High school basketball fans direct their attention to Columbia Thursday, but there is still plenty of playoff action to see this week in the Springfield area.
We look back on the week in the high school hoops playoffs and celebrate clutch plays with the American Family ALL-USA Ozarks Performers of the Week, which recognizes some of the top efforts in high school athletics in and around the Springfield area.
Here are this week’s selections:
Navy basketball signee Cameron Davis turned the free-throw line at Hammons Student Center into a strategic port of call in a 52-41 win over Ozark in the Class 5 District 11 championship game. Davis went 10-for-11 from the stripe and led Kickapoo with 22 points. He scored 17 of his points in the second half. The Chiefs are scheduled to take on Nixa in the Class 5 sectionals Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
All-state guard Amanda Kearney scored 32 points in unranked Branson’s 58-54 defeat of No. 5 Kickapoo (23-5) in the Class 5 district 11 championship game. It’s hard to call a 24-4 team an underdog, but the Branson players embraced the roll in their mild upset win at Hammons Student Center. The shooting light appears always green for Kearney, a Harding University signee who showed off 3-pointers, driving ability and a mid-range shot in the district championship. Branson meets Republic (17-11) at the O’Reilly Family Event Center at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Strafford improved to 31-0 on the season with a 61-34 win over Southern Boone in the Class 3 quarterfinals. Mullings scored 16 points for the reigning Class 3 champions, who make their second-ever trip to the state semifinals Thursday at Hearnes Center in Columbia. On a night when Strafford went 25-of-26 from the free-throw line, Mullings was a perfect 8-for-8.
Walker closed out his high school basketball career with two peak performances for Greenwood (25-4). He poured in 45 points against Iberia Wednesday in the Class 2 basketball sectionals at Lebanon. Greenwood watched a big lead over the Rangers evaporate, but still held on to win 73-70. He followed with 29 points in a 48-47 loss to Crane in Saturday’s playoff quarterfinals at Drury University. Walker will leave Greenwood as the Blue Jays’ all-time leading scorer, with more than 2,200 points in his career.
Defense proved key for Skyline to advance to a fifth consecutive state semifinal. DaMitz led the Tigers to stifle Pierce City 20-4 in the first eight minutes of Saturday’s quarterfinal game and went on to log 20 points in a 67-24 win. Skyline (29-2) will play Scotland County (27-1) in the Class 2 semifinals Thursday at 8:20 p.m. at the Hearnes Center. Skyline last won a state championship in 2008.
Varsity sports coaches, would you like to nominate one of your athletes to be an American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performer of the Week? Email your nomination to News-Leader high school sports reporter Rance Burger (email@example.com) by 5 p.m. each Monday.