Articles on this Page
- 03/18/17--12:46: _Seven Kickapoo seni...
- 03/20/17--12:31: _Kickapoo's Jared Ri...
- 03/20/17--16:49: _American Family Ins...
- 03/22/17--15:25: _Ex-Mizzou QB Maty M...
- 03/23/17--11:40: _American Family Ins...
- 02/17/17--20:50: _12 southwest Missou...
- 03/24/17--14:44: _5-star Michael Port...
- 03/28/17--17:57: _Hall-of-Famer visit...
- 03/29/17--17:47: _Missouri State base...
- 04/03/17--15:57: _Missouri Basketball...
- 04/04/17--14:48: _Longtime Bolivar fo...
- 03/18/17--12:46: Seven Kickapoo seniors sent off with a win
- 03/20/17--12:31: Kickapoo's Jared Ridder named Gatorade Player of the Year
- 03/23/17--11:40: American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Football 2016-2017
- 04/04/17--14:48: Longtime Bolivar football coach, Hall-of-Famer dies
COLUMBIA – Seven Kickapoo seniors got to close their basketball careers with a win.
Kickapoo (26-5) defeated Chaminade 89-78 in the third-place game of the 2017 Class 5 boys basketball playoffs at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Less than 24 hours after a 58-57 loss to Webster Groves in the semifinals, Kickapoo rebounded to end the season with a win.
Five Chiefs players scored in double figures, led by Cameron Davis with 29 points.
“I got emotional out there because I know this is one of the biggest parts of my life, for sure, but we ended it the right way,” Davis said.
Xavier basketball signee Jared Ridder scored 19 points in the final game of his high school career.
“It was a pride game. We just wanted to come out and get the win and end our seasons on a win,” Ridder said. “I just wanted to go out and play for my teammates because of all of the stuff that they’ve done for me.”
Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee didn’t see the second half of the game. Rippee was assessed two technical fouls in a span of nine seconds of game time in the 15th minute of the game and was ejected.
“As a coach, you never want to—the thing that hurts me the most about what happened to me personally, it’s not about me, was that I didn’t get to be out there with my guys the last half of their careers,” Rippee said. “That’s disappointing. I didn’t think it was deserving.”
Rippee received the first technical for protesting a foul called against Ridder, who was battling for position on the blocks as a Chaminade player shot a free throw.
“I just thought it was a ticky tack foul and so I said as much, and never used any curse words or anything like that,” Rippee said. “I just asked for an explanation, ‘Come over and tell me what I said,’ and that’s when he ejected me for asking for an explanation.”
Rippee has been a high school basketball head coach for a total of 12 seasons, and Saturday was the first time he has ever been ejected from a game.
With assistant coach Brad Brummel calling sets, Kickapoo went to the locker room at halftime trailing by a point.
“It kind of fired us up to see (Rippee) fight for us like that,” Ridder said.
Rippee had no way to watch the second half, so he turned to his daughter, University of Arkansas volleyball player and Kickapoo graduate Rachel Rippee. The coach estimates he received about 100 text messages in the second half.
“I was getting continual updates,” Rippee said. “My daughter is a text machine, I can tell you that. She’s texting away, adding little quips in there with her play-by-play.”
The Chiefs poured down 48 points in the second half. Donyae McCaskill finished with 11 points, senior Isaac Blakeslee scored 10, and Rutgers football signee Travis Vokolek scored a career-high 18 points.
“My daughter kept texting me, ‘Travis with a dunk. Travis with a dunk,’” Rippee said.
Kickapoo showed the sort of offensive balance Rippee believed in and felt went overlooked all season.
“There’s been a lot of attention on individuals and rightly so, I’m not saying they’re not deserving. I just think people missed out on the opportunity to get to know our team, because it’s a special team,” Rippee said.
In the past four years, Kickapoo’s boys basketball record stands at 100-18.
“It’s special for sure. We’ve been with these guys for four years, longer than that for some of us. A hundred wins? That’s incredible for a high school career,” Davis said.
Kickapoo’s seniors are Davis, Ridder, Vokolek, Blakeslee, Mitch Closser, Jackson Auer and Corey Dye. Davis hopes his class of seniors helped continue a proud tradition of basketball. He remembers watching the Chiefs play under Hall of Fame coach Roy Green as a youngster.
“I feel like we’ve created a standard here at Kickapoo that was set before we got here. As fourth-graders, we saw what they were doing and we wanted to be just like them. I feel like we added to the legacy of Kickapoo basketball,” Davis said.
Chaminade (24-7) carries a tradition with it as well. Under Drury University graduate Frank Bennett, the Red Devils have been to the semifinals for three years in a row and defeated Kickapoo in the state championship final in 2016. Reggie Crawford, a senior committed to play football at South Dakota, scored 41 points for Chaminade in his final game.
Bennett attributed key performances in the third-place game to seniority.
“The biggest thing is when players become seniors, something happens. They just—they want to win,” Bennett said. “Cameron Davis is a man. He’s a senior, and he played like it as well, and same with Jared Ridder.”
High school boys basketball Class 5 third place game
Kickapoo 89, Chaminade 78
At Mizzou Arena, Columbia
Kickapoo—Cameron Davis 29, Jared Ridder 19, Travis Vokolek 18, Donyae McCaskill 11, Isaac Blakeslee 10, Mitch Closser 2
Chaminade—Reggie Crawford 41, Luke Kasubke 9, Jericole Hellems 9, Dylan Branson 6, Keyyaun Batchman 4, Karrington Davis 4, Liam Courtney 3, Jadis White 2.
tdunhamusatodayFrom left, Kickapoo senior Cameron Davis, boys basketball coach Dick Rippee and senior Jared Ridder address reporters following an 89-78 win over Chaminade at Mizzou Arena Saturday, March 18, 2017.
The Gatorade Company announced Jared Ridder of Kickapoo High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Missouri Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Ridder is the second Gatorade Missouri Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Kickapoo High School after Spencer Laurie in 2003. The award, given for outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Ridder as Missouri’s best high school boys basketball player. Ridder becomes a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced later in March.
The 6-foot-7, 195-pound senior forward led the Chiefs to a 26-5 record and a berth in the Class 5 semifinals, which resulted in a third-place finish. Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor. A First Team All-State selection, he is ranked as the state’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017 by PrepHoops.com.
Ridder is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has volunteered locally on behalf of an area homeless shelter and as a youth basketball coach.
“Jared Ridder has to be at or near the top of the many talented players we have produced at our school,” Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee said. “He is well-known for his shooting ability but sometimes his other skills go unnoticed. He has a very high basketball IQ and I believe he is top player in the state of Missouri this season.”
Ridder holds a 3.57 grade point average. He has signed to play basketball on scholarship at Xavier University this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Ridder will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support.
tdunhamusatodayKickapoo Chiefs forward Jared Ridder (34) lets off a shot right before the buzzer signaling the end of third quarter action of the MSHSAA Class 5 quarterfinal between the Kickapoo High School Chiefs and the Rock ridge High School Bruins at Southern Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. on March 11, 2017. Ridder would make the shot and the Kickapoo Chiefs would go on to win the game 71-65.
The 2016-2017 high school basketball season concluded Saturday in Columbia at the Show-Me Showdown.
A pair of Springfield area teams participated in the state championship playoffs in Classes 4 and 5 at Mizzou Arena. Three players have been selected for American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performers of the Week recognition.
The American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performers of the Week are selected by News-Leader staff based on athletic effort and a player’s value to their team from March 13-18:
Kickapoo boys basketball
Navy basketball signee Cameron Davis attacked his last two high school games with stone-cold determination. The senior scored 21 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of play in a stunning 58-57 loss to Webster Groves in the Class 5 semifinals at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. In the third-place game Saturday against Chaminade, Davis scored 29 points in an 89-78 win.
Bolivar boys basketball
The 6-foot-6 University of Central Missouri basketball signee Brandon Emmert controlled the paint with 24 points and nine rebounds in a 63-41 win over Parkway Central that sent the Liberators (28-5) to the Class 4 state championship final. Bolivar ran into a loss with a second-place finish to Vashon, but Emmert led all scorers with 18 points.
Kickapoo boys basketball
Vokolek was one of five Kickapoo players to reach double digits in scoring in an 89-78 win over Chaminade for third place in the Class 5 playoffs in Columbia. Normally a screen setter, rebounder and defensive specialist, Vokolek took off for a career high 18 points. The senior went 7-of-8 shooting in the game and had seven rebounds. The senior is signed to play tight end for the football team at Rutgers University.
Varsity sports coaches, would you like to nominate one of your athletes to be an American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performer of the Week? Email your nomination to News-Leader high school sports reporter Rance Burger (email@example.com) by 5 p.m. each Monday.
Former University of Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk will try to make a stop in Springfield turn into a step toward the pros.
An agent and trainer representing Mauk released a statement on Twitter confirming Mauk’s pending pro day workout will be Friday, April 7 at 1 p.m. at Glendale High School.
Mauk will reportedly participate in “all pro day field drills and quarterback specific drills.” Event organizers hope to attract professional scouts.
Mauk started 22 of the 29 games he appeared in at Mizzou. He went a total of 346-of-657 passing (52.1 percent completion rating) for 4,373 yards, 42 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Mauk also rushed for 737 yards and four touchdowns on 185 attempts.
Brian Martin CSCS (@Bmartinsports) March 21, 2017
Problems off the field plagued Mauk’s time in Columbia. Tigers coaches suspended Mauk three times in four months for unspecified violations of team rules. Mauk was dismissed from the team after a video surfaced of an unidentified person snorting a white substance. The unknown person who tweeted the video claimed it depicted Mauk.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Mauk went to Eastern Kentucky University in Pikeville, Kentucky as a grad student. His final college season was cut short by a shoulder injury and a concussion. He appeared in only two games.
Mauk’s connection to Glendale High School is through his family. Falcons football coach Mike Mauk recently completed his third season at Glendale. The Falcons were 11-1 and reached the Class 5 playoff quarterfinals. Maty Mauk’s older brother, former University of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk, is a teacher and football offensive coordinator at Glendale.
Mauk’s quarterback coach, retired NFL veteran Jay Fiedler, will reportedly be in attendance at Glendale. Fiedler played eight NFL seasons, mostly with the Miami Dolphins. He passed for 11,844 yards and 69 touchdowns in his NFL career.
The workout also includes former Mizzou football players Bud Sasser, Darius White and Oke Akushe.
tdunhamusatodayThings aren't going entirely smoothly for QB Maty Mauk and the Mizzou Tigers. But the road should get easier this week at Kentucky.
News-Leader 2016-2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Football
All players listed below are invited to attend the 2017 News-Leader Sports Awards, Thursday, June 8 at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield:
QB-Alex Huston, Glendale*
ATH-Chris Lawson, Kickapoo
RB-Michael Branch, Monett*
RB-John Berry, Lebanon
RB-Keegan Hoopes, West Plains
WR-Luke Montgomery, Glendale
WR-Jarrett Massie, Mt. Vernon
TE-Branson Emmert, Bolivar
OL-Grant Martin, Kickapoo
OL-Colton Skyles, Ava
OL-Rudy Tapia, Willard
OL-Cody Lanning, Ozark
OL-Austin Bradfield, Reeds Spring
K-Anthony Guynn, Fair Grove
DE-Jerrett Esposito, Greenfield
DE-Solomon Douglas, Ozark
DL-Will Anoa’i, Kickapoo
DL-Ben Lambton, Nixa
LB-Kyle Doran, Glendale
LB-Onis Howard, Monett
LB-Sam Gleason, Kickapoo
LB-Jaytin Gutierrez, Rogersville
DB-Korey Robinette, Reeds Spring
DB-Dalton Cloyd, Fair Grove
DB-Jack Ehrhardt, Lebanon
DB-Travis Vokolek, Kickapoo*
KR-Josh Powell, Hillcrest
P-Joshua Scheiderer, Kickapoo
QB-Garrett Hadlock, Mt. Vernon
ATH-Ian Meyer, Monett
RB-Nicos Oropeza, Nixa
RB-Shawn Bryan, Skyline
RB-Lane Loomer, Bolivar
WR-Jeremy Almeida, Glendale
WR-Andrew Montemayor, Mt. Vernon
WR-Luke Masters, Branson
OL-Colby Lathrop, Lebanon
OL-Collin Allen, Greenfield
OL-Martin Eidson, Willard
OL-Jace Wells, Springfield Catholic
OL-Garrett Presnall, Republic
OL-Daniel Terry, Fair Grove
K-Alex Locke, Glendale
DE-Ian Marshall, Glendale
DE-Elijah Evans, Strafford—
DL-Tucker Allred, Ash Grove
DL- Craigen Hatfield, Central
DL-Zach Howard, Bolivar
LB-Haaken Friend, Lighthouse Christian
LB-C.J. Loveall, Parkview
LB-Trayson Lawler, Strafford
LB-Josh Pipkin, Ash Grove
DB-Kenny Chambers, Willard
DB-Parker Soper, Ash Grove
DB-Andrew Montemayor, Mt. Vernon
DB-Tyson Riley, Springfield Catholic
P-Erik Savage, Hillcrest
KR-Corey Dye, Kickapoo
*denotes finalist for News-Leader Sports Awards 2016-2017 Football Player of the Year
The Missouri high school state wrestling championship matches are set to take place Saturday at 6 p.m. in Columbia.
A total of 12 wrestlers from southwest Missouri will compete in state championship matches at Mizzou Arena.
Willard senior Niko Chavez will attempt to win back-to-back state championship titles when he squares off with Windsor Imperial junior Jacob Warren (44-2) Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Rogersville freshman Jay Stausbaugh continued a methodic march through the ranks at 120 pounds by advancing to the Class 2 championship final. Strausbaugh (46-6) defeated Luke Moffett of Bolivar by a 13-5 major decision to march on for the state title shot against undefeated Connor Brown of Oak Grove (49-0) in Saturday’s championship final.
Brown has won each of his three state tournament matches in the first period, with each win coming by fall. His longest bout lasted 1:38.
Webb City football running back Hunter Vanlue showed off why wrestling likely lies in his college future by improving to an impeccable 54-0 on the season. Vanlue defeated Ryan Yarnell of Windsor Imperial 6-3 in what was the only bout of Vanlue’s ride through the state championship tournament to end without a pin. Vanlue will face Warrensburg senior Dayton Brown (51-5) for the state title on Saturday night.
87th Missouri State High School Activities Association Wrestling Championships
At Mizzou Arena, Columbia
106—Levi Connelly (Seneca) dec. James Jury (Brookfield) 6-0
113—Rance Waigand (Richmond) dec. Max Roark (Seneca) 5-0
126—Dalton Hembree (Seneca) maj. dec. Drake Eychaner (North Andrew) 14-4
152—Trey Smith (Seneca) pin Alex Cupp (Marceline) 4:32
160—Zac Russell (Whitfield) dec. Floyd Miller (Buffalo) 6-1, sudden victory
195—Richard Menconci (Brookfield) dec. Blake Williamson (Buffalo) 11-5
220—Gunner Martin (Polo) dec. Colten Kenady (Buffalo) 4-2
106—Joseph Semerad (Monett) pin Sawyer Day (Cameron) 3:16
113—Joel Barrientos (Monett) dec. Cristian Dixon (Benton) 5-2
120—Jay Strausbaugh (Rogersville) maj. dec. Luke Moffett (Bolivar) 13-5
170—Brit Wilson (Mexico) pin Wyatt Goade (Cassville) :40
195—Ian Meyer (Monett) tech. fall Chance Richards (Moberly) 16-0, 4:48
120—Dylan Owens (Hillsboro) dec. Dalen Moore (Carthage) 6-2
126—Cameron Rudy (Ft. Zumwalt South) dec. Trenton Young (Neosho) 9-6
132—Gannon Millard (Neosho) dec. Calvin Obermark (Washington) 13-6
145—Jacob Warren (Windsor Imperial) maj. dec. Jacob Ulrich (Branson) 10-0, Nikolas Chavez (Willard) dec. Joe Biondo (4-3)
152—Robert Weber (Belton) dec. Markkel Moore (Carthage) 3-2
170—Ottis Peeler (Raytown South) dec. Joey Williams (Neosho) 11-8
182—Hunter Vanlue (Webb City) dec. Ryan Yarnell (Windsor Imperial) 6-3
195—Jacob Boyd, Smithville maj. dec. Zachary Plummer (Neosho) 14-3
220—Casey Jumps (Platte County) maj. dec. Christian Nutz (Neosho) 10-0
285—Zeke Wall (Carl Junction) pin Austin Campbell (Harrisonville) 1:52, Adrian Hitchcock (Neosho) pin Emanuel Childs (Raytown) 1:11
145—Kyran Hagan (Eureka) dec. Peter Lucitt (Waynesville) 5-1
195—Zach Elam (Staley) pin Donovan Benetti (Nixa) 1:42
106—Levi Connelly (Seneca) dec. James Jury (Brookfield) 6-0, Ross Critten (Gallatin) dec. Lizzie Miller (Buffalo) 5-2
113—Max Roark (Seneca) dec. Wade Raeman (Whitfield) 4-1, Ethan Smith (Buffalo) pin Colton Fisher (Marceline) 4:36
120—Mike McAteer (Whitfield) pin Dawson Stephens (Seneca) 1:58
126—Dalton Hembree (Seneca) pin Andrew Huddleston (Hallsville) 4:48
145—Dalton Schelle (Plattsburg) dec. Cole Hatfield (Seneca) 7-3
152—Trey Smith (Seneca) dec. Parker Rotterman (Mid-Buchanan) 3-0
160—Floyd Miller (Buffalo) dec. Drew Rorebeck (Trenton) 10-5, Andrew Edgar (Marceline) dec. Lance Hymer (Seneca) 2-1
170—Alvaro Porras (Lexington) maj. dec. Austin Reid (Buffalo) 10-2, Mason Doll (South Harrison) dec. Taylor Cook (Seneca) 9-6
182—Noah Elmore (Whitfield) dec. Kale Schrader (Seneca) 3-2
195—Blake Williamson (Buffalo) dec. Blake McClain (Plattsburg) 4-2, tiebreaker
220—Colten Kenady (Buffalo) dec. Justin Leath (Lone Jack) 6-4
106—Dalton Thompson (St. Clair) pin Granite Cunningham (Bolivar) 5:15, Joseph Semerad (Monett) pin Travis Waldner (Dexter) 3:47
113—Joel Barrientos (Monett) dec. Hunter Williams (Excelsior Springs) 8-2
120—Luke Moffett (Bolivar) pin Camron Lowry (Moberly) 1:30, Jay Strausbaugh (Rogersville) maj. dec. Gabriel Hummer (Savannah) 11-0, Dylan Patton (Mexico) pin Karter Brink (Monett) 5:42
132—Grant Staffen (Ste. Genevieve) pin Jonah Gann (Rogersville) 1:15, Gunnar Bradley (Monett) dec. Dean Foster (Savannah) 6-2
138—Jordan Shewmaker (Benton) tech. fall Lucas Campbell (Rogersville) 18-2, 4:56
145—Clark Rogers (Winfield) pin Brody Crawford (Monett) 5:09
152—Brandon Carbray (St. Charles West) dec. Onis Howard (Monett) 8-2
160—Brant Price (Savannah) pin Devon Vickery (Rogersville)
170—Wyatt Goade (Cassville) dec. Aaron Herman (St. Clair), sudden victory 5-3
182—Caleb Shanks (Cameron) pin Clayton Chappell (Bolivar) 5:24
195—Ian Meyer (Monett) dec. Dawson Cox (Cameron) 6-2
220—Josh Richards (St. Clair) dec. Jacob Johnson (Nevada) 6-3
113—Caden Green (Kearney) dec. Dalton Kivett (Neosho) 9-4, Cody Phippen (Platte County) pin Michael Taylor (Republic) 2:46
120—Dalen Moore (Carthage) dec. Mitchell Bohlken (Smithville) 6-3, Clayton Singh (Kearney) dec. Jakob Gerow (McDonald County) 3-2
126—Andrew Shea (Battle) dec. Tyler Church (Carl Junction) 4-1, Cameron Rudy (Ft. Zumwalt South) pin Nick Norbury (Carthage) :33, Trenton Young (Neosho) dec. Mitchell Alexander (Grain Valley) 3-2
132—Sam Frankowski (Rockwood Summit) dec. Alex Garrett (Willard) 3-1, Gannon Millard, Neosho dec. Ryan Hampton (Smithville) 3-1
138—Alex Rivera (Smithville) dec. Braxton Barnes (Neosho) 4-3
145—Jacob Ulrich (Branson) dec. Austin Denson (Ft. Zumwalt South) 5-2, Nikolas Chavez (Willard) dec. Dawson Sickmeier (Union) 1-0
152—Markkel Moore (Carthage) dec. Josh Clark (Union) 3-2
160—Braden Danner (Harrisonville) pin Isaiah Wittmer (Branson) :40, Jacob Orsay (Ladue Horton Watkins) maj. dec. Truman Craig (McDonald County) 12-0
170—Joey Williams (Neosho) maj. dec. Tramel Harrell (University City)
182—Hunter Vanlue (Webb City) pin Brett Mordecai (Kearney) 3:27, Dayton Brown (Warrensburg) pin Cameron Caldwell (Willard)
195—Zachary Plummer (Neosho) pin Dylan Ahern (Union) :50, Jacob Boyd (Smithville) pin Hunter Pyle (Republic) 1:39, Sage Smart (Platte County) pin Christian Smart (Willard) 7:42
220—Jacob Null (Warrenton) pin Julian Richardson (Republic) 1:10, Christian Nutz (Neosho) dec. Alec Holtmeyer (Washington) 2-1, tiebreaker
285—Zeke Wall (Carl Junction) dec. Landon Porter (DeSoto) 6-0, Austin Campbell (Harrisonville) dec. Bronnie Kinser (McDonald County) 1-0, Adrian Hitchcock (Neosho) pin Corbin Lee (St. Mary’s of St. Louis) 2:39
113—Demetrius Trotter (North Kansas City) dec. Jake Nichols (Ozark) 7-1
120—Austin Kolvek (Park Hill) dec. Gaven Sax (Waynesville) 6-5
126—Cameron Valdiviez (Rockhurst) dec. Sean Sax (Waynesville) 6-5
132— Cameron Wegener (Lafayette Wildwood) maj. dec. Trevor Christian (Lebanon) 20-11
145—Peter Lucitt (Waynesville) dec. Trevor Liggett (Francis Howell Central) 4-3
160—Cory Peterson (DeSmet) dec. Nick Gladkov (Ozark) 6-2
195—Donovan Benetti (Nixa) dec. Jack Marak (Parkway South) 14-8, Zach Elam (Staley) pin Solomon Garcia (Joplin) 1:14
220—Danny Conley (Chaminade) dec. Jadyn Withrow (Joplin) 6-2
tdunhamusatodayWillard senior defending state champion Niko Chavez, right
Newly hired University of Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin just landed his first 5-star recruit.
Michael Porter Jr. announced his intent to play basketball for the Tigers on Friday afternoon. He shared a short message on Twitter and then tweeted a picture of himself jumping with a basketball in his hand while clad in a Mizzou uniform.
Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Porter played three seasons at Father Tolton Regional Catholic in Columbia, but most recently spent his senior year at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington. That’s because his father, former University of Washington men’s basketball assistant coach Michael Porter Sr., moved his family to the Pacific Northwest for his job.
The move impacted the lineup for the 2017 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield.
Washington fired coach Lorenzo Romar on March 15, which also put the elder Porter out of a job. Martin, who previously coached at Missouri State, Tennessee and California, was hired at Missouri the same day Romar was let go at Washington. Martin reportedly offered Michael Porter Sr. a job at Missouri.
The University of Washington granted Michael Porter Jr. a release from his National Letter of Intent to play for the Huskies, effectively reopening his recruitment.
Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Porter is the National Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 36.2 points, 13.6 rebounds and five assists per game and led Nathan Hale to an undefeated 29-0 season and a Class 3A state championship in Washington.
Porter has some ties to local players. He spent the previous summer playing in the Nike EYBL circuit with MoKan Elite, a team that included Kickapoo seniors Jared Ridder and Cameron Davis.
Congrats my man!! ✊🏼 twitter.com/thempj1/status…—
Jared Ridder (@jared_ridder) March 24, 2017
tdunhamusatodayMichael Porter Jr. tweeted March 24, 2017 that he hoped to play for a Missouri basketball team that could "restore the atmosphere at Mizzou Arena."
Cabool quarterback Logan Miller got a visit from an NFL Hall-of-Famer.
tdunhamusatodayPro Football Hall-of-Famer Aeneas Williams poses with Award for Excellence finalist Logan Miller at Cabool High School on Monday, March 27, 2017.Cabool High School senior Logan Miller (center) addresses the student body during an assembly in his honor featuring Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Aeneas Williams (right)
With a future so bright, it would be easy for Robbie Merced to look past his final season of high school baseball and think about playing for Missouri State University.
“A lot of people think that, but I’m just having fun in the moment right now,” Merced said.
The Kickapoo (4-0) senior shortstop with a fast glove and pop in his bat wants to help the Chiefs surpass his sophomore season of 2015, when they finished in third place in the Class 5 state tournament. He still recalls in detail a 5-2 loss to Nixa in the 2016 Class 5 District 11 championship that cut the Kickapoo season short at 24-8.
“We want to go far. Last year we were upset in the district finals, we definitely want to get back there,” Merced said.
Merced bats third in the Kickapoo order and leads the team in RBI. He is rated as the No. 38 baseball prospect in Missouri according to Prep Baseball Report. Merced signed a national letter of intent to play for Missouri State in November during the NCAA’s early signing window for baseball players.
Missouri State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Nate Thompson likes Merced’s chances to prosper for the Bears.
“Obviously Robbie is a local product with great bloodlines. He has a great frame, and he’s been in our camps quite a bit, so we’ve seen him develop. He’s going to continue to grow into his frame and he has a bright future as a middle infielder,” Thompson said.
It’s hard to bring up Merced in a baseball conversation without mentioning his pedigree.
Merced’s father, Puerto Rican-born Orlando Merced, played 13 seasons of Major League Baseball for seven different teams from 1990 to 2003. Orlando Merced resides in Puerto Rico, where he is a coach, while Robbie Merced lives in Springfield with his mother.
Merced is also the great-grandson of Springfield resident Bill Virdon, who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1962 Gold Glove-winning center fielder played 10 years in the majors with St. Louis and Pittsburgh. He immediately moved into coaching and worked his way up to spending 13 seasons as a Major League manager.
Merced showed off his range and quick fielding and throwing skills with six assists in a chilly 5-3, 11-inning marathon win over Ozark on Tuesday night at U.S. Baseball Park in Ozark.
Kickapoo coach Jason Howser commended Merced for his work ethic.
“Robbie is a tremendous athlete and a very good, obviously, shortstop. He’s really blossomed over the last year and a half and he just continues to get better and better,” Howser said.
Merced isn’t flashy or boisterous, he lets his play on the diamond speak for him. It adds up to some peace of mind for his coach.
“It’s nice when the ball is hit to the No. 6 hole that we know the majority of the time he’s got the range, the mobility and the arm to finish the play on the other end of it,” Howser said.
Ozark coach Mike Essick, who found himself on the losing end of Tuesday’s three and a half hour affair, also complimented Merced’s fielding. Essick is excited to see Merced move on to Missouri State, albeit for some pro-Ozark reasons.
“There’s no doubt about it, Robbie is a nice player,” Essick said. “He’s rangy, he’s quick. They’ve got a nice club, and they have had. Kickapoo, I don’t care, in all sports—they’re in a good run of talent right now. They have been for about three years now, so I hope the well goes dry after this year.”
Merced specialized in baseball for his first two years of high school, but made a return to football as a junior as a wide receiver. As a senior, he led the Chiefs in receiving with 47 receptions for 805 yards and seven touchdowns.
tdunhamusatodayKickapoo senior shortstop Robbie Merced jogs back to first base during a game against Ozark Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at U.S. Baseball Park in Ozark.
Southwest Missouri will be well represented in the 2017 class of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Two high school coaches and one broadcaster with strong ties to the area will be inducted into the hall of fame, and longtime College of the Ozarks women’s basketball coach George Wilson will receive the organization’s top honor.
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association will induct 2017 Hall of Fame class at a ceremony on Saturday, April 22, at 12 p.m. at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield. Tickets for the event may be purchased from the MBCA for $20 at the door. The Hall of Fame will open at 11 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon with the ceremony to follow.
C of O’s Wilson to receive lifetime achievement award
The highest honor given by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, the Gary Filbert Lifetime Achievement Award, will be presented to former College of the Ozarks coach George Wilson.
Wilson was the women’s basketball coach for 16 years at College of the Ozarks, where his teams recorded 447 wins and 89 losses. In 2013, he reached the 1,000 win mark with his high school and collegiate records combined. Wilson was the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year 10 times.
Wilson has won 13 MCAC women’s basketball regular-season titles and 15 women’s basketball conference tournaments titles. Prior to coaching at College of the Ozarks, Wilson coached high school boys’ basketball for 31 years. The College of Ozarks women’s basketball team has been the NAIA National Championship runner-up four times.
Hall of Fame inductees Shaw, Parrack and McClure
Ryan Shaw—Shaw was an all-state player for Clopton High School. He team lost the 1989 Class 1A state championship game to Scott County Central. He went on to play for Central College in Iowa, but a career-ending knee injury forced his move from player to coach.
Shaw coached at Bowling Green, Wright City and Warrenton until he moved to Springfield. Shaw spent time as an assistant at Parkview and the head boys basketball coach at Hillcrest. Shaw went on to have coaching stints at Potosi and Fulton.
Shaw died unexpectedly Aug. 21, 2015 of an aneurism. He was 43. Shaw was involved in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association throughout his career and eventually served as its president. His wife, Lori, daughter, Kenzie, and son Jordan are honored by this tribute.
Craig Parrack—Parrack has coached boys and girls basketball at Wheatland, Climax Springs and Macks Creek. He spent 20 years at Climax Springs, where his teams made back-to-back state final appearances in 2000 and 2001, and Parrack won Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 1 Coach of the Year in 2001. He left coaching for three years to become the principal at Macks Creek, his alma mater.
Three seasons away from basketball proved three seasons too many for Parrack. He resigned as principal and was rehired to teach and coach girls basketball at Macks Creek in 2011. He continues to serve in that capacity.
Mike McClure (media)—A radio and television play-by-play announcer in southwest Missouri since 1985, Mike McClure has broadcast more than 3,300 sporting events. He is the president of McClure Broadcasting, LLC. He has broadcast 16 MSHSAA Championship events.
In addition to being the radio voice of the Missouri Southern State University Lions football and basketball games, McClure also works games for Mediacom in Springfield, the NAIA Men’s Division II National Basketball Tournament, Sirius Satellite Radio, Fox Sports Midwest.com and for the Missouri Valley Conference calling sporting events on ESPN3.
Additional MBCA 2017 Hall of Fame inductees:
Craig Engelbrecht, Eugene High School boys
Preston Thomas, Cardinal Ritter, Harlem Globetrotters, St. Louis Community College, New Orleans Pelicans
Dan Rolfes, Incarnate Word Academy
Mike Elliott, Macon, Kirksville, Clinton, Maysville, Lakeland, Odessa
Donnie Middleton (media), KNEM, Memphis
tdunhamusatodayCollege of the Ozarks women’s basketball coach George Wilson was a longtime high school coach in the area before taking the C of O job.Former Hillcrest Coach Ryan Shaw, right, died unexpectedly Aug. 21, 2015 at the age of 43. Shaw coached boys basketball at Hillcrest from 2003 to 2006.
The man who coached the Bolivar Liberators for 35 years has died.
tdunhamusatodayBolivar football coach Doug Potts gives instructions during a drill in a photograph from the 2000 season.Bolivar football coach Doug Potts coached the Liberators from 1966 to 2000.