Sunday, March 5, 2017
Two teams, two underdogs, two comebacks and two Oran High School Eagle teams heading onto the final four in Columbia. The boys defeated Hartville, 55-52 and the girls won 72-69 over Neelyville.
The day at Three Rivers College started with the boys taking on the number 1 ranked, and defending class 2 state champions, Hartville Eagles. Hartville had reached the quarterfinal by defeated the second-ranked team, Thayer in the sectional round.
Oran, unranked all season, found itself in a hole early after controlling the opening tip against the much larger Hartville center, but then the turnover bug bit. The Eagles worked their way back into the game and were down 11-9 with 2:40 remaining in the opening period when Hartville took a time out after a couple of Max Priggel "threes" from the left corner.
The two teams were tied after the first eight minutes at 13.
The squads traded 6 point runs during the first three minutes of quarter two. Oran used another Priggel trey and a Jacob Shoemaker "and one" to knot the score at 19. The Eagles were outscored 12-6 the rest of the way and to make matters worse, both Layne Johnson and Cole Priggel carried three fouls into the halftime locker room.
The third quarter opened with quick fouls on both Johnson and Cole. Johnson fouled out at the 4:02 mark and after the made free throws Oran was down by 10, 38-28.
But, the Eagles refused to quit. A Todd Priggel three and two free throws by Luke Barnes helped cut the deficit to 1, 38-37 heading into the fourth.
One minute and 16 seconds into the last period, Max Priggel hit two free throws to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 39-38. But the lead wouldn't last.
It was 47-46 at the 2:41 mark after Max hit an "and one". Shoemaker hit 2 free tosses with 2:04 left and it was 49-47 Oran. A nice dish from Shoemaker to Drew Reischman, who was open under the basket made it 51-48 with 1:20 left. Shoemaker hit 2 more with 36.4 on the clock, 53-49. After Wyatt Kinney hit one of two at the line with 20.9 seconds left the Eagles were up 54-49. Hartville hit an NBA-range three with 15.4 left and called a timeout down 2.
After the inbounds, Shoemaker was fouled with 11.1 showing on the clock, he hit the second and Oran led 55-52. A three-point shot came up empty for Hartville, the rebound was tipped away, the clock ran out and the celebration was on!
During the fourth quarter the Eagles hit 12 of 16 free throws, Hartville was 4 of 12 during the same stretch.
Besides Johnson, Cole and Todd Priggel fouled out. Hartville also had three players disqualified during the "interestingly" officiated contest.
Coach Joe Shoemaker said, "The boys were very resilient. We faced adversity with getting down 10 points in the second half and players fouling out. They were able to battle through and get a nice victory."
Max Priggel was the game's top-scorer with 24. He hit 3 treys, was 11-12 from the line, including 5-5 in the fourth. Shoemaker finished with 11 he was7-9 from at the charity stripe, hitting 6 of his last 7.
Todd Priggel finished with 7, including a three. Johnson and Cole Priggel totaled 4. Barnes and Reischman had 2 apiece and Kinney had a single tally.
Oran finished 25 of 32 from the free throw line for 78% and that proved to be the difference as Hartville hit only 15 of 28 for 54%.
The Eagles are now 21-8. They will face Sacred Heart at 3:20 pm on Thursday at the Hearnes Center on the Mizzou campus in a state semi-final match-up. The Gremlins are a private school located in Sedalia, they too were unranked in the last regular season poll that came out on February 16.
Game two was also a heart attack just waiting to happen.
Oran's opponent, the Neelyville Tigers while unranked, had defeated the state's number two ranked team, Thayer, in the district final and the fourth-ranked squad, Gainesville, during the sectional.
The girls were able to take a first quarter lead when a Kaylee Payne three put Oran on top 14-13 with 1:43 left. But the Neelyville Tigers closed out the period on a 7-3 run to take a 20-17 lead into the second.
During that second period, Payne picked up her third foul and the buzzer sounded with the Eagles down by 2, 34-32.
Leah Cauble hit one of her four three-pointers on Oran's first possession to regain the lead 35-34. She would hit two more that frame, Brianna Stause would add one as well Jessie Long scored 7 and the Eagles headed into the final quarter up 55-51 after a 5-0 run.
About a minute into the fourth quarter, Cauble broke a triple team in the backcourt and hit a wide open Stause to make the score 57-53. Cauble found an open Long with 6:10 left and it was 60-53. After a Tiger timeout, Oran had a rash of turnovers and with 4:20 left it was 60-59. Cauble was fouled at the 4:02 mark and made both. With 3:35 remaining, Cauble grabbed a rebound, was fouled and made two more throws, 64-59. She made 1 of 2 at the 3:05 mark.
An Eagle turnover led to a Tiger layup and it was 65-61 with 2 and a half minutes left in the game.
Cauble made 2 more free throws with 2:15 to go. It happened again at the 1:55 mark and the lead was eight, 69-61. Payne fouled out with 1:46 left on a made Neelyville field goal attempt and the score was 69-63. The free throw attempt was missed, the rebound went out of bounds and the ball was awarded to Oran.
With 1:14 left it was 69-65 and it was 69-67 with 58.2 ticks left when the Tigers took another time out.
Cauble was fouled on the inbounds, made the first and missed the second, but a hustling Claire Ramsey got a tie-up on the rebound and it was the Eagles ball on the alternating possession with 57.1 on the game clock.
An Oran turnover led to a Neelyville bucket and it was a one-point game, 70-69 with 28 seconds remaining.
Then with 16.1 left, Katelyn Streeter was fouled. She made the second. Neelyville miss fired but the rebound was tied up and the Tigers got the ball under their goal with 5.9 on the clock, down 2. The Eagles, however, were able to tie up the inbounds pass and get the ball back with 5.2 left and Coach Ethan Evans took a time out.
On the inbounds play the ball was heaved to the Oran front court, but no one had broken deep. Fortunately, Stause was able to chase the ball down just before it went out of bounds and back-tip it to Ramsey, who was fouled with 3.7 left. She made the first but missed the second. A desperation heave was late and off line by Neelyville and Oran girls basketball continued its dream season with a 72-69 win to propel the team to the final four for the first time in the school's history.
Coach Evans said, "I am so proud of the effort that these girls put forth. We battled and battled and were able to come out on top. It was an unbelievable ending to an amazing day for Oran High School and the whole community."
Cauble was the day's top point-producer with 33. She hit 4-4 from beyond the arc, 13-15 from the line. She had 5 rebounds and 6 assists. She also went over 1000 points for the season. Jessie Long finished with 15 points and a team-high 8 boards.
Payne had 8 points before fouling out. She hit 2 of 3 from distance. Stause had the three as a part of her 7 points. She had 6 rebounds herself. Ramsey and Kenzie Graviett scored 4 each. Ramsey knocked down a three. Streeter added her free throw.
The Eagles shot 52% from inside the arc (14-27) and a very good 42% from beyond (8-19). At the line, they were 20-27 for 74%. Oran hit 8 treys on the day compared to only 2 by Neelyville and outscored them at the free-throw line, 20 to 13.
The Eagles will now make their first final four visit on Thursday at 6:40 pm in the Hearnes Center. They will face the Adrian Blackhawks. The Blackhawks come in with a 29-1 record and were the number 8 ranked team in the latest coaches' poll. Adrian is located near the Kansas border, south of Kansas City.