The La Monte Lady Vikings pulled off the biggest upset – dethroning the reigning champs Tipton in the semifinals – and were welcomed by the next-best team at Friday’s Kaysinger Conference game.
The two-seeded Stover Lady Bulldogs, remarkably armed with just eight players, handled their opponents with polish en route to their finals appearance at the Kaysinger Conference Basketball Tournament, sponsored by W-K Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac.
In a game where no lead exceeded five points, Stover gutted out a 36-34 victory to claim the Kaysinger Conference championship.
Mallory Uptegrove led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, 10 points and five blocks.
With 2:32 to play, Sandra Arroyo drove at Uptegrove on a fast-break and drew a foul – Uptegrove’s fifth.
A quick field goal from Vada DeMotte brought La Monte within one point. Arroyo stole the inbounds pass and immediately exchanged it for points to put the Lady Vikings up 34-33, their first lead since halftime.
Arroyo led La Monte with seven points.
Jensen Bauer, who had not scored since the first quarter, drained a 3-pointer with 16 seconds to play to give Stover the lead again.
Bauer finished with eight points and four assists and rebounds apiece.
Head Coach Ernie Haag said he was glad his shooter – who had been cold for much of the game – and the rest of the team never gave up.
“I just can’t say enough about our kids’ heart,” head coach Ernie Haag said about his first tournament championship victory. “This has been a great experience, this tournament.”
The championship is Stover’s first since 1982.
CORRECTION Feb. 14: The Sedalia Democrat ran an article erroneously naming Stover player Mallory Uptegrove “Megan.” This story has been updated to correct the error.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2