It was a busy basketball week, with area boys basketball teams competing in the 42nd annual Liberty Eagles Invitational Tournament at Mountain View-Birch Tree High School.
The eight-team bracket pitted (1) Alton vs. (8) Summersville in Monday's first round game, with the Alton Comets moving on in the "A" bracket.
Thayer (4) Bobcats matched up with the Licking Wildcats (5) in Monday evening's second game. With the Thayer win, the Bobcats advanced in the "A" bracket to face off with Oregon county rival, the Alton Comet's in semi-final action.
Tuesday evening's first varsity game saw the (2) Eminence Redwings advance in the "A" bracket over the (7) Houston Tigers. (3) Liberty Eagles advanced in the "A" bracket, over the (6) Doniphan Don's
The Eagles Nest at Liberty High School was rockin' on Thursday night with the top four seated teams matching up in semi-final games. The Alton Comets and Thayer Bobcats went head to head and down to the wire to determine which team would compete in the championship round. Only two points separated the Comets and the Bobcats with the Thayer boys coming out on top 64-62 to move the Bobcats into the Championship game.
Just six points separated the Eagles and Eminence, with Liberty winning, 63-51, to put them up against the Thayer Bobcats for the 2013 tournament crown.
The Licking Wildcats defeated Summersville in the "B" bracket on Friday evening, with the Doniphan Don's topping the Houston Tigers to set the two team match up for the Saturday's early afternoon consolation championship.
With the two point Bobcat victory over Alton, the potent offense of the Comets had to face the high flying and high scoring Eminence Redwings for the third place game.
Eminence took a 21-14 first quarter lead but, with Alton coach Blake Reese's ten man rotation, the Comets were able to get fresh legs in on defense and point production to climb to within three points of the Redwings, 35-32, at the half.
Alton got big point production from the two Honeycutt's, Cronister and Carswell, to take an eight point third quarter lead 55-47. The Redwings were not done, though, pumping in fifteen fourth quarter points, with Alton netting eleven points in the final frame to give the Comets a four point 66-62 win, and the third place Liberty tournament trophy.
The final Saturday evening match-up for the number one and number two spots in the record books turned out to be a rematch and close to a replay of the early quarters of the Thayer -- Liberty championship game at the Cabool tournament, just a couple of weeks ago.
Playing in front of their hometown crowd and in their own gym, the Eagles Hunter Barnes lit up the scoreboard three consecutive times from the outside. Not to be outdone, Liberty's Dakota Sharp tickled the nets from deep and one long bomb came from Denton to rack up eighteen points. Not only did the Eagles shoot the ball well, they played defense, holding the Bobcats to eight first quarter points.
With adjustments here and there, the Bobcats got on track, and played some defense to cut the Liberty lead to 32-20 at halftime.
Thayer's Jacob Alford (12points) picked up the Bobcat offense from the outside to get into double figures, along with Jacob Foley's twelve points and monster rebounds from Levi Hargrove. with Richard Newman for the Cats. But the Bobcats were unable to mount a counter offensive against the Eagles hot hand on the offensive boards. After being seated forth in the tournament, Thayer was able to take home the second place trophy, falling 68-42 to the home standing team, Liberty Eagles, who became the 42nd annual tournament champions.