I've always been slightly disappointed in myself when it comes to blogging on here. For my first couple years living here in Poplar Bluff and just learning the job and the schools in SEMO, I didn't feel right coming on here and offering any sort of insight because, well I just kind of shied away from it.
Not saying I'm an expert or anything now, but I wanted to give a shot at offering a weekly re/pre-view of the week in sports and I figured there was no better time than basketball season to start.
I cover the 17 schools (can you name 'em?) in the Daily American Republic area so that's where my main focus will be.
More often than not, I rarely actually cover Poplar Bluff itself (I've covered 10-15 girls games in the past two years, but have only watched the boys and I never have reported on them) but Brian Rosener's blog will keep you posted on them.
I encourage you posters to add to my blog by commenting on what you saw last week and what you're looking forward to this week (Feel free to talk about any school, it doesn't have to be about DAR covered teams).
Anyhow, here we go with last week:
-- I spent most of last week at the Holcomb Invitational. I took in nine games in four nights and I must say I wasn't extremely surprised with the outcome. I wasn't sure how Bernie would be after losing most of their Class 2 runner-up team but one thing is for certain is they are still very talented. The best individual performance I witnessed was Jordan McGowan's 9 3-pointer effort in the first round after a slow start in that first quarter that night. In the semifinal game, post player Sammy Walker really got hot against Holcomb down the stretch and then in the final against Twin Rivers, Cameron Shipman really got the Bernie offense going including a couple nifty moves to the hoop in the first half. The Mules are going to be able to compete every night working hard on defense.
-- Twin Rivers also caught my eye at Holcomb. The Royals under new coach Dustin Benson are very deep and have talent at all positions on the floor. I'm sure losing the final was disappointing but this team will be hard to deal with in any tournament this year. Look out for up-and-coming underclassmen Michael Snider and freshman Eric Ray. Neither made the all-tournament team but were impressive.
-- I didn't witness it, but Dexter appears to be a very good squad this year just in that are just in the midst of a tough part of the schedule. With an OT loss to Charleston and a hard fought loss to Sikeston last week, I expect the Bearcats to be real tough come Bloomfield Tourney time. Dexter first has a tough week ahead at the SEMO Tourney.
-- This was my first time in my three years that I didn't make it to Van Buren for the Lady Dawg Classic. From the looks of it, Neelyville is just as strong as ever this year after taking the championship for the second straight year. The Lady Tigers dominated to the title winning all 3 games by at least 30 points. What was important for Neelyville was not only did they beat the team that ousted them in sectional round last year (Thayer), they also beat Twin Rivers in the final in what could be the first of four meetings between the schools this year. Neelyville and Twin Rivers played each other in the Lady Royals Classic and the OFC final last season.
A look at the week ahead
-- One thing I'm looking forward to this week isn't even a game. I hope to join the coaches at the seed meeting for the Bloomfield Tournament on Thursday in Dexter. I've been made fun of before for showing up to these seed meetings, but it's a great way to get updated on schools outside of my coverage area and to hear what coaches have to say about their teams. I'll post the seeds on here as soon as I get them. Also, the Twin Rivers Lady Royals Classic seeds on Friday.
-- Games this week I'm looking forward to include for boys: Bloomfield at Twin Rivers on Tuesday in a rematch of the semis at Holcomb last week. This is a key game for the seed meeting. On Friday, Van Buren and Doniphan might be worth checking out with both schools under new coaches. Also the SEMO Tournament runs all week and will be very entertaining.
-- On the girls side: The Poplar Bluff Lady Mules play their annual tournament at Paragould, Ark. I've gone to the final day the last couple years and Poplar Bluff always seems to play a grind-it-out kind of game to end it. Also worth checking out on Saturday is the first annual First Midwest Bank Lady Tiger Shootout at Clearwater. Lesterville will play Poplar Bluff JV at noon, Naylor plays South Iron at 2 p.m., East Carter takes on Meadow Heights at 4 p.m. and Clearwater closes it out against Perryville at 6 p.m.
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