The opening round of the Pilot Grove Tiger Classic was just as unpredictable inside as the weather outside Monday night with four games in a span of six hours.
Although the Pilot Grove boys and girls advanced as expected, the Prairie Home boys may have pulled off the biggest surprise of the night against a 2-1 Bunceton team with a 63-41 victory.
As for the Lady Tigers, they rallied behind the hot shooting of senior Emily Schupp with 32 points in a 78-47 win over Prairie Home. As for the Pilot Grove boys, they also won against Stover 76-49 to improve to 2-2 overall. In the only other game, the Otterville girls throttled Sedalia Sacred Heart 39-21.
Tournament action will continue tonight, with Prairie Home girls playing Stover at 4:30 p.m., followed by Russellville boys versus Bunceton at 6, Sacred Heart girls versus Bunceton at 7:30 and Otterville boys versus Tuscumbia at 9.
Commenting on the win over Stover, Pilot Grove boys coach Derek Skaggs said the players came out with an effective first quarter but took a backseat in the second quarter.
Pilot Grove led Stover 32-18 at the half and 55-31 after three. The Tigers also held a 21-18 advantage in the fourth to win the game by 27.
“We have to be aggressive all week long and find a groove for ourselves,” Skaggs said. “We played many different guys and it was great to see some of them respond when they hit the floor. Our free throw percentage was the worst it has been all year and we have to get back to above 60 percent there. We will now look on to the winner of Otterville and Tuscumbia for tomorrow night.”
Bailey Quint led a balanced scoring attack for Pilot Grove with 19 points. Gavin Shepherd chipped in 13 while Ethan Williams and Cole Meisenheimer added nine points each, Lucas Fahrendorf eight, Dylan Schupp four, Kealin Vinson three, Bo Vinson two and Dade Christy with one.
Charlie Black had the high game for Stover with 21 points.
As for the Pilot Grove girls, they led Prairie Home from start to finish while taking a 41-27 lead into the half. The Lady Tigers, who improved to 4-0 on the season, also outscored Prairie Home 37-20 in the final two periods.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said slow first three minutes but then girls hit their high speed after that. “Grace Phillips, Melanie Wolfe and Emily Schupp worked well together tonight,” Scott said. “I am looking for the players that want to play all out every play on both ends of the floor.  This game allowed that to show big time.  Emily really showed her all around game tonight.  She is one that plays very hard all the time on the court.  Melanie is really putting out effort inside and going after the loose balls.  Mel was on the floor a lot tonight.  Eight different players scored, six players with four plus rebounds, the effort we are looking for on this team.   We had players that can come off the bench and make us a much faster intense team.   Tonight we played much faster and were able to run the floor to score.  This has been missing from our play this season.  A great team effort tonight. Speed and desire is what we had on the floor a lot tonight.”
In addition to scoring 32 points on 13 field goals and 6 of 13 shooting from the foul line, Schupp also had 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals for Pilot Grove.
Grace Phillips finished the game with 13 points, six assists, four steals and two rebounds while Melanie Wolfe tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, Aryn Lorenz six points, three rebounds and one assist, Reagan McFatrich six points, one rebound, one steal and one assist, Chloe Schlotzhauer three points, one rebound and one steal, Natalie Glenn two points, five rebounds and one assist, Natalie Rentel two points, four rebounds and two steals, Abby Schupp two assists and one rebound, Leah Vollrath and Claria Roth each two rebounds and Denae Lammers with one rebound.
For the Prairie Home girls, who dropped to 1-4 on the season, Maggie Wood had a huge night with 21 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Kelsey Watson finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists while Kaelyn Crews added six points, three steals and two rebounds, Ashlyn Twenter two points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist, Madison Bishop two points and seven rebounds and Paiton Williams two points and four rebounds.
Prairie Home coach Mark McLaughlin said Pilot Grove played an outstanding game. “Emily Schupp will be a standout college player when she leaves high school,” McLaughlin said. “Happy to see Ashlyn suit up and play so well after her injury. We produced points in this effort, but have to anchor down on the defensive end better, especially in transition. It’s just one more step in the journey.”
In the final game Monday night between two archrivals from the CCAA conference, the Prairie Home Panthers won the first of what will be several meeting this year against Bunceton.
Although the Dragons are much improved over last year, the Panthers pretty much dominated this game from start to finish while leading 27-15 at the half and 45-30 after three quarters of play. Prairie Home also outscored Bunceton 18-11 in the final period to put a nail in the coffin.
“We didn’t play our best game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a good enough effort,” McLaughlin said. “Defensively, we were pretty solid again and put two guys over 20-points in scoring, forced 17-turnovers and handing out 12 assists.  It was clearly Kassen’s best offensive performance, and Clayton was strong overall.”
Kassen Lock had 28 points, five steals, four rebounds and one assist to lead Prairie Home, 3-2. Clayton Pethan finished the game with 20 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two assists while Blaine Petsel added four points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists, Blake Petsel three points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, Luke Stewart two points and eight rebounds, Ryan Small two points and Ty Stidham with three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
As for the Bunceton boys, who dropped to 2-2, Brayden Doyle had 13 points and six rebounds. Dillon Alpers chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals while Hunter Shuffield added seven points and seven rebounds, Jason Burnett six points and six rebounds, Layne Maddex three points and four rebounds and Dylan Flatt with four rebounds.
Bunceton coach Dustin Ray said a very poor showing for the boys against Prairie Home.  
“Being inconsistent seems to be an issue that we can’t overcome,” Ray said. “I tip my hat to Prairie Home last night.  They executed almost every opportunity we gave them, and we did not.  As a team there were no bright moments in this game.  We have to bounce back quick playing Russellville with no rest.”