Six teams gear up for 29th OHS Tourney

Will Johnson

Six will be a serious number for the 29th Owensville Varsity Boys Basketball Tournament tipping off on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

With the departure of the Wright County Home school Warriors and Bourbon’s Warhawks, six teams will make up the tournament field in 2018.

Earning the top seed was the Steelville Cardinals. Salem’s Tigers were selected the second seed while Cuba’s Wildcats picked up the three seed.

Returning to the tournament for the first time since 2010, Belle’s Tigers earned the fourth seed followed by the host Dutchmen at number five and Linn’s Wildcats as the sixth seed.

Split into a pair of three-team pools, tournament action will kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 2 with Salem facing Linn at 5:30 p.m., followed by Steelville and Owensville at 7:30 p.m.

Games on Thursday, Jan. 4 will pit Belle’s Tigers against the host Dutchmen in a Highway 28 showdown at 5:30 p.m., followed by a cat fight between Cuba and Linn at 7:30 p.m.

Ending pool play on Friday, Jan. 5, Salem and Cuba will face off at 5:30 p.m. while Steelville will take on Belle in a match up of Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) teams at 7:30 p.m.

Trophy games on Saturday, Jan. 6 will begin with the consolation game at 4 p.m., followed by the third-place game at 5:30 p.m., and the championship game at 7 p.m.

Listed below are previews of each of the six teams in the tournament.

Sitting at 6-3 (as of press time) the top-seeded Steelville Cardinals earned that distinction right after Thanksgiving.

During First Community National Bank Tournament at Sullivan High School, Steelville handed second-seeded Salem a 57-46 loss back on Monday, Nov. 27.

Steelville scored wins during the 2017 portion of their season over Dixon, Potosi, Richland, Grandview (Hillsboro) and Fatima. Their three losses have come to St. James, School of the Osage and Crocker.

Returning as the lone senior for the Cardinals is Garrett Becker. Becker was a second-team All Tournament selection last year helping Steelville claim third-place hardware.

Looking for their first tournament title in Owensville since 2005, the Cardinals will have to defeat Belle’s Tigers and the host Dutchmen before they get a shot at just their second Owensville Tournament championship.

Steelville will wrap up the 2017 portion of their season tonight (Wednesday) on the road against the Eldon Mustangs.

While their record going into 2018 sits at 2-7, that does not mean the second-seeded Salem Tigers should be overlooked.

Coming off their first Owensville Tournament title last year, a new cast of players will have to step up for Salem to make it back-to-back titles in Gasconade County.

Graduating eight seniors from last year including reigning Tournament Most Valuable Player Logan Woolf, the Tigers from Dent County will look to a trio of varsity returners for experience.

They include the senior duo of guard Nate Bray and Cody Rictor. Battling the injury bug the last two seasons, Lawson Toman will enter the 2018 Owensville Tournament healthy for Conrad Prugh’s Tigers.

Five newcomers will also look to help Salem open 2018 on a high note.

Helping Salem with height will be 6-5 junior Jordan Shults, 6-4 sophomore Carter Chilton and his 6-3 sophomore cousin Logan Chilton. Others seeing the Owensville Tournament for the first time will be sophomore Reese Dodsen and junior Hayden Wilson.

During 2017, Salem’s two victories both came on the road.

On Friday, Dec. 1, Salem defeated St. Clair’s Bulldogs 55-43 to claim consolation hardware from the FCNB Tournament in Sullivan.

Salem’s other win also came on the road against Cuba’s Wildcats by a score of 70-61. That victory helped the Tigers secure the two seed.

In the loss column, Salem has fallen to Marshfield, Steelville, St. James (2), West Plains, Rolla and Licking.

Helped by a 58-52 victory over the Dutchmen at home two weeks ago, Brett Joseph’s Cuba Wildcats earned the third seed for the upcoming Owensville Tournament.

Sitting at 2-6 after a tough 43-42 road loss at Hermann last Monday, the Wildcats will have five seniors to help them look to leave Dutchmen country with hardware.

Hardwood Wildcats suiting up for their final Owensville Tournament include Jared Priest, Max Ryle, Trenton Goudeau, Levi Mitchell and Garrett Schroyer.

Juniors on the Cuba varsity roster include Johnathan Bayless, Gavin Sparks, Alex Noltkamper, Austin Shockley and Jordan Jamieson.

Along with their recent home victory over Owensville, Cuba also won their season opener on the road before Thanksgiving in Houston.

Along with Hermann, Cuba’s losses so far on the season have come to Fatima, West County, Union, Salem and Dixon.

Making their return to the Owensville Tournament after an eight-year hiatus, Tim Evans’ Belle Tigers earned the fourth-seed to kick off the new year next week.

Hitting the century mark in their season-opening 100-96 win over Dixon at the Frisco League/Show-Me Conference Challenge in Waynesville, Belle (4-4) showed that their offense can be potent when it is hitting on all cylinders.

Loaded with seven seniors, the Tigers from Maries County will look to enter 2018 with a winning record following their 2017 finale Friday night at home against Hermann’s Bearcats.

Among the seven seniors, Belle is led by Skylar Smith who recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in a game against Calvary Lutheran nearly three weeks ago.

Other seniors suiting up for Evans include Alex Hinson, Tracy Skiles, Trent Stockton, Tucker Cordsmeyer, Tyler Miller and Nick Crutsinger.

Juniors on the floor for Belle will include Mason Butler, Brett Butler, Daniel Bolte, Levi Fortner, Qinton Martin and James Neal.

Along with Dixon, victories for Belle in 2017 have come against Tipton, Calvary Lutheran and Russellville. Losses for Belle have come to New Haven, Crocker, Chamois and New Bloomfield.

Edging Linn’s Wildcats on their home court over two weeks ago, Todd Rehmert’s Owensville Dutchmen avoided drawing the last seed in their upcoming home tournament next week to open 2018.

For seven seniors, it will be their final Owensville Tournament in their orange and black home.

They include Kory Bauer, Grant Steever, Wyatt Ellis, Sean Irwin, Jonathon Krumrey, Tony Terry Jr., and Michael Lahmeyer.

Four juniors are also on the varsity Dutchmen roster in Seth Mayberry, Jay Copeland, Brady Smith and Jarett Payne. Sophomores Cason Gray and Trevor Abernathy give Owensville some depth off the bench.

Finishing 2017 at 3-6, Owensville’s big win came against St. Clair marking the first time the Dutchmen have won their Four Rivers Conference opener in seven years.

Along with Linn, OHS’ other notch in the win column came in the consolation semifinals at Eugene Tournament’s against Tuscumbia.

Rounding out the field for the 29th Owensville Tournament is the sixth-seeded Linn Wildcats.

Sitting at 2-4 entering their annual tournament later this week, Linn’s other victory thus far on the season came at home before Thanksgiving against Eldon.

Linn’s losses along with Owensville prior to their tournament have come against Plato, Southern Boone and Hermann.

Six seniors returning for Jordan Sallin’s Wildcats include Braden Helmig, Nathan Peters, Jacob Voss, Luke Buhr, Austin Wagner and Lucas Stieferman.

Logan and Kole Peters are juniors for Linn’s squad while sophomore team members include Drew Voss, Jackson Voss, Parker Patterson and Alex Grellner.

Steelville, Belle and Owensville will make up the black pool while Orange pool teams will include Salem, Cuba and Linn.

Games will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 5:30 p.m., with two each also on Thursday, Jan. 4 and Friday, Jan. 5.