One was by more than 10 and then other was too close to call. But in the end, the Sturgeon boys and girls basketball teams claimed its fourth straight tournament title in the 84th annual New Franklin Tournament.
With a full slate of games on Saturday, the Sturgeon girls beat the No. 2 New Franklin Lady Bulldogs for the fourth time in as many years in the championship game by a score of 47-31. As for the Sturgeon boys, they had a little tougher time against No. 2 Tipton while breaking a 30-30 tie after three by outscoring the Cardinals 17-13 in the final period for a 47-43 triumph.
In the third-place games, the Tipton girls edged Sweet Springs 35-33 while the Pilot Grove boys avenged an earlier loss against Sweet Springs for a 59-54 victory. Meanwhile, in the fifth place games, the Fayette girls turned back Jamestown 56-33 while the New Franklin boys beat Fayette for the second time in three games this season for a 51-35 victory.
While the loss dropped New Franklin to 9-2 on the season, head coach Chris McGowan said he felt like his team had trouble adjusting to the style of this game.
"We aren't used to the physicality that a team like Sturgeon plays with, and they did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do offensively," McGowan said. "I felt fortunate that we kept it close early in the game because we had some foul trouble to deal with. I thought we had some pretty good looks at the basket to start the second half and missed some shots we have to make in order to beat a team of Sturgeon's caliber. Sturgeon forced 24 turnovers which is entirely too many for us to be successful offensively. Sturgeon also did a nice job of rebounding by only allowing us three offensive rebounds. We are really going to have to work this week in order to prepare to see them again on Friday in a conference game."
Of course it didn't help that New Franklin finished the game shooting 34 percent from the field or 56 percent from the foul line.
But even then the Lady Bulldogs hung right there with the No. 1 team in the tournament while playing to a 8-8 tie after one and a 20-16 ballgame at the half.
Considering that New Franklin started the second quarter by missing its first-four shots and turning the ball over four times, McGowan probably felt fortunate just to be down by four.
However, in the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs had that one disastrous quarter as Sturgeon began to pull away after holding a 12-5 advantage to go up 32-21.
New Franklin never got any closer than nine points for the rest of the game as Sturgeon held a 15-10 scoring edge in the final period.
Page 2 of 4 - Molly Gregory had 13 points and Maddie Embree 12 for Sturgeon, who improved to 9-1 on the season.
For New Franklin, sophomore Aislinn Himmelberg was the only player in double figures with 10 points along with three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Madi Lyons finished the game with eight points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds while Jasmyne Boggs added four points, eight rebounds and two steals, Aly Hundley with four points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal, Derian Dodson with four points and five rebounds and Jordan Winningham with one point.
In the boys championship game, Sturgeon trailed 22-16 at the half but rallied back with a 31-23 advantage in the second half.
Spencer Kelly had 16 points in the game for Sturgeon while Wade Wood added 19 for Tipton. Travis Edwards also tossed in 13 points for the Cardinals.
In the girls third place game, Tipton rallied from a one-point deficit (24-23) at the end of the third quarter by outscoring Sweet Springs 12-9 in the final period.
Loryn Hirst had the game-high for Tipton with 15 points. For Sweet Springs, Nicole Bright and Ashleigh Bright tallied 11 points each.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they picked up two feats against the Sweet Springs Greyhounds. While losing to the Greyhounds 41-36 in the State Fair Shootout in Sedalia earlier in the season, the Tigers came back on Saturday to avenge that loss and lead from start to finish for the five-point victory.
Pilot Grove coach Rick Grunden said his team was hungry or redemption.
"To start with, we felt we let one slip away when we played on Thursday night and we were still a little stung after that," Grunden said. "Second, we were taking on Sweet Springs Saturday for third place. Last month they handed us our first loss of the season and that game too we felt could have been different. This game had both its highs and its lows. Overall defensively, we are a much better team than what we showed. However, offensively tonight we looked to score more and did a better job of balancing the floor. We hit some big shots when needed and it was the little things that made the difference for us."
Of course leading 21-13 after one and 28-23 at the half didn't hurt Pilot Grove's chances. However, in the third quarter, the Greyhounds mounted a comeback by outscoring the Tigers 17-15 to cut the lead to three at 43-40.
With three quarters in the books, Sweet Springs also made a run in the final period by cutting the lead to one on two different occasions at 48-47 with 4:58 left and 50-49 with 4:04 remaining. However a 5-0 run by the Tigers at the 2:58 mark all but sealed the victory as Pilot Grove extended its lead to six at 55-49.
Page 3 of 4 - Pilot Grove also held a 16-14 advantage in the final period.
Mason Schlotzhauer led three players in double figures for Pilot Grove, who improved to 10-2 on the season, with 19 points. Colton Glenn chipped in 15, Kendall Kraus 10, Regan Meisenheimer and Jake Leverton each with five, Adam Newell three and Dylan Twenter two.
For Sweet Springs, Jacob Schowengerdt had 23 points.
In the fifth-place game, Caitlin Wells had 23 points and Kenzie Thornton 12 as the Fayette girls led Jamestown from start to finish.
The Lady Falcons, the No. 8 seed, opened the first half with a 31-16 lead. Jamestown held a 27-25 advantage in the final-two periods.
Mickayla Strother had 13 points to lead all scorers for Jamestown.
Meanwhile, in the boys fifth place game, the New Franklin Bulldogs outscored Fayette in three out of the four quarters of play and led 26-9 at the break and 36-22 after three quarters of play.
The Bulldogs also outscored Fayette 15-13 in the final period.
New Franklin coach Jim Schlotzhauer said his team played a very solid game on the defensive end of the floor.
"Holding a team like Fayette to nine in a half was very encouraging to see," Schlotzhauer said. "We were not as solid in the second half by fouling too much, but as a whole it got the job done. I thought that we really played well as a team and brought home a trophy."
Tyler White had 20 points and Tanner White 15 for the Bulldogs, who improved to 6-5 on the season.
For Fayette, Rudy Williams tossed in 20 points.
In games on Friday, the Fayette girls defeated Westran 44-15 while the New Franklin boys turned back Jamestown 55-39. In other games, the Jamestown girls beat Pilot Grove 53-26 while the Fayette boys edged Westran by one 46-45.
Kenzie Smertkowski had 14 points and Hayleigh Strodtman nine for the Fayette girls, who led 19-11 at the half and 30-11 after three quarters of play.
For Westran, Haylie Hombs had four points.
For the New Franklin boys, they actually trailed Jamestown 11-8 after first period's end before rallying with a 47-28 advantage for the rest of the game.
Schlotzhauer said his team played a good first half by moving the ball and shutting Jamestown down with their defense in the second quarter.
"The second half, Jamestown played us very evenly when they switched to a zone," Schlotzhauer said. "They were very long and hard to find a good place to attack. We also gave up too many easy baskets to let them stay in the game."
Tyler White had 23 points and Tanner White 12 for the Bulldogs.
Jamestown was led by Trevor Barbour with 10.
Page 4 of 4 - As for the Pilot Grove girls, they struggled offensively while trailing Jamestown 15-5 after one, 31-6 at the half and 44-16 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, the Lady Tigers held a 10-9 scoring edge.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said the girls pretty much just got thumped tonight.
"The two week long break without a game over Christmas Break ended coming back to haunt us," Daniel said. "We came out flat and not ready to play and Jamestown did the complete opposite, by coming out on fire and wanting to win this game more than we did. We have got to learn how to more physical both mentally and with the ball. We have a lot of growing up to do and need to get a little bit more fire in our belly if we want to compete with other teams."
Alli Muri paced all scorers in the game for Jamestown with 20 points while Mackenzie Strother chipped in 12 and Lexi Muri 11.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 3-8 on the season, Kerigan Wessing had 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
McKalie Lorenz finished the game with four points and four rebounds while Melissa Schlotzhauer added two points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot, Cynthia Brumback with two points and three rebounds, Rachel Lorenz with two points and one rebound, Rileigh Grunden with two points and one rebound, Katelyn Renfro with nine rebounds and three steals, McKenzi Schuster with three steals and one rebound and Allison Weekly with one assists.
In the only other game, the Fayette boys held off a fourth-quarter rally by Westran for the one-point victory.
The Falcons led 24-15 at the half and 36-34 after three quarters of play. However, in the final period, Westran held a 11-10 advantage.
Rudy Williams had 27 points and Zach Cook 11 for Fayette.
For Westran, Jacob Denslow had 13 and Keller Schemeshorn 12.