republic.
“It’s all energy for us. If we have the right intensity then we should be fine,” Johal said.
Republic uses defense, free throws to pass Parkview
Parkview jumped out to a 13-7 lead on Republic after the first eight minutes, much to the dismay of Tigers coach Trevyor Fisher.
“We just weren’t very observant and energetic on the defensive end, allowing penetration to get to the basket. Once we got that under control, our defense picked up a little bit,” Fisher said.
As understated by Fisher, Republic held the Vikings without a field goal for the entire second quarter as part of an 11-1 run.
Republic also won the game at the free throw line, making 22-of-25 free throws.
“We work on it every day, which I think most teams do, but we’ve got guys that can step up there and make it when it counts, and that’s what happens when you’ve got seniors,” Fisher said.
Sophomore Broc Smith came off the bench and led Republic with 14 points on what was a balanced offensive night for the Tigers.
“The energy and production (Smith) is giving us off the bench has been great. It kind of gives us that third option offensively, and he’s another bigger body that can step in there and rebound as well,” Fisher said.
Republic has six seniors in what is typically an eight-man rotation.
“These seniors haven’t had a chance to do that, so I think that was one of their goals going into it,” Fisher said. “We put ourselves in position to try to get it.”
71st Annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament
Blue Division semifinals
At JQH Arena
Republic 47, Parkview 36
Parkview—J.T. Brown 17, Lencorya Grady 9, Damarcus Mason 5, Brady Hill 2, Gage Clark 2
Republic—Broc Smith 14, Cameron Doke 9, Treydon Rackley 7, Ty Stevens 7, Devon Ward 6, Mitchell Coiner 4.
Glendale 83, Hartville 70
Hartville—Dune Piper 25, Jace Keith 14, Deric Jones 11, Wyatt Ward 8, Holton Simmons 5, Cody Kelley 4, Braden Keith 3
Glendale—Monty Johal 36, Jordan Walton 30, Jaxon Davis 10, Garrett Freeman 3, Luke Call 2, Winston Quinn 2.