Oran celebrates banner day as boys and girls basketball win quarterfinals, advance to state

Saturday, March 4, 2017
Oran boys basketball players celebrate following their 55-52 win over Hartville in a Class 2 quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
Brian Rosener ~ Daily American Republic

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- It was a banner day for the Oran basketball teams Saturday.

Oran's boys overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat Hartville 55-52 before the Lady Eagles followed with an equally thrilling 72-69 win over Neelyville in the Class 2 quarterfinal at the Bess Activity Center.

"Excited to go to Columbia, first time ever," Oran girls coach Ethan Evans said. "Boys and girls going together."

While the Lady Eagles won their first quarterfinal appearance, the Eagles returned to the Show-Me Showdown for the first time since finishing fourth in 2013 and for the third time in school history.

The Eagles (21-8) will face Sacred Heart (25-5) at 3:20 p.m. Thursday at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Missouri.

Oran girls basketball players and coach Ethan Evans celebrate during a Class 2 quarterfinal against Neelyville on Saturday afternoon at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

The Oran girls (27-3) will play in the following game at 6:40 p.m. Thursday against Adrian (29-1).

"It means a lot," Eagles coach Joe Shoemaker said. "It means more to these kids more than anything right now and I told them things are kind of a blur right now but they'll really learn to enjoy it after the fact."

Max Priggel scored 24 points to lead the Eagles while Jacob Shoemaker chipped in 11, hitting 6 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter. Todd Priggel added seven points before fouling out along with Layne Johnson and Cole Priggel, who each scored four points.

Hartville's Deric Jones had 17 points and Dune Piper added 12 points, four steals and six rebounds.

Piper fouled out reaching in for a tie-up with 2:04 to play and the game tied at 47-all. Shoemaker knocked down both foul shots for a lead that the Eagles never relinquished.

"Big thorn," coach Shoemaker said of Piper. "When he fouled out it helped us a little bit. We were really struggling trying to guard him and keeping him out of the lane."

Hartville (25-6), which was 15 of 28 from the foul line, split two free throws with 1:49 left before Shoemaker found a wide-open Drew Reischman under the basket for a 51-48 lead.

"I was going to pull it out and hold the ball for awhile and he was wide open," Shoemaker said.

It was the only basket for Reischman, but Oran's reserves scored 11 points.

"Next man up all season," Shoemaker said. "Try not to let playing time get in the way, just all in for the ultimate goal."

Shoemaker, a sophomore, split two free throws with 36 seconds left for a 53-49 lead and Hartville missed a 3 that Wyatt Kinney rebounded. He was quickly fouled and hit the second of two free throws before Hartville's Braden Keith knocked down a 3 to cut Oran's lead to 54-52.

Shoemaker stepped to the line with 11 seconds left and sank the second free throw.

Hartville's Jace Keith missed a 3-pointer off the back of the rim and Reischman tipped the rebound away as the Eagles were able to run out the clock.

"That's the one thing we preached to our kids -- it's usually not the last shot that beats you, it's that last rebound," coach Shoemaker said. "We really had to compete and go rebound. We're not big.

"We did very well there at the end getting rebounds."

Oran's Max Priggel takes a twisting shot during the second half of the MSHSAA Class 2 quarterfinal Saturday afternoon, March 4, 2017, at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Brian Rosener)

Oran never led until the fourth quarter, when Max Priggel sank both shots of a one-and-one for a 39-38 lead with 6:44 left. The lead changed sides twice and the teams were tied three times after that.

Jace Keith's 3 broke a 42-all tie with 4 1/2 minutes left but Max Priggel put Oran in front at the 2:41 mark with a three-point play. Hartville tied one last time at 47 when Cody Kelly, a 6-foot-10 junior, split two foul shots.

"Definitely intense," Shoemaker said. "We just tried to do what (coach) tells us and trust our teammates."

Hartville took a 31-25 lead into halftime and extended it to 10 by the middle of the third.

Max Priggel hit a leaning shot as he was fouled and sank the free throw to start a 9-0 run to end the quarter. The Eagles didn't allow a point over the final 4:12 of the third and 1:47 into the fourth to rally.

Hartville scored the first six points of the game after Piper opened the game with consecutive steals. Oran pulled even at 11-all with a consecutive 3s by Max Priggel and later a pull-up jumper by Todd Priggel.

The teams were tied at 13 entering the second when Jace Keith splashed in a 3 and Jones got a putback. Oran responded with a 3 by Max Priggel and later a three-point play by Shoemaker to tie it at 19.

Braden Keith followed with a 3, the first of seven straight points for Hartville as the Eagles went four minutes between field goals. Shoemaker's putback ended the drought but Oran trailed by six at the break.

"When (Piper) beats you on the dribble and you throw it to the (Jones) kid, we struggled to stop that," coach Shoemaker said. "Told the kids to keep trying, that's all we can do."

Oran shot 37 percent from the field, including 4 of 14 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 15 times to nine by the Eagles, but held a 29-26 rebounding advantage. Hartville shot 39 percent from the field but missed 13 free throws.


Neelyville's Jentri Worley, right, is fouled by Oran's Kaylee Payne during the first half of the MSHSAA Class 2 quarterfinal Saturday afternoon, March 4, 2017, at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Brian Rosener)

The Eagles watched and cheered on their classmates from the sidelines before punching their own ticket to Columbia.

"I think they came out fired up, their boys had just won," Neelyville coach Becky Hale said.

Leah Cauble scored 33 points and reached 1,000 for the season on a free throw that broke a tie in the third quarter. The 5-foot-9 sophomore sank 13 of 15 free throws and also had eight rebounds.

J'Kayla Fowler led the Tigers (22-5) with 27 points and 12 rebounds while Jentri Worley added 22 points. Neelyville, however, shot 39 percent from the field, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range.

"Our shots didn't fall," Hale said. "Not a good shooting day."

Jessie Long added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Eagles, Kaylee Payne scored all eight of her points in the first quarter while Briana Stause scored all seven of her points in the second half and made a game-saving play at the end.

Katelyn Streeter's free throw with 16 seconds left put Oran up 71-69 and the teams tied up a loose ball with 5.9 seconds left, giving Neelyville an inbound pass under its own basket.

Fowler was open on the right block but Claire Ramsey got ahold of the ball along with Mackenzie Graviett to force another jump ball, the 10th of the game.

Long threw a long inbound pass to the other end but the player designated to be there didn't break. Stause chased it down, saving it from going out of bounds and Claire Ramsey ended up with it before being fouled with 3.7 seconds left.

"That was a really big play by Bri," Cauble said. "I'm glad she did that or we would have had to put some pressure up top."

Said Evans, "It's okay to be lucky this time of year."

Ramsey's free throw set the final score as Neelyville senior Michaela Eakins got off a late shot.

"We knew it was going to be tough," Evans said. "They've got a heck of a squad and they bring all the pressure in the world, especially at the end with what they were trying to do with Leah, keeping the ball out of her hands."

Cauble hit 10 of 12 free throws in the final 4 minutes after Neelyville cut Oran's seven-point lead to a point by forcing three straight turnovers.

Stause's offensive rebound off a missed free throw with Oran leading 60-59 led to Cauble's first two foul shots of the fourth quarter. Her next trip to the line came after being fouled on a defensive rebound that put the Lady Eagles in the double-bonus. Cauble's steal and split at the line put Oran up 65-59 with 3:05 to play. Four more free throws later made it an eight-point lead with 1:55 to go.

"She's good at getting to the line," Hale said. "All we have to do was look at her."

Rebounding was the difference for Oran, which scored 14 second-chance points, and ended up with the same number of boards as the Lady Tigers.

"That was a big focus. We were preaching rebounding before the game and just to come out there and do it means a lot," Cauble said.

Said Evans, "I thought we did a better job in the second half than what we did in the first half."

Neelyville, meanwhile, forced 21 turnovers leading to 28 points but missed a few more chances to add to that total.

The Lady Tigers, who finessed second in Class 2 last year, nearly overcame an eight-point fourth quarter deficit after seeing their 10-point, second-quarter lead disappear.

The Lady Eagles trailed 33-23 with 2:10 left in the first half.

Cauble started the comeback with a three-point play on a putback then scored after a steal by Jessica Long before Mackenzie Graviett hit a pull-up jumper and later two free throws. The 8-1 run to end the half cut Neelyville's lead to 34-32 and Cauble opened the third with a go-ahead 3-pointer.

"It was their day," Hale said.

Neelyville led 8-3 early and by as much as seven in the first quarter before a 3-pointer by Ramsey. Payne later scored off a pass from Cauble in transition before knocking down a 3 off an inbound pass for a 14-13 Oran lead.

The Lady Tigers scored the next seven points but Cauble hit a 3 to close out the first quarter as Neelyville led 20-17.

Consecutive buckets by Worley pushed the lead to seven and Oran didn't score until the 4:56 mark of the second. But the Lady Tigers didn't take advantage and Oran got within 24-21 on Cauble's pull-up jumper midway through the quarter.

Worley's 3 capped a 7-0 swing to put the Lady Tigers up 10 with just under 3 minutes in the half but they only had one more basket before the break.

"We're inches away and still missing it," Hale said. "Again, that's on one chance. We should have had three or four people blocking out, rebounding and it wasn't happening."


Oran 55, Hartville 52


ORAN (55) -- Max Priggel 24, Todd Priggel 7, Luke Barnes 2, Layne Johnson 4, Jacob Shoemaker 11, Drew Reischman 2, Wyatt Kinney 1, Cole Priggel 4. FG 13, FT 25-32, F 20. (3-pointers: M. Priggel 3, T. Priggel. Fouled out: T. Priggel, Johnson, C. Priggel.)

HARTVILLE (52) -- Braden Keith 9, Dune Piper 12, Jace Keith 9, Deric Jones 17, Wyatt Ward 4, Cody Kelley 1. FG 16, FT 15-28, F 18. (3-pointers: B. Keith 3, J. Keith 2. Fouled out: B. Keith, Jones.)


Oran 72, Neelyville 69


ORAN (72) -- Mackenzie Graviett 4, Brianna Stause 7, Kaylee Payne 8, Katelyn Streeter 1, Leah Cauble 33, Jessie Long 15, Claire Ramsey 4. FG 22, FT 20-27, F 14. (3-pointers: Cauble 4, Payne 2, Stause. Fouled out: Payne.)

NEELYVILLE (69) -- Jentri Worley 22, Mackenzie Hobbs 2, J'Kayla Fowler 27, Lexi Liau 5, Michaela Eakins 4, Lauren Crossen 3, Ashley Oxley 6. FG 27, FT 13-20, F 18. (3-pointers: Worley 2. Fouled out: Liau.)

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