The 2009-2010 basketball season came to an end March 2 for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies fell to the Mineral Area College Cardinals of Park Hills, 69-58 in the quarterfinals of the Region 16 Post-Season Championship Tournament at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The Grizzlies, seeded fourth in the tournament, finish the season with a 20-10 record.
"It was a tough end to the season," Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. "I felt before the game that Mineral Area was playing as well as anyone in the region. We just didn't have it in the first half, and we all tried to do too much to get our team back in the game. The Grizzlies struggled in nearly all aspects of the game in the first half. They only hit seven of 31 shots from the field for 22.6 percent and two of 18 shots from 3-point range for 11 percent.
They also were out-rebounded 27-11 in the period. One of the few bright spots was the Grizzlies' effectiveness from the free throw line, where they hit four of five attempts for 80 percent.
At halftime, the Grizzlies were down 36-20.
The Grizzlies did turn their fortunes around somewhat in the second half. They connected on 12 of 25 shots from the field for 48 percent, seven of 15 shots from 3-point range for 46.7 percent and seven of 14 shots from the free throw line for 50 percent.
As a result, they outscored the Cardinals 38-33 in the period, but the damage had already been done.
"We did everything better in the second half and got the lead cut to three, but they made a tough shot when they needed to and that was as close as we got," Walker said. "Twann (Oakley), Kyle (Armour) and Gage (Wooten) really responded in the second half and helped get us back in it."
Oakley and Wooten co-led the team on the scoreboard with 15 points each for the game.
Tommy Williams and Chris Mason each added nine and Armour had eight. Quinton Pippen scored two points. Wooten also led the team in rebounds with eight.
The Cardinals were led in scoring by Carlton Guyton with 25 points. Kaleb Wright added 11.
Despite the disappointing end, Walker said he is proud of his team and their accomplishments this year.
"At one point in the year, they were No. 1 in the nation defensively, and that is how we'll build for the future," the coach pointed out. "They could have checked it in many times, especially after we got down to seven players, but they didn't and that is a credit to their character."
The game also proved to be the last by Williams as a Grizzly.
"I'd also like to thank Tommy Williams for his contributions to our program. We wish him the best for his future," Walker said.
For more information about the Grizzly basketball program, including complete box scores from the games, visit the team's Web site at www.wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb.htm.