Basketball: Higbee boys prevail late over Welllsville-Middletown, girls second

ERIC VICCARO, [email protected]

KEYTESVILLE — Higbee beat Wellsville-Middletown 16-11 in the fourth quarter and earned the Keytesville Tournament championship plaque.

Derek Rockett, Chad Crawford and Chevy Grimsley all made enough free throws last term to lead Higbee to the title.

“We were four quarters in a dogfight,” noted Higbee head coach Tanner Burton. “I’m proud of how hard these guys played throughout the game. It’s hard to find the right words for who they are and how they play, but gritty is perhaps the best quality.”

Higbee, ranked 5th in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 1 poll, improved to 18-2 for the season. The Tigers also clinched their second tournament title after also winning the Northwestern crown on December 3.

Rockett beat all the scorers with 27 points left with six rebounds, three assists and five pass deflections on defense.

Grimsley and Crawford played with that tremendous bite in the fourth quarter, drawing Burton’s praise.

“I thought Chad and Chevy both went up in a big game and played with superior composure,” commented the coach. “Both hit important free throws. Chevy also hit a big 3-pointer early in the game.”

Crawford did a lot of dirty work with 13 rebounds (including five rebounds on the offensive glass). He also had five pass deflections and three assists to match Rockett’s effort in those categories.

Jaxon Hudson added nine points, six rebounds and two assists. Will Spilman contributed nine points on three 3-pointers to round out the Higbee superlatives.

Higbee went into the fourth quarter down 42-41, and Wellsville-Middletown’s Logan Pursifull opened the period with a few baskets from post moves.

As great players often do, Rockett upped his game and nailed a 3-pointer off the wing at 2:50 in the fourth quarter. That gave Higbee a 50-48 advantage, and the Tigers were ahead to stay.


The third quarter proved crucial as Wellsville-Middletown beat Higbee 23-7 to pull away in a 56-37 win.

The Higbee girls (14-6) have achieved tournament championships in three events this year, including the Northwestern Tournament in Mendon and the Pilot Grove Tiger Classic – finishing second in all three.

“We played three really good quarters and one really bad quarter,” Burton noted. “The bad quarter clearly outweighs the three good quarters. We missed about 14 layups and 18 free throws. Any time you leave 46 points on the table, you will fight.”

Ronnie Welch, Isabelle Welch and Alie Mitchell all got eight points for Higbee. Isabelle Welch also grabbed the team’s best 12 rebounds. Ronnie Welch recorded team-best assists (five), steals (eight), and deflections (seven).

Mitchell hit a layup with 45.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter, tying the score at 20-all.

Bethany Slovensky responded with a free throw, WM was a point ahead at half-time.

WM then scored the first 17 points of the third quarter when Higbee had 11 turnovers and finished the game 25 points ahead of Tiger Gaffes.

In this week

Higbee played in Braunschweig on Tuesday night, with the Carroll-Livingston Activities Association championship at stake for the boys.

Burton reported that the Higbee girls could take second place.

This Friday, both Tiger teams will face Van-Far in the Ramey Basketball Mid-Missouri Invitational. The girls’ game is scheduled for 5 p.m., with the Harrisburg High School boys at 8 a.m.




At the Keytesville Tournament

Saturday January 28th

boys championship

Higbee 57, Wellsville-Middletown 53

Earnings by Quarters

WM 11 14 17 11 – 53

hig bee 11 12 18 16 – 57

Records: Higbee, 18-2; Wellsville-Middletown, 8-8

Individual scorers

WM (53)

Dylan Alsop, 3; Jacob Mandrell, 4; CJ Quark, 5; Cooper Henderson, 6; Carson Huff, 23; Logan Pursifull, 12

Higbee (57)

Chevy Grimsley, 4; Derek Rockett, 27; Chad Crawford, 8; Jaxon Hudson, 9; Will Spilman, 9

Girls Championship

Wellsville-Middletown 56, Higbee 37

Earnings by Quarters

WM 8 13 22 12 – 56

hig bee 8 12 7 10 – 37

Records: Higbee, 14-6; Wellsville-Middletown, 10-6

Individual scorers

WM (56)

Hallie Guzy, 17; Bethany Slovensky, 10; Natalie Boeckelmann, 8; Indica Scott, 5; Helanea McKenzie, 5; Jenelle Boeckelmann, 7; Keigan Hall, 3; Meagan Cripe, 3

Higbee (37)

Raegan Derboven, 1; Ronnie Welch, 8; Emma Johnson, 2; Marilynn Knight, 4; Isabelle Welch, 8; Alie Mitchell, 8; Lauren Spilman, 6

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