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story.lead_photo.caption RICK PECK/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS McDonald County's Peyton Barton goes to his left hand for a basket during the Mustangs' 64-55 loss to Carl Junction on Feb. 22 at Carl Junction High School.

McDonald County turned a five-point halftime lead into a 37-21 lead in the first two minutes of the third quarter and cruised to a 64-53 win over Cassville in the opening round of the Missouri Class 4 District 10 Basketball Tournament on Tuesday night at Cassville High School.

The Mustangs jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead, but the pesky Wildcats closed to 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Cooper Reece scored from the block to open the second quarter to stretch the margin to 19-13, but Cassville closed to 19-17 on a three pointer by Trey Dalton and a free throw by D.J. White.

McDonald County answered with a three pointer by Peyton Barton and buckets by Reece and Tim Shields to take a 26-21 lead at intermission.

Barton hit two short jumpers and Boston Dowd and Reece added baskets before Blake Gravette hit a three pointer as the Mustangs opened the third quarter with 11 consecutive points.

White stopped the run with a basket and Dalton followed with a trey, but Gravette, after missing most of the first half with foul trouble, hit back-to-back three points to give McDonald County a 43-25 lead midway through the third quarter.

McDonald County led 48-31 entering the fourth period before Cassville began chipping away at the big lead. The Wildcats closed to 58-49 with 50 seconds left, but the Cade Smith and Dowd hit three free throws each in the final minute to seal the win.

"We made some shots, but didn't defend real well in the first half," coach Kyle Fields said. "We came out in the third quarter and executed better. We got the lead up to 18 or 20 points and that was kind of the statement run and they really couldn't recover after that. We missed a few free throws (12 for 25), but we were able to hang on to a double digit lead for most of the rest of the way. I was proud of our kids and hopefully we can get another win on Thursday."

Reece finished with 19 points, 15 in the first half, and Gravette added 11 to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Barton and Smith with nine points each, Dowd eight, Shields six and Bucky Harrell two.

Dalton finished with 22 points to lead all scorers.

The wins earns McDonald County, 11-15 for the season, a spot in the district semifinals. The Mustangs will face Carl Junction at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 at Cassville High School.

Carl Junction

Carl Junction hit enough free throws (11 of 18) in the fourth quarter to hold off McDonald County for a 64-55 win on Feb. 22 at Carl Junction High School.

The Bulldogs led 41-26 entering the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs rallied behind five three-pointers and six-of-six free throws to make a run in the final eight minutes.

Carl Junction led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter and stretched the margin to 27-19 at halftime.

"They have more length in their two bigs than we have seen this year," said coach Kyle Fields. "I thought we had a good effort. We shot the ball fairly well, but giving up 64 points is way too many."

Blake Gravette led the Mustangs with 22 points, while Cooper Reece had 15. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Boston Dowd with nine points, Tim Shields seven and Peyton Barton two.

Trent Smith, 6-6 junior, scored 19 points and Will Bebee, 6-7 senior, scored 18 to lead Carl Junction.

Carl Junction added a 64-53 win in the junior varsity game.

Tae-Shawn Alik scored 17 points to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Cade Smith with 11 points, Koby McAlister 10, Saul Garcia seven and Ben Mora, Kirby Townsend, Dylan Allison and Colliar Gottfried two each.

Aurora

McDonald County overcame poor free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter to claim a 57-51 win over Aurora on Feb. 20 at MCHS.

The Mustangs led 40-28 entering the fourth period but managed to hit only seven of 18 charities in the final eight minutes to let the Houn' Dogs claw their way back into the game. The closest Aurora got was 53-49 with 48 seconds left, but Kade Smith hit a pair of free throws with 38.9 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Boston Dowd led three Mustangs in double figures with 16 points. Cooper Reece added 14 points, while Peyton Barton had 13. Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Smith with six points, Blake Gravette four and Cole DelosSantos and Tim Shields with two each.

McDonald County earned a split with a 46-32 win in the junior varsity game.

Koby McAlister led McDonald County with 24 points, followed by Tae-Shawn Alik with six points and Dylan Allison, Colliar Gottfried, Saul Garcia and Cade Smith with four each.

Sports on 03/01/2018

Print Headline: Mustang Earn District Semifinal Berth

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