Basketball

Mountain Grove basketball season ends with fourth-place finish, 28-4 record

Nobody goes to Columbia to play for third place.

Mountain Grove finished the high school basketball season 28-4 with a fourth place finish in the Class 3 state playoffs. From left: Brock Coffman, coach Duane Hiler and Conner McNew during a postgame press conference Friday, March 10, 2017.

Mountain Grove finished the high school basketball season 28-4 with a fourth place finish in the Class 3 state playoffs. From left: Brock Coffman, coach Duane Hiler and Conner McNew during a postgame press conference Friday, March 10, 2017.

With less than 24 hours of preparation, Mountain Grove fell 86-76 to Hogan Prep in the Missouri Class 3 boys basketball third place playoff game Friday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Mountain Grove coach Duane Hiler felt the Panthers couldn’t seem to shake off the feeling of a 79-72 loss to Transportation and Law the night before.

“It lets a lot of air out of the balloon, you kind of set your sights on (the championship game), and the bad thing is you can go into the next game and it doesn’t take long before you’re in trouble because you’ve still got your mind on the last game,” Hiler said.

Hiler has had the task of coaching in the Class 3 third-place game for the past two seasons.

“It is tough. It’s a character thing. You’re going to deal with things in life that don’t go well, and you’ve got to be able to handle that and not be able to just feel sorry for yourself,” Hiler said.

Senior Brock Coffman was a bright spot for Mountain Grove with 31 points and 10 rebounds in his final high school basketball game. Mountain Grove finished the season 28-4.

“There’s no one I’d rather play with than this group of guys. We competed all year and every day in practice we worked hard, it’s why we’re here,” Coffman said.

Hogan Prep (24-8) got off to a fast start with a 25-13 lead in the first quarter. Damien Daniels scored 17 first-half points for the Rams and finished the game with 30 points. Hiler commended Hogan Prep for a strong start.

“I thought we dug ourselves a hole in the first half and probably weren’t as zoned in mentally or physically as we needed to be, and it kind of cost us,” Hiler said. “I thought in the second half, our effort was top of the line.”

Conner McNew got hot for Mountain Grove in the second half and finished the game with 25 points.

Hogan Prep coach Rob Heitman knew it would be difficult to run away with the game.

“We knew we were going to get everything from (Mountain Grove)—quality, quality team, lots of discipline. Fortunately, we were able to knock down a few more shots and make a few more plays than them to be able to come through with the win,” Heitman said.

Roosevelt Cooper scored 24 points for Hogan Prep and said his senior status kept him motivated to compete for third place. Cooper was 10-of-12 in field goal shooting.

“I just found my rhythm. I knew it was my last high school career game playing basketball, so I just knew I had to get into the game and knock down shots for my team,” Cooper said.

Hogan Prep had to deal with the same sort of adversity Mountain Grove faced after a 79-70 loss to Whitefield in the semifinals. Senior Jailen Jones described how he wanted to shake off the memory of a semifinal loss to Whitfield.

“It hurt. We fought hard, stuff like that, but coming here (Friday) as a senior winning here, getting my first third place final four—it felt great,” Jones said.

Mountain Grove’s season featured tournament wins in the Seymour Bank Winter Classic and the Family Pharmacy Panther Classic, plus a postseason Class 3 District 10 championship.

High school boys basketball Class 3 third place game

Hogan Prep 86, Mountain Grove 76

At Mizzou Arena, Columbia

Mountain Grove 13-19-19-25—76

Hogan Prep 25-19-22-20—86

Individual scoring

Mountain Grove—Brock Coffman 31, Conner McNew 25, Trey Collins 8, Cade Coffman 7, Carter Otwell 3, Gavin Veach 2

Hogan Prep—Damien Daniels 30, Roosevelt Cooper 24, Rodvon Jennings 9, Jailen Jones 7, Soloman Thomas 4, Kevaun Maull-Edwards 2.