Branson’s new signature high school basketball event now has its signature game, as the Billings and Scott County Central basketball teams put the “shootout” in the inaugural Ozark Mountain Shootout on Saturday.
The defending Class 1 and 2 state champions put the Branson High School scoreboard to the test in a 111-96 overtime battle as the Braves handed Billings its first loss of the season.
“They run out more than most people we play do, and we weren’t used to that, and didn’t get back like we needed to,” Billings coach Kendall Tilley said. “It’s a different team (than last season’s Class 2 state champions), and we’ve got to figure out a way to play some defense.”
The numbers were astounding, in the opener of a seven-game day, which pitted a few of southwest Missouri’s top teams against out-of-area teams in a two-day, 10-game series. The event was organized by first-year Branson coach Brian McTague.
Billings (6-1) was without senior standout Brady Chastain, who missed the game with an illness.
A team with a short bench to begin with, the Wildcats couldn’t keep up with the four-time defending Class 1 state champions, winners of 16 state titles.
Billings’ fatigue showed late, as Larandis Banks scored a putback at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
He was just getting started.
The junior scored 16 of his game-high 38 points in the four-minute overtime as the Braves (4-3) scored 25 points in the extra session.
“You can tell some of our bodies were just wearing out,” Billings junior Dawson Meyer said. “We’d miss a layup, and they’re a hustle team and they can push the ball on you. That’s why they ended up with a lot of three-on-two (fast breaks) the other way.”
Meyer scored 37 points, Austin Essick had 30 points and Chad Yeokum added 23 for Billings, which plays Tuesday in Point Lookout at the College of the Ozarks campus against the School of the Ozarks.
Billings shot 34 of 93 (37 percent) in the game, while Scott County Central was 41 of 72 (57 percent), including 6 of 6 in overtime.
The event proved to be a successful one for the reputation for the region, as southwest Missouri teams went 5-3 on the weekend, entering night contests for Fair Grove and Hillcrest.
Branson, Nixa and Clever swept games on Friday night, while Clever and Mount Vernon earned wins on Saturday.