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story.lead_photo.caption RICK PECK/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS McDonald County's Cooper Reece scores two of his game-high 25 points while being guarded by Webb City's Jaystin Smith during the Mustangs' 41-35 loss on Feb. 27 in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 4 District 12 Basketball Tournament at Webb City High School.

In a game where every point was at a premium, when Webb City needed a basket, the team looked to Alex Gaskill. So, with the Cardinals leading 37-35 late in the game, it was no surprise that Gaskill got the ball.

The 6-3 senior responded with a driving layup with 1:12 left in the game to key the Cardinals to a 41-35 win over McDonald County on Feb. 27 in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 4 District 12 Basketball Tournament at Webb City High School.

"Webb City is very athletic and explosive," Coach Kyle Fields said. "I was pleased with the way our kids handled the pressure and controlled the pace of the game."

Using a deliberate offense that often utilized a delay game, McDonald County looked to stay in contact with the Cardinals, who beat McDonald County by 32 points earlier in the season.

The strategy worked with Webb City's biggest lead not coming until Jaystin Smith hit a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds left in the game to seal the win.

Cooper Reece scored six first-quarter points, as did Gaskill as the teams ended the first quarter tied at 10-10.

Reece scored the Mustangs' first seven points of the second quarter to give McDonald County a 17-12 lead midway through the period and added six straight points to close out the first half with the Mustangs holding a 24-18 lead.

Webb City used a 12-2 run to open the third quarter to take a 30-26 lead that included Terrell Kabala's jump shot with 3:35 left in the third quarter that gave Webb City the lead for good at 27-26.

Webb City led 34-30 after three quarters, but an old-fashioned three-pointer and a short jumper by Reece cut the lead to 37-35 with 2:50 left in the game.

Webb City held the ball with just over a minute to go before Gaskill got loose and down low for a layup to stretch the lead to 39-35 with 1:12 left. McDonald County had a pair of chances to cut into the lead but missed two shots in the final minute before Smith closed out the game with two free throws.

Reece finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. Cale Adamson added six points, while Boston Dowd and Trent Alik had two each.

Gaskill led Webb City with 19 points.

"I feel that we were playing our best basketball of the year in our last three games," Fields said. "I am proud of our kids in how they finished the season. I thought they prepared very well going into the district tournament. I am also proud of our seniors (Reece, Dowd and Saul Garcia) and their four-year commitment to the program."

McDonald County finished the 2018-2019 season with a 5-20 record.

Sports on 03/07/2019

Print Headline: MCHS Boys BB Play Best Ball Last Three Games of Season

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