Springfield hosts three days of basketball that will introduce fans to four local teams, draw in some NCAA Division I recruits and honor the legacies of some of Missouri’s best coaches.
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Classic spans Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Parkview High School. Four local teams take on four out-of-area teams in Thursday’s opening round. Hoops fans looking for an early season fix can watch 12 games in three days.
Parkview coach Landon Cornish worked to assemble the field.
“We expect all four of those games to be competitive every night, I think it’s a really good field, there will be a lot of good basketball, and hopefully it’s a really good event overall,” Cornish said.
The tournament in the brainchild of former Vikings coach Bill Brown, who wanted to find a way to assemble a collection of coaches who have been inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and recognize them. All eight teams in the tournament have a current or former coach who has been inducted. The coaches will be honored Saturday night before the championship game.
Lafeytte (Wildwood) enters the season ranked No. 7 in the Class 5 state coaches’ poll. The Lancers play Central at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Central (0-1) brings back a pair of sharpshooters in Braden Dankert and Bryson Dankert. The brothers combined for 33 points in a 74-69 season-opening loss to Willard. Bulldogs coach Armando Johnson is encouraging his team to shoot more 3-pointers.
“I have some kids who can really shoot, and I tell them three is worth more than two, and these kids are really buying into a lot of the things that we’re doing,” Johnson said. “We went from zero seniors to now I have five, so I’m telling you it’s a big difference in practice, it’s a big difference in game preparation.”
Raytown went 20-6 last season and fell to state semifinalist Lee’s Summit in the district playoffs.
In what will be coach Joel Brown’s second season at Hillcrest, the Hornets return five starters: Shahn Clark, Tim Washington, Cole Pryor, Hezekiah Duke and Sam Terry.
Hillcrest’s first game of the season will be against Raytown at 5:30 Thursday. Brown said his team, which went 9-18 a season ago, is suited to run.
“We’ve got to try to make it more of a track meet than a halfcourt game, and if we can do that we can do than we can cause enough chaos to hopefully win some more games this year,” Brown said.
Parkview (1-0) meets DeSmet in the opening round at 7 p.m. Cornish likes his team’s depth with floor leader J.T. Brown, the emerging Njenga Chatman and capable shooter Brady Hill.
“Our depth is a lot better this year, so that’s going to be a strength for us,” Cornish said.
DeSmet’s visit to Springfield includes a homecoming for the Spartans’ new coach, former Missouri State Bears standout Blake Ahearn. The two-time all-Missouri Conference guard holds the national career record for the all-time best free throw shooting percentage with 94.6.
Missouri State fans can also get a peak at a future Missouri Valley Conference opponent in the form of 6-foot-7 Bradley-commit Ryan Stipanovich. Missouri State recruited the nephew of former University of Missouri basketball standout Steve Stipanovich, but he chose Bradley over several Missouri Valley schools.
In the 8:30 p.m. nightcap, Hall of Fame coach Jay Osborne leads Nixa into a game against Lafayette (St. Joseph). Nixa was 23-6 a season ago and returns some key contributors from that campaign including Christian Bundy, point guard Seth Viebrock, three-point shooter Evan Bergmann and power forward Austin Bracker.
Lafayette (St. Joseph) comes off a 28-4 campaign where the Irish finished in second place in the Class 4 state championship tournament to Vashon. Lafayette is ranked third in the Class 4 state poll.
3rd Annual MBCA Hall of Fame Classic schedule
All games at Parkview High School.
4 p.m. Central vs. Lafayette (Wildwood)
5:30 p.m. Hillcrest vs. Raytown
7 p.m. Parkview vs. DeSmet
8:30 p.m. Nixa vs. Lafayette (St. Joseph)
4 p.m. consolation semifinal (Parkivew/DeSmet) vs. (Lafayette/Central)
5:30 p.m. consolation semifinal (Raytown/Hillcrest) vs. (St. Joseph Lafayette/Nixa)
7 p.m. championship semifinal (Parkivew/DeSmet) vs. (Lafayette/Central)
8:30 p.m. championship semifinal (Raytown/Hillcrest) vs. (St. Joseph Lafayette/Nixa)
12:30 p.m. seventh place
2 p.m. fifth place
3:30 p.m. third place
5 p.m. championship final