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My Top 10 Games Covered of 2011Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011, at 6:31 PM
No. 1 -- Bernie vs. Wellington-Napoleon
1. Bernie vs. Wellington-Napoleon Class 2 basketball semifinal (March 17) -- The Mules life flashed before their eyes. With the game tied at 54 against Wellington-Napoleon in the MSHSAA Class 2 semifinals at Hearnes Center in Columbia, the Tigers' Blake Seitz stole the ball away from the Mules with around three seconds left to play but missed a layup at the buzzer which forced overtime. After the game was undecided after one overtime, the Mules never trailed in the second overtime for a 73-66 win. The Mules lost two nights later in the state title game against Crane.
2. East Carter vs. Dixon Class 2 softball quarterfinal (Oct. 15) -- The Lady Redbirds were in a bad way down six runs against the host Dixon Lady Bulldogs. In the bottom of the fifth inning, junior Faith Eaves knocked a three-run homer to cut the deficit to a single run. In the bottom of the sixth, Kim Shaffer gave her team an 11-9 edge with a two-run double. Junior pitcher Kelen Smith allowed a solo homer in the top of the seventh but forced a ground ball for the final out. The following weekend, East Carter finished fourth at the state Final Four.
3. Naylor vs. Oran Class 1 quarterfinal baseball (May 27) -- The much-improved Naylor Eagles went down in the top of the seventh inning on an Alex Heuring grand slam and Oran hung in the bottom of the inning with a Naylor runner stranded at third to advance to the Class 2 Final Four, 14-13. Naylor trailed 6-0 early in the first inning and then rallied to a 9-6 lead in the third inning. Oran then tied it at 9-9 before Naylor went up again, 13-9.
4. Twin Rivers vs. Greenville OFC baseball championship (Oct. 6) -- After a delayed start due to the third place game going long, a pitcher's duel ensued in the championship between Twin Rivers' Ryan Nippe and Greenville's Scott Foster. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals avoided the threat of a delayed game as sophomore Cade Lowe knocked in senior Chris Morse from second base for the 1-0 victory before darkness covered Roger Pattillo Field at Three Rivers College.
5. Twin Rivers vs. Doniphan OFC boys basketball championship (Feb. 11) -- A few months before scoring the winning run in the OFC baseball championship, Chris Morse made a hard charge to the hoop with the game tied at 53. He hit the layup and drew an intentional foul. Morse, who was playing due to injuries to players in front of him on the depth chart, knocked in both free throws as well as two other free throws shortly after which helped lift Twin Rivers to 63-56 victory over the Dons. Doniphan trailed most of the game until Taylor Holland hit a 3-pointer to make it 53-51 Dons prior to the Twin Rivers run.
6. Malden vs. Twin Rivers Class 2 district championship baseball (May 18) -- Malden sophomore Tanner Murphy pitched well and hit just as good as the Green Wave won 4-2 for their first district title since 1980 in a game played at Senath-Hornersville High School. Murphy fanned nine in a complete game effort on the mound and also hit a solo homer. Murphy had to hold off Twin Rivers' late rally as it scored both of its runs in the top of the seventh. Malden lost in the sectional round the next week against Charleston.
7. Bloomfield vs. Twin Rivers Class 2 volleyball district championship (Oct. 25) -- Winning a second straight district title was no easy task for the Lady Wildcats on this fall night in Malden but they held on 25-18, 26-28, 25-8. Bloomfield looked poised to cruise to the title after leading all of the first game with the exception of the first point. Twin Rivers came out and dominated the second game until Bloomfield re-tied it at 21. The Lady Royals finally got the two-point win on a Bloomfield net ball and an ace served by Kendall Zoll. The Lady Wildcats bounced back in the third game to advance. Bloomfield lost to St. Pius X-Festus in the quarterfinals four days later in Scott City.
8. Bloomfield Christmas Tournament semifinals (Dec. 28) -- Two games decided by four total points, one of which went to overtime was a treat to watch for the capacity crowd in Bloomfield. First, Kennett and Dexter went down to the wire with the top-seed Indians advancing after Dexter nearly took the lead on a drive through the lane by Cody Neldon with about eight seconds to play. The Indians prevailed 49-48. In the second semifinal that night, Doniphan and Portageville went back-and-forth all night. With about eight seconds left in regulation, Dons junior Brian Patterson stole the inbounds pass by Portageville and put it in to tie the game up at 53. The Bulldogs led nearly all of overtime despite Doniphan hitting the first field goal and advanced to the tournament championship, 65-62.
9. Kennett vs. Malden football (Sept. 30) -- This regular season match up dubbed the 'Delta Bowl' gave the scoreboard operator fits. In the end, the Green Wave hung by a score of 75-59. According to the MSHSAA record book, the combined point total of 134 points was the third most in state history. The 1,205 (which included 903 yards on the ground) combined yards of offense was also third in state history. For the Green Wave, Romello McCoy had four rushing touchdowns while junior quarterback Tanner Murphy ran for three touchdowns and threw for three. For Kennett, Adam Grantham ran for three touchdowns and threw for one. Darius Warren ran for four scores.
10. Dexter vs. Park Hills Central Class 3 football playoffs (Nov. 2) -- Although the Bearcats came out on the wrong side of this game, it still was a memorable night in Dexter. The Bearcats got the ball at the beginning of overtime and scored on an Alex Cliff run and had its home crowd rocking. Cliff then added the extra point for the seven-point edge. The Rebels responded with a Derek Mitchell five-yard touchdown run but then took a high risk by going for two as quarterback Hunter Courtois bootlegged to right and lifted the Rebels to a 29-28 win.
Happy New Years! Hopefully 2012 has just as many great games for us to watch.
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Rob Tate has been with the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff, Mo. since August 2008 and is currently the assistant sports editor. Rob was born and raised in Clawson, Mich., just 14 miles north of Detroit and is an avid Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Red Wings and University of Michigan fan. He has also adopted the Rams and Mizzou to his favorites since moving to Missouri. He is a 2008 graduate of Oakland (Mich.) University where he received his bachelor of arts in journalism. Rob and his wife Sara live in Poplar Bluff.
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