The top-seeded Community R-6 girls basketball team proved why they were the No. 1 seed in the 90th annual New Franklin Invitational Tournament.
While entering the tournament  undefeated and ranked fifth in Class 1 in the latest high school basketball polls, Community R-6 outscored and out-played another undefeated team in the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers for the title by a score of 50-34.
Meanwhile, in the boys championship game, the No. 1 Fayette boys captured third second straight title at New Franklin and third overall by beating the host team 56-38.
In other games on Saturday, the Sturgeon girls defeated Fayette in the third place game 51-21 while the Westran boys upended Community R-6 for third place 61-42.
In games on Friday, the Sweet Springs girls finished nine better than New Franklin in the consolation finals 52-43 while the Sturgeon boys upended Pilot Grove in the fifth place game 83-43. In the two seventh place games, the Prairie Home girls defeated Westran 36-27 while the Prairie Home boys beat Sweet Springs 57-42.
While the loss was the first for the Pilot Grove girls at 10-1, head coach Linda Scott said the girls played the most physical game she has seen in a Class 1 game.
“Every play in the first half was a knock down on the floor type play,” Scott said. “We went play to play with Community. They are a powerhouse and make you play at a very high level. Our defense played very well, but they have so many players that can score. I was impressed with the speed we played. Schupp and Wolfe really played tough. We have to learn to play with someone hanging on to us every play. Natalie Glenn and Natalie Rentel came off the bench to give us good effort and minutes. This was a learning experience for our team and your typical big crowd, noisy and a championship on the line. We could possibly face them two more times but overall I thought this game made us better.”
The Lady Tigers gave Community R-6 everything they could handle and more in the first quarter while trailing by one at 9-8. And while Community R-6 outscored Pilot Grove 16-13 in the second quarter to lead at the half 25-21, the Lady Tigers had their moments while tying the game at 19-all on a putback by senior Emily Schupp with 2:18 left.
Pilot Grove never got any closer for the rest of the half as Community R-6 held a 6-2 advantage to lead by four.
Community R-6 also dominated on the boards in the first half while pulling down 15 rebounds compared to just 13 for Pilot Grove. The difference is that Community R-6’s press created 15 turnovers in the first half-10 in the first quarter-while the Lady Tigers forced only five turnovers.
Schupp had 11 of the team’s 21 points in the first half for Pilot Grove while Natalie Thomas led Community R-6 with nine points.
The Lady Tigers also played Community R-6 close early on in the third quarter by reeling off seven unanswered points to go up 28-25 with 6:19 left. However it was pretty much all Community R-6 after that as the Lady Trojans 15-2 over the next five minutes and 28 seconds to extend the lead to 10 at 40-30.
Community R-6 never looked back from that point on in the ballgame while holding a 10-4 advantage in the final period for the victory.
Natalie Thomas finished the game with 16 points while Dalanney Bowers chipped in 10 for Community R-6.
For Pilot Grove, Emily Schupp had 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocked shots. Melanie Wolfe tallied nine points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots while Grace Phillips added two points, two steals and one assist, Chloe Schlotzhauer also with two points and one assist, Natalie Glenn with five rebounds and Natalie Rentel with four rebounds.
The New Franklin boys also played Fayette close early on while leading the Falcons 11-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs also held a one point lead-15-14-with 6:34 left in the half. However over the final six minutes of the period, Fayette outscored New Franklin 15-5 to lead at the break by a score of 29-20.
New Franklin coach Ross Dobson said his team just out-played tonight and takes full blame for that reasoning. “The boys did what we asked of them and I didn’t put them in the situations that we needed too,” Dobson said. “Fayette is a good basketball team and they got the best of us tonight. We have a have a quick turnaround and be ready for Glasgow on Tuesday.”
Having lost to the Falcons early in the season in double overtime at Fayette, New Franklin was no match this time around as Fayette dominated the third quarter with a 19-5 advantage, which included a 12-0 run over the final five minutes and 15 seconds, to lead the Bulldogs by 23 at 48-25.
New Franklin never got any closer than 18 points for the rest of the game but did outscore Fayette 13-9 in the final period.
Cale Polson had 18 points and Kyle Schleeter 12 to lead all scorers for Fayette.
For New Franklin, who dropped to 9-3 on the season, Tyler Perkins had 11, Gavin Bishop and Carter Bailey seven each, Crayton Gallatin four and Jackson Dorson with two.
In the girls third place game, Emma Bright had 16 and Johna Burris 14 for the Sturgeon Lady Bulldogs, who led Fayette 24-12 at the half. Maddie Reed finished the game with 10 points for Fayette.
Meanwhile, in the boys third place game, Ben Miller tossed in 20 points as the Westran Hornets improved on their two point lead at the half by outscoring Community R-6 36-19 in the final two periods.
Caden Escamilla had 13 points in the game for Community R-6.