Monday, November 26, 2007

Riverbend Classic, state championships and the week ahead

Scott County Central and Bell City looked in midseason form, but Charleston's form was a little less definite during the weekend's Riverbend Classic.

You had to wonder what former Charleston coaches Bobby Spencer and Lennies McFerren were thinking from their seats in the New Madrid County Central bleachers as they watched the Bluejays commit almost two dozen turnovers against Memphis Central.

Charleston coach Danny Farmer was probably right when he told the Standard-Democrat that Memphis Central might be the toughest team in the event — maybe one of the toughest teams on the Bluejays' schedule. But to see a Bluejays squad slip and slide through an early-season game was rare, regardless of the opponent.

• Look for a pair of photo galleries by Joe Bowling and Al Jones from two of Friday's games on our home page. They're the first two galleries from what we expect to be a busy basketball season, so check back regularly for new galleries.

• Eminence has turned into the first surprise team of the season with a pair of wins at Van Buren's Current River Shootout. Wins over Clarkton on Friday and Doniphan on Saturday vaulted coach Pete McCluer's Redbirds up the newest SemoSportsWeb Top 25 poll.

• Waynesville defeated Belton for the Class 5 state football championship Saturday in St. Louis, probably not much comfort to Jackson fans who watched their team drop a 25-14 game at Waynesville in the semifinal round. MICDS, which knocked New Madrid County Central out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals, lost to Harrisonville in the Class 3 championship. Thayer, which eliminated Hayti in Class 1, lost to Orrick in the title game.

Click here for a full recap of the playoffs in each class.

• Although boys basketball events at Arcadia Valley, NMCC and Van Buren kicked off the season last week, a full week of tournaments usher in the season with gusto this week. See the schedules here for several of this week's events. If you have schedules and brackets that we're missing, add them to the forum or send an e-mail to

Monday, November 19, 2007

Our first poll of the season has a familiar team at No. 1

It really does seem like old times with Scott County Central at No. 1 again.

Our first SemoSportsWeb preaseason Top 25 basketball poll was posted on our home page today after several days of conferring with area coaches, fans and athletes, not to mention hours of looking through stats, records and rosters for more than 80 local boys basketball teams.

The consensus? Well, there really wasn't one. Notre Dame was mentioned as the No. 1 team among plenty of folks heading into the season. Sames goes for Charleston, Jackson, Sikeston and Festus. All them got a push for the No. 1 spot before the final poll was settled.

That kind of split vote should lead to another anything-goes season much like the one we saw last year, and don't be surprised to see teams like Festus, Poplar Bluff, Hayti and Cape Girardeau Central climb back into the top tier of local basketball after sub-par seasons a year ago.

Just like last year, our Top 25 poll (expanded from a Top 20 poll last season) will be updated every week. And as always, leave us your feedback on our message board, through an e-mail ( or on our MySpace page ( — it just might be enough to sway our rankings next time around.

• Southeast's football season is finished, and only one team from the region remains alive in the high school football playoffs (that team is Thayer, which plays at noon Saturday for the Class 1 title in St. Louis). But if you're up for more college football in person instead of on TV, Southern Illinois (10-1) hosts Eastern Illinois (8-3) in Carbondale in the first round of the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) playoffs at time to be determined Saturday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heeb overcomes a tough introduction to new job in Illinois

How's this for an introduction to college coaching: David Heeb, the former Bell City and Scott County Central boys basketball coach who took over at Robert Morris College in Springfield, Ill. this season, arrived on the job in August to find that he had four players on his team. He added three more, and another player was granted a fifth year of eligibility.

The roster stands at nine players now, including Latoya Gipson, a freshman from Sikeston.

The Eagles are 2-3 so far and make their closest stop to Heeb's former schools Dec. 8 against Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Ill.

• Former SEMO men's basketball player Paul Paradoski is saying good things about his transfer from SEMO to Missouri-St. Louis. He described to the Post-Dispatch this week that he and coach Scott Edgar "butted heads" and "didn't get along," leading Paradoski to transfer after last season.

Paradoski, a Vianney grad, started 53 games as a guard during his first two seasons at SEMO, then saw his playing time dwindle when Edgar arrived before last season.

"It's a whole new world," he said, "school-wise and basketball-wise."

• Goreville (Ill.) High School senior Kenton Parmley signed with Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday. A career .415 hitter with 121 RBIs in 132 games, Parmley considered Central Arkansas, Eastern Illinois and junior college Oskaloosa-Walton. Parmley is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound shortstop.

Another Southern Illinois standout is going to the Big 12: Luke Hileman, an all-conference star in football and baseball, signed to play baseball with Baylor.

• Look for the SemoSportsWeb Top 25 preseason poll for boys basketball Monday with updates to follow each Monday through the season. Want to submit your votes for our Top 25? Send your preseason rankings to me at and they'll be tabulated into our first poll.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Time to start thinking hoops: Help us pick our Top 25

The high school football playoffs are still ahead for a few local teams, but it's already time to start work on SemoSportsWeb's preseason Top 25 boys basketball poll.

And that's where we're looking for your input. We know Scott County Central, Charleston, DeSoto, Jackson, Farmington, Notre Dame and a few others will rank toward the top, but who else? Leave a comment here with your picks for our preseason poll (leave us your Top 25 or just a few, your choice), or send an e-mail to and see the final results when our poll is announced Monday, Nov. 19. Check back every week through the end of the season for the new rankings.

For a refresher on last season, click here to see SemoSportsWeb's final Top 20 poll for the 2006-'07 season.

• On the subject of polls, Perryville fans turned out in big numbers over the past week to push Waylon Sparkman into the lead ahead of Fredericktown's Ryan Sawyer as Southeast Missouri's football MVP. We'll keep the poll open on the SemoSportsWeb home page until the final local team has finished its playoff run, so don't forget to vote on our home page.