A year after a pair of Lewis and Clark Conference teams advanced to the Missouri Final Four in basketball, the local league has just one team left standing after the 32 district champions were crowned over the weekend in boys’ and girls’ play.
The Harrisburg boys basketball team is the lone L&C squad left standing after the district tourneys concluded.
Harrisburg (21-6) won the Class 2 District 8 title with a 74-67 victory over New Bloomfield. The Bulldogs ended fellow L&C member Fayette’s (23-3) season in the district semifinals with a 76-59 defeat.
Former Tri-Rivers Conference foe, Milan, claimed the District 7 boys title with wins over Schuyler County, Putnam County and La Plata. The Marceline and Westran boys teams lost in their district openers while Salisbury was dispatched by La Plata in the semifinals.
The Salisbury boys won the district crown a season ago before falling to Harrisburg in sectional play.
The league’s three other boys teams fell in the District 6 tourney. Knox County defeated Scotland County 54-41 before falling to Canton in the semifinals 54-33. Paris also lost in the first round. Van-Far upset Canton 67-64 to claim the District 6 championship.
Harrisburg is one of nine schools to repeat as district champions on the boys side, meaning there are just seven new schools to make the Class 2 boys Sweet 16.
That is similar to the girls playoff bracket where exactly half of the teams are returning to the Sweet 16 this year.
Missing are last year’s two L&C representatives Scotland County and Westran.
SCR-I a Final Four entry a season ago, lost its opener in the District 6 tourney to Canton. Knox County also fell in the opening round before Paris was defeated in the championship game by South Shelby 40-33.
Three of the four L&C teams in District 7 had their season’s stopped by Cairo. Westran fell to the eventual district champs in the first round. After getting by Putnam County in overtime in the opener, Schuyler County lost to Cairo 75-47. Marceline upset top seed Salisbury, the L&C regular season champions, in the semifinals before losing to Cairo in the title game by a final score of 51-39.
Fayette and Harrisburg girls both lost in the opening round of the District 8 tourney eventually won by Sturgeon.
South Shelby will face New Haven in sectionals on February 28th, the same squad that SCR-I faced a year ago in Hannibal and narrowly defeated 37-35 to keep the playoff run alive.
Sturgeon upset New Bloomfield in the District 8 finals, ending the school’s bid for another playoff run. SCR-I bested New Bloomfield 55-23 in Moberly in the quarterfinals.
Reining state champions, Skyline, who toppled SCR-I in the state semifinals a year ago, return to defend their title. Oran, who SCR-I bested in the state third place game, also returns to the playoffs this year hoping to make the trip to Springfield for the school’s second consecutive Final Four appearance.