Glendale High School boys basketball coach Sean Williamson was not allowed to coach what became his team’s season-finale Monday night, raising questions about both the reason why and his future at the school.
Both the Glendale boys and girls lost in the Class 5 District 11 openers, but the larger story centered on Williamson’s absence as the Ozark Tigers handled the Falcons 88-67 at Branson High School.
Neither Glendale Principal Matt Pearce nor Mark Fisher, the athletic director of Springfield Public Schools, would comment on Williamson’s status. When reached by phone Monday night, Williamson had no comment but said he hopes to return to Glendale next season. The Falcons finished 10-15, and assistant Aaron Griffin was in charge on Monday.
Williamson was at the Springfield Tip-Off Club banquet Monday afternoon. He gave a short speech at the luncheon, briefly inviting his three seniors to stand and be recognized. He gave no indication that he would not be coaching Monday night.
Meanwhile, the second half of the game was all Ozark. Point guard Jakob Neidig had 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Tigers (16-11), who play rival Nixa on Thursday. The teams have split their two meetings this season.
“It’s just how the cards fell, I guess,” Neidig said. “We’ll play whoever steps on the court. It just so happens that it’s our biggest rivals in a big-time game. We couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
Meanwhile, in the girls game, Kickapoo scored a 59-27 win against Glendale and advaned to play top-seed Ozark in a 6 p.m. semifinal today in Branson.
Kickapoo (18-9) pressured Glendale early, spotting the Lady Falcons baskets to open each of the first and second quarters and then proceeded to score 17 consecutive in the first quarter and then eight straight points in the second.
“I feel like we’re playing well together right now, and we’re finally getting into our groove like we were early in the season,” said sophomore Jordyn Danzer, who had nine points. “It just took awhile for us to get used to playing together.”
The losses for both Glendales teams comes a year after both won Ozark Conference titles. The boys lost nearly all of their varsity experience, and the girls did not have any varsity returners.
Glendale coach Renee Temple said she was proud of and inspired by her team, which finished 2-21.
“It’s a tribute to my one senior (Stephanie McGinnis) and two juniors (Keri Cook, Jennifer Pittman), and they come in and work hard consistently every day,” Temple said. “They’re just young, and they’re lacking that experience. But their effort, and their teamwork and chemistry have been amazing to me. They keep fighting hard every day, and I’m so proud of them for that.”