Meadville Matched in Semis, Face Top-Ranked Drexel Tonight
The Meadville Eagles are playing this weekend in the first ever Final Four for a boys basketball team at the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) State Basketball Championships. The Eagles tangled with Stanberry in the semifinals, losing only their second game of the season.
A steal and a hoop from Derek Smith started scoring for the Eagles at the one minute mark of the opening frame. The teams would trade baskets from here, with Stanberry taking an early lead thanks to the first of seven three-pointers on the night. TJ Schmitz would find Cade Shiflett for a trifecta for the Meadville boys, giving the local squad back the lead. Shiflett would drain one more from downtown in the opening quarter, and the Eagles would hold a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Smith found Blake Burkholder to open the second quarter with a solid bucket. Smith would add a basket of his own to allow the Eagles to start the frame with a 4-0 run. Stanberry and Shiflett would duel three-pointers, with Stanberry gaining the edge at the 2:45 mark to take the lead. The Eagles would battle back, and a three-pointer from Schmitz would again tie the game at the 5:24 mark. A late hoop from Stanberry would put Meadville down 27-25 at the half.
A mere 28 seconds into the second half, the Eagles’ Kolton Friesner tied the game with a basket. The teams would draw even for the next two minutes of game time, with a three-pointer from Stanberry making the difference early on. Stanberry was 7-7 from downtown in this game. With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Eagles found themselves down by seven points. But, a quarter-ending run would close the gap to six after the third frame, 38-32.
In the final frame, the Eagles showed the fire and competitive desire that has fueled their successful program all season long. The Meadville boys opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to take the lead for the first time in quite a while. The run lasted for the first three minutes of the frame, and featured buckets from Dalton Palmer and Smith. The Eagles would hold the lead for one minute of game time, until another Stanberry three-pointer put them back down by one. A 6-0 run from there would widen the deficit to four points. Smith would find Shiflett for a three-pointer of their own at the 6:47 mark, putting the Eagles within a point. But, a late 5-2 run to close out the contest would seal the fate of the Meadville boys, and send them to the third place game. Meadville lost this semifinal game by a final score of 51-47.
Eagles Fly Into Historic Fourth Place Finish
The Meadville Eagles concluded their first ever trip to the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) State Basketball Championships this past Friday at Mizzou Arena, taking on Drexel in the third place game. The Eagles fought the top-ranked team in the state, but flew valiantly into the history books as the first boys team in the storied history of Meadville basketball to go this far.
The teams opened the game scoring evenly, with Derek Smith providing the first four points for the Meadville boys. Drexel responded with a 13-0 run, ending with a Smith bucket at the 4:08 mark. Drexel went from there on a 7-0 run, ending with Derrick Knifong finding Dalton Palmer for a three-pointer at the 5:49 mark. After one quarter, Meadville trailed 30-16.
Drexel opened with a hoop to start the second frame, and TJ Schmitz responded with a three-pointer to answer for the Eagles. The teams traded buckets from here, then Drexel went on a 13-0 run to end the half. At halftime, Meadville trailed 43-24.
The Drexel run reached 17-0 with two more baskets to open the second half. Meadville ended the run with a putback from Logan Newlin at the 2:44 mark of the third quarter. After three quarters, the Eagles trailed 58-36.
The fourth and final quarter came and went, and the Meadville boys fought past foul trouble and their deficit until the very end. The boys in purple and white made their hometown proud, even in defeat, losing this game 75-50.