Monday, February 25, 2008

The final hurdle before our all-sport standings are ready

I gave a quick mention of it in one of Mark Unterreiner's blog replies, but I'm looking for your opinion on how to fine-tune our new all-sports standings, which we'll post for the first time as soon as the winter sports season wraps up.

The purpose is, much like in the OVC, to reward schools with a set number of points based on finishes in state team sports. That means a team that wins a state title gets 10 points, a team that finishes second gets 9 points, and so on. A school's point total is then divided by the number of sports teams it has. Make sense?

We'll probably break it into small-school and large-school divisions to try and keep schools matched up with similar-sized programs.

Now, the question: The MSHSAA sanctions a variety of competitions, from speech and debate to music and cheerleading. Do those count as part of our all-sport standings?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow and ice set up a busy day Saturday

The official word came around noon that district games tonight at Farmington and Perryville are off. That sets up Class 4 district semifinals for girls teams are at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Friday night at both sites.

Championships are now set for Saturday at Farmington (boys at 1 p.m., girls at 2:30) and at Perryville (girls at 2, boys at 6), along with Class 5 district finals Friday night at Jackson (boys at 6, girls at 7:30).

That's a schedule based on the assumption that the snow and ice will begin to taper off early Friday as predicted. If roads are still slick late Friday, all bets are off.

As it stands, the lineup for Saturday includes championships at Farmington and Perryville, along with district openers for Southeast Missouri teams in Classes 1 to 3 at Chaffee, Greenville, Holcomb, Mansfield, Portageville, Van Buren and Zalma.

The new opponent in local district tournaments: Snow and ice

So much for a smooth week of district basketball tournaments.

The ice and snow that moved in earlier this morning has juggled today's schedule of games and threatens to affect more games. The longer the icy weather lingers, the messier the schedule could get.

The status of Class 4 District 1 games at Perryville should be known around noon, according to a spokesperson at the Perry Park Center. Tentatively, girls semifinals are tonight at 6 and 7:30.

At Jackson, semifinals were completed Wednesday, so it was an easy call to move tonight's boys championship to Friday and set up a boys and girls doubleheader at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

At Farmington, a spokesman at the Farmington Civic Center said at 11:15 a.m. that there's been no change to the schedule of the Class 4 District 2 tournament today, so that means girls semifinals are (so far) still on for tonight with finals Friday.

The forecast doesn't look encouraging, though: It calls for ice and snow across the area through early Friday.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finally, the countdown to what everybody's talked about

I like the odds of Notre Dame and Sikeston facing off for a Class 4 district championship Friday, but Monday's first-round games should start the week on a competitive high note.

Perry Park Center hosts two boys basketball games Monday, the first day of district tournaments for Class 4 and 5 teams. A Sikeston-Notre Dame rematch for the district championship has been written on schedules almost since Notre Dame won last year's title in a two-point finish, and a loss by either team before Friday's championship game would qualify as possibly the biggest surprise of the basketball season.

But first, two games are Monday: Ste. Genevieve vs. Dexter at 6 p.m., and Fredericktown vs. Perryville at 7.

Down the road, Jackson hosts the Class 5 District 1 tournament that starts Monday. Opening-day games: Cape Girardeau Central plays Fox at 5:30, and Hillsboro plays Seckman at 7.

More games are lined up each day through the week, including first-round girls games Tuesday.

Rather than duplicate every bracket involving more than 80 teams across our area, check out this link for several brackets already posted at Rivals' site.

Check back for scores all week, which are posted as soon as possible after the games. If you're at the game, you can send scores from your cell phone via text message to (573) 979-5929, or e-mail them to

• Also coming this week are dozens of images from the three-day state high school wrestling finals in Columbia, which ended Saturday. We'll be adding photos by photographer Kirby Laws of several competitors from across the region, including our area's two state champs: Jake Vonderbruegge of Hillsboro and Craig Wilson of Farmington.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Should women be allowed to officiate boys games?

A story on today's cover of the Kansas City Star raises a question that probably hasn't come up in years.

Should women be permitted to officiate boys events?

It seems like a silly question in an age when girls compete in boys sports, women coach boys events, and men coach girls events. In the classroom, men and women stand at the head of classes often made up evenly of male and female students.

But according to the Star, a female basketball official was removed from a basketball game just minutes before tip-off a few days ago. The reason: It was a boys game, and she's a woman.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association is still looking into the reasons behind the host school's decision to pull her from the game. The school is St. Mary's Academy, a private religion-based school northwest of Topeka. And according to the school official that essentially fired the referee before the game started, the school doesn't believe women should hold positions of authority over boys.

The Star said school officials wouldn't comment to the newspaper. One question that begs to be asked: Is it OK, under the school's policy, for women to instruct male students in the classroom? According to the Star, it must be, because some St. Mary's classes that feature boys are taught by women.

The referee, Michelle Campbell, has plenty of support. The game's other referee — a man — walked off the court with her, and a backup referee — also male — declined to work the game because of the school's action.

It's startling to see a school cling to a belief system that prevents women from holding positions of authority over men, but it's good to see that not everybody buys into their lack of logic.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dozens from Southeast Missouri head to state wrestling finals

More than four dozen wrestlers will go to Columbia this week to compete for state championships after they advanced from district meets Saturday.

Events at the Mizzou Arena start Thursday with two sessions consisting of 336 matches in each session. Class 1 and 2 wrestlebacks starts at 10 a.m., and the opening round for Classes 3 and 4 starts at 5.

Events continue all day Friday and Saturday. Catch finals Saturday on the MSHSAA's live video feed at

Farmington and Ste. Genevieve each will send 10 wrestlers to the final meet of the season, followed by Jackson with seven. In all, 13 area schools are represented in the three-day finale.

Here are the Southeast Missouri wrestlers who earned shots at next weekend championships, listed by school:

Cape Girardeau Central: Zach Wilson (160), Trey Grovener (285).

DeSoto: Gerald Fields (103), Josh Newbury (140), Neal Finch (171), Jeremy Elless (189), Dakota Smith (215), Chris Casey (285).

Dexter: Brittney Waldner (103), Mikey Henley (119).

Farmington: Todd Brackett (103), Bradley Wisdom (125), Josh Kelleher (130), Branden McDowell (135), Nicholas Hoehn (140), Craig Wilson (145), Kyle Sullivan (152), Derek Smallen (160), Jon Gurule (171), Kendall May (215).

Herculaneum: Josh Lott (171), Dan Bunch (189).

Hillsboro: Craig Chiles (119), Jake Vonderbruegge (152), Josh Sheppard (189), Matt Atley (285).

Jackson: Levi Rayburn (103), Doug Froemsdorf (125), Jamie Schumacher (145), Justin Miller (152), Michael Riney (171), Justin Darnell (189), Blake Peiffer (215).

New Madrid County Central: Patrick Goforth (160).

North County: Brock Harrison (112), Seth Revelle (119), Cody Compton (152), Tayler Decker (160).

Park Hills Central: Mike King (119), Tyler Friend (215).

Poplar Bluff: Zach Surque (112), Brandon Bounds (125), Paul Swesey (189), Kelton Thompson (215), Dylan Janes (285).

Ste. Genevieve: Jesse Martinelli (103), Jordan Ritter (112), Kevin Leclere (119), Matt Kraenzle (125), Gary Schenz (130), Aaron Wehner (140), Chris Petty (152), John Vogt (160), Tyler Thomure (171), Jake Gegg (189).

Sikeston: Jacob Murphy (112), Gavilan Bland (171).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

As the weather goes, so goes basketball

Less than a week ago it was snow. Today, it's severe thunderstorms. And both times, high school basketball games in surrounding states have been called off.

In particular, schools across western Tennessee are serious about the National Weather Service's advisory that strong storms might produce tornadoes in Missouri and several surrounding states. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal and Jackson (Tenn.) Sun both have lists of tonight's games that were called off early in the day because of potential storms (and that's in addition to schools and even the University of Memphis that released early because of the threat).

So far, there's no word of Southeast Missouri games being called off tonight, but it raises a question: Should schools call off indoor events when there's a threat of severe thunderstorms?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bell City is on a roll through its '08 schedule

Contender or pretender?

On a cold, starry night in Annapolis, the one thing South Iron proved was that Bell City was 12 points better.

Once Bell City went ahead early in the second quarter, South Iron looked like a team playing from behind, not a good sign for a team that had won 18 straight games heading into its biggest test of the season.

But Saturday's game could be one that puts both teams on track for a late-season push into the playoffs. South Iron won't see many teams this season with the intensity and the confidence that Bell City showed Saturday, and Bell City needed a win like this one to beef up its nine-game winning streak (which follows a 1-2 showing in its Christmas tournament).

And with South Iron's first loss in the books, and a decisive loss by No. 1 Jackson at Charleston last week, we're back to square one looking for Southeast Missouri's best boys basketball team.

Jackson's claim is a lopsided win Jan. 22 against Sikeston. But that doesn't help the memory of losses to Salem, Holt and Jefferson City (plus two to Charleston) go away.

South Iron, No. 2 last week, owns cornerstone wins over St. Clair and Farmington on the way to winning its Christmas tournament at Farmington. A loss to Bell City already has doubters standing in line to say its schedule lacks a punch and puts it a notch below teams with more losses, including SEMO Conference leaders Charleston, Notre Dame and Sikeston.

Sikeston, No. 3 last week, lost to Jackson by 25 points just two weeks ago. Wins over Kelly, Portageville and Poplar Bluff in the days since have put the Bulldogs back on a winning streak.

Notre Dame, No. 4 last week, hasn't lost since a two-point defeat to Jackson on Jan. 11. Among its January wins was a 25-point defeat of Charleston, plus a squeaker over Cape Girardeau Central.

Scott County Central, No. 5 last week, has had a more consistent January than any team in the region, but its only test since its Christmas tournament was a nine-point game against Scott City. A game Friday against NMCC was postponed.

The rest? No. 6 Charleston is unpredictable, while No. 7 Thayer is on a roll and turned a potential showdown with Salem into a blowout Friday. Doniphan and Bell City are next, and neither has lost in January. Hayti rounds out last week's top 10.

We'll have our new poll posted by midday Monday. And so far, No. 1 is anybody's guess.