ore than 90 high schools across the 24-county region compete in more than a dozen sports on a varsity level each year. Most compete under the guidelines of the Missouri State High School Activities Association, and others under the sanction of the Missouri Christian School Athletic Association.
Southeast Missouri schools and athletes have won hundreds of state championships in a variety of athletic competitions, including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, soccer, softball, track and field, volleyball and wrestling since high school sports first began locally more than 120 years ago.
Much of the historical high school information on this site was gathered by Al Jackson, a longtime Southeast Missouri high school sports advocate and historian whose hard work allows us to share the great teams, athletes and stories of past years. Al died in 2018, and we dedicate these pages to him.
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Bill Bradley, left, was among the state's top players in his four seasons of varsity competition at Crystal City and was chosen as Student Sports Magazine's national player of the year as a senior in 1961. He finished his his school career with 3,068, which still stands as a Southeast Missouri record for most career points.
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Southeast Missouri basketball milestones
This is a listing of events that helped make history in Southeast Missouri boys and girls varsity basketball, compiled from media archives and MSHSAA records. All references to "local" or "SEMO" are inclusive of the 24-county area of Southeast Missouri.
The Delta boys team led Marquand-Zion 92-29 at halftime, tying the state record for most points by one team in one half.
Tanner Schamburg of Oak Ridge had 20 steals in a win over Marquand to set a state record.
Holcomb and Delta C-7 combined for 77 field goal completions on 196 attempts, setting the state and SEMO boys records for most completions and most attempts by two teams. In the same game, Holcomb set the local record for most rebounds in a game (80) and most steals in a game (32).
Hayden Sprenkel of North County finished his boys varsity career with 447 three-pointers, establishing SEMO and state records for most three-point field goals made in a career (447 in 110 games) and average per game (4.06 per game). He also holds the area record for most three-point attempts in a career (1,029 in 110 games).
Oran held Delta to three points in a 67-3 win in a Christmas tournament consolation semifinal game in Cape Girardeau; that set the modern-day SEMO record for fewest points scored by one team in a boys game.
The region's longest boys basketball losing streak ended in February: Bunker, which lost 65 games in a row over a 37-month stretch, won 69-57 at Marquand to give second-year coach Landry Cobb his first win. For the Eagles, it was their first win since January 2009.
East Carter County attempted 65 free throws its game against Couch, setting the SEMO record for most free throw attempts in a game. In the game, East Carter set a SEMO record for most free throws in a quarter (25).
Charleston defeated Sikeston 75-71 for the SEMO Conference Tournament championship at Sikeston High School in December. The loss ended Sikeston's win streak at 35 games, and it was the Bulldogs' first loss at home in 51 games.
Jordan McGowan of Bernie finished his high school career with 120 consecutive game appearances, setting a local record and finishing three short of the state record for consecutive games played.
Jim Bidewell announced his resignation as boys basketball coach at Portageville. After holding the position continuously for 28 seasons, Bidewell held the same position for more consecutive years than any other boys basketball coach in Southeast Missouri (three more than Scott County Central coach Ronnie Cookson).
Sikeston and Scott County Central faced off in their first boys basketball game in 38 years, this one at the Show Me Center in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 7,000 fans in February. Sikeston blocked a Scott Central shot with 2 seconds to play to preserve an 86-85 win. It was the first non-tournament high school game ever played at the Show Me Center.
Kingston defeated Grandview 64-61 in double-overtime, ending its boys team's losing streak at 97 games. It is the longest losing streak by a varsity basketball team in Southeast Missouri history.
Meadow Heights went 36-of-75 on three-point shots in a game against Marquand, setting the local, state, and national boys record for most three-pointers completed and most attempted in a game. In the same game, Meadow Heights set the state and local single-game record for most assists (39) and most three-point attempts in a quarter (22). The teams together combined for a state and local record for most three-point attempts in a game (109) and most three-pointers made in a game (44).
Delta and Chaffee combined for 76 points in the fourth quarter of their game, tying the SEMO record and tying for second in the state for most combined points in one quarter by a boys team. The record was previously set in 1997.
Matt Rogers of Doniphan ended his career with the SEMO record for most blocked shots in a career; he finished with 502 blocked shots in 92 games. His average of 5.46 per game is also a SEMO record.
Tyler Hansbrough of Poplar Bluff finished his career with a 73 percent field goal average, setting a state and SEMO record for best field goal percentage in a career; he was 835-of-1,142 in four seasons. He also finished with the state and local record for most free throws made in his career (741) and most career free throw attempts (958).
Tyler Hansbrough of Poplar Bluff completed a perfect game against Kickapoo, one of few perfect games recorded in state history. Hansbrough was 12-of-12 on two-point shots, 2-for-2 on three-point shots, and 9-of-9 on free throws.
Salem finished the season 99-of-218 in three-point shooting, setting the SEMO record for best three-point field goal percentage in a boys season (45.4 percent).
Amanda Nuyt of Perryville was 14-of-23 on three-point shots against Grandview, a state and area record for most three-pointers made and most attempted in a girls game.
Several changes were adopted by the MSHSAA. One: Teams will no longer use the "A" in classifications, meaning Class 1A teams now will compete in Class 1, 2A teams in Class 2, etc. Additionally, a new private school multiplier rule will mean that for classification purposes, private school enrollment will be multiplied by 1.35; as a result, some private schools will move up in classification.
Dexter's boys team finished its season shooting 80.5 percent from the free-throw line, setting a state and SEMO record for best free-throw percentage in a season. The team made 433 of 538 attempts.
Brett Hale of Dexter finished his career with the SEMO record for best career free throw percentage; he made 86 percent of his attempts (426 of 495).
Jon Beck of Scott City made 16 three-point shots against Tamms (Ill.) Egyptian, a state and area record for most three-point shots by an individual in one boys game.
Brandi Jackson of Kennett scored 65 points against Southland, setting a Southeast Missouri record for most points scored in a girls game. She finished the season with an average of 43.1 points per game, setting a state and local record for highest scoring average in a girls season.
Clarkton outscored Campbell 45-31 in the fourth quarter of their game, setting a SEMO boys record for most points scored in a quarter (76); the record was tied in 2006. In this same game, Clarkton set the state and local record for most three-pointers in one quarter with 12 in the fourth quarter.
Michael Hart of Clarkton finished the season with an average of 38.8 points per game, the highest scoring average in Southeast Missouri boys history.
New Madrid County Central defeated Scott County Central 97-83, setting the area record for most total points in a girls game.
Bernie's high-scoring offense set a SEMO boys record by averaging 93.4 points per game (2,709 points in 29 games).
For the first time in the event's 36-year history, Bloomfield Christmas Tournament officials turned away spectators on championship night of the event. An estimated 3,500 fans filled the Bloomfield gym for the championship game between Bernie and Portageville. The gym officially holds 2,500. Tournament director Bill Myers said at least 250 people weren't allowed inside the building because of lack of seating.
Three Southeast Missouri boys teams won state championships, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since then. Van Buren (1A), Portageville (2A), and Charleston (3A) all won titles.
Jackson defeated Scott County Central in the University High Christmas Tournament, ending the Braves' winning streak at 63, just one game short of tying the state record.
Marcus Timmons of Scott County Central completed his varsity career with his 133rd game played, a state and local record for most varsity boys games played in a career. Timmons also became the first athlete in the state to start in four boys state championship games.
Bernie defeated North Pemiscot 147-102 in its first game of the season, setting the state and SEMO record for most points scored by both teams in a boys game (249). Their combined 133 points in the second half also is a SEMO record and tied for second in the state.
Charleston saw its winning streak end at 55 games when it lost to Scott County Central in the University High Christmas Tournament.
Anthony Beane of Bernie finished his career by setting the SEMO record for most career assists with 824 in 116 games.
Scott County Central won its fifth straight boys state championship, setting the record for most consecutive titles in Missouri basketball. The Braves defeated Clopton 63-53 at Springfield.
Christina Dinkins of South Iron was 26-of-37 in free throw attempts, setting the area record for most free throws made and most attempted. Her 37 attempts also is a state record.
Shyla Tucker of Fredericktown attempted 732 shots from the floor, a state and local record for most field goal attempts in a season.
Scott County Central's winning streak ended at 53 games with its loss to Jackson in the University High Christmas Tournament.
More than 5,000 fans watched Scott County Central defeat Jackson for the championship of the University High School Christmas Tournament, which was played for the first time at the Show Me Center.
Oran joined the University High School Christmas Tournament (replacing University High) in the final change to the tournament field to date.
Notre Dame finished with three SEMO boys team records; its 794 team assists were a SEMO single-season record; its average of 23.3 assists per game set the SEMO record; its 1,505 total rebounds also set a SEMO record.
Ronnie Ressel of Notre Dame finished his high school career with the SEMO record for most assists per game in a career; he finished with 743 in 95 games (an average of 7.8 per game).
High school teams nationwide adopted the three-point shot for the first time after it was approved by the National Federation of High School Associations.
Scott County Central's boys team made history by winning its seventh state championship, the most of any high school in the state at the time. The Braves defeated Wellsville-Milledtown 85-69.
University High School, scheduled to close after the season, played the final games in its namesake Christmas tournament. U-High lost to Charleston 84-11 in the first round, setting a then-tournament record for fewest points in the tournament's history. Just a couple days later, tournament director Joey Haines went on the air during the 6 o'clock news broadcast and pleaded with fans not to come to that night's championship game between Notre Dame and Scott County Central, the last high school game ever played at Houck Field House. All 2,500 seats were filled 3 hours before the start of the championship game. Hundreds of late-arriving fans were turned away.
Marquand-Zion scored 52 points in the third quarter of its win over University High; its 52 points in a quarter tied for the SEMO boys record and tied for second place in the state (see 1980).
Four Southeast Missouri teams won state championships, the first time four teams from the area won state titles. Scott County Central (1A), Notre Dame (2A) and Charleston (3A) won on the boys side, and Scott County Central (1A) won in girls.
Scott County Central made 1,107 field goals in its 34 games, setting the SEMO record for most field goals by a boys team in one season.
Scott County Central made 28 of its 29 free throw attempts in a game against Bell City, setting the SEMO record for best free throw percentage in a single boys game (96.6 percent).
Notre Dame made 44 free throws in its game against Sikeston, setting the area record for most free throws made in a boys game.
Scott County Central's girls team, coached by Fred Johnson, defeated Salisbury 85-49 and finished the season 31-0. It was the first girls state championship for a Southeast Missouri team.
Sikeston went 41-of-53 from the floor against Jackson, setting the local record for best field goal percentage by a boys team in one game.
Clearwater scored 166 points in its 166-52 win over Zalma. The 166 points is a SEMO boys record for most points scored in a game and second in the state. Also, Clearwater scored 52 points in the first quarter, tied for the SEMO record and tied for second in the state (see 1986).
Kelly defeated Twin Rivers 133-14, setting the area record for most points scored by one team in a girls game.
Lennies McFerren was hired as the head coach at Charleston, becoming the first black head coach of an MSHSAA boys basketball team in Southeast Missouri.
Jeff Cox of Marquand grabbed 47 rebounds in a game against Greenville, setting the state record for most rebounds in a boys game.
Advance (1A), Lilbourn (2A) and Charleston (3A) won state boys championships, the first time Southeast Missouri teams won three MSHSAA boys titles. The feat was later accomplished multiple times.
The MSHSAA held its first sanctioned state tournament for girls basketball teams. For the first two seasons, only one classification was used. That grew to two classes for the 1974-1975 season, and then to three classes two years later.
The MSHSAA added a new classification for basketball, growing to four. In addition, classifications were changed to 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A; previously, classes were S, M, and L.
The playoff tournament immediately following the regular season was renamed to be the district tournament; it formerly was known as the regional tournament.
Scott County Central hired Ronnie Cookson as its new boys basketball coach. Cookson guided the program to more than a dozen state championships in Classes 1 and 2, the most by any team in state history.
Joe Davis of Kelly made 24 free throws in his team's game against Richland, the Southeast Missouri boys record for most free throws made.
Poplar Bluff and Kennett played seven overtime periods, an area record for most overtimes in a boys game.
Malden attempted 108 shots from the floor in its game against Holcomb, setting the area record for most field goal attempts by a boys team in one game.
Winona scored 88 points in the first half against Dora; that set a SEMO record for most points scored in a half and ranks third in the state. In the same game, Winona scored 156 points, which at the time was the SEMO record for most points in a game.
South Iron completed its third consecutive 30-win boys season, establishing the state and SEMO record for most consecutive 30-win seasons by a boys team. The state record has twice been tied.
Bill Bradley of Crystal City finished his high school career with 3,068 points, setting the SEMO record for most career points (accumulated in 112 games).
J.D. Boyer of Winona scored on 37 shots from the floor against Freemont, a Southeast Missouri boys record for most field goals made.
State championships were held for the final time in Southeast Missouri. Houck Field House hosted the Class B tournament, which this season did not include any teams from the area. The building was filled to near-capacity for every game, but the state tournament never returned to the area after this season. Houck hosted state championship tournaments for Class B in 1951, 1952, and 1954. It hosted the Class A tournament in 1953, won by Cape Girardeau Central.
Charles Miller of Ellsinore High School scored 67 points in his team's game against Naylor, a Southeast Missouri boys record for most points scored in a game.
The MSHSAA changed its policy to allow member schools of the Missouri Negro Interscholastic Athletic Association (MNIAA) to join and complete in the MSHSAA, including in playoffs. Saint Joseph Bartlett was the first school from the MNIAA to join the MSHSAA, followed by several Southeast Missouri schools. The MNIAA previously had held its own state playoffs and national tournament for member schools.
Puxico, playing under coach Arnold Ryan, completed its undefeated season with a state championship. The team scored more than 100 points in 13 of its games, unprecedented in an era that consisted of a much slower style of offense. Puxico scored 3,557 total points in 40 games, setting the state and SEMO record (which still stands) for most total points by a team in one season. Wins included 148-16 over Greenville in a playoff game; Win Wilfong scored 54 points in the first half of that game. This season's team was believed to be the highest-scoring boys basketball team in the nation up to this point.
Houck Field House in Cape Girardeau recently rebuilt after a fire destroyed the original building hosted the Class B state basketball championships for the first time, just weeks after opening. Tournament semifinals featured Puxico vs. Morehouse, and Waynesville vs. John Burroughs.
Puxico's 132-point win over Greenville in the playoffs (148-16) set the record for biggest winning margin among SEMO teams. It's unclear whether it is a state record.
Arnold Ryan was hired as boys basketball coach at Puxico, the start of a successful nine-year position. Ryan is widely considered the most influential coach in Southeast Missouri basketball history and helped revolutionize the fast-break offense, the run-and-shoot, and the pressure defense.
Fruitland, under coach R.B. Lewis, defeated Cape Girardeau University High in the Class B boys state championship at Columbia's Rothwell-Brewer Fieldhouse, giving Southeast Missouri its first state basketball championship and its first second-place finisher.
The MSHSAA was formed, making Missouri among the last states to form a state high school association. Also this year, the MSHSAA held its first state basketball championships for high school teams, which competed in one open division. KC Northeast defeated Springfield Central 27-17 for the championship, and Saint Joseph Central defeated Jackson 25-10 for third place.
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