Stadium Emcee Andy Taylor | Bass Pro Tournament of Champions | Photo: @officialSPS

3 Days. 12 Games. Epic Dunks. Tons of Laughs

The 35th annual Bass Pro Tournament of Champions saw McEachern of Powder Springs, Georgia lift the trophy in its tournament debut. However it was the 108 players and tens of thousands of fans who attended or watched on CBS Sports Network who truly emerged the victors.

The sport’s highest attended high school basketball tournament in the nation is designed as a fundraiser for the athletic departments of Springfield Public Schools…but it has become so much more.

Basketball’s best Boot Camp

It is a pressure packed weekend for future college and pro athletes who get a chance to experience what it’s like to play at the next level. These students face relentless media obligations, exhausting travel, demanding schedules…and are rewarded with a level of stadium production and fan attendance they won’t likely see again until after they graduate.

This tournament is the game’s most prestigious Boot Camp for what’s next. Even in defeat, everyone wins. It is the experience that’s most valuable.

Day-3: JQH Arena. Springfield, MO

McEachern Indians (02)
Sunrise Christian Buffaloes (15)
50-46 (OT)

Photo: Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

Championship | McEachern def Sunrise Christian 50-46 (OT)

What a game. But this is the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. We’ve grown accustomed to dramatic finishes. Who can forget the Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton) game-winning buzzer-beater in 2016?

This year, it came down to a critical 3-pointer from McEachern’s Sharife Cooper to send the championship game into Overtime. Then, late in OT, he sunk another three to seal the victory.

The #2 team in the country, McEachern remains undefeated this season. But 15th-ranked Sunrise Christian took the Indians to the woodshed in the first half.

7-foot Junior N’Faly Dante was a force, ending the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He had the Buffaloes up by 11, but couldn’t contain Cooper when it was all on the line.

Sharife Cooper (actively recruited by 13 NCAA Division I programs) scored 20. Just a Junior, count on hearing plenty of hype about 6’1″ Guard up until the 2020 NBA Draft. Over 3-days, he put-up 78-points and earned MVP honors on the All-Tournament Team.

Meanwhile teammate Isaac Okoro (Auburn) posted a quiet 13 while snatching 10 valuable rebounds when they mattered most.

It was a solid team effort from McEachern. Players stepped up within their roles to launch a comeback and secure the win. And with the victory, McEachern became the first public school to win the championship game since White Station in 2010.

Memphis East Mustangs
Shadow Mountain Matadors (12)

Photo: Ozarks Sports Zone

3rd-Place | Memphis East def Shadow Mountain 74-53

It was a record setting night at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions for 7-foot Senior James Wiseman. The Memphis-bound Forward secured 22 rebounds in the Mustangs victory over Shadow Mountain. That’s a tournament record. In fact, he’ll enter the annals as both single game and tournament rebound leader, snatching 51 boards over three days.

On paper, Shadow Mountain should have won this game. Behind NBA alum Mike Bibby, the Matadors are ranked 12th in the nation. On opening night, they delivered a convincing win over EJ Liddell (Ohio State) and an undefeated 9th-ranked team, Belleville West. But four technical fouls in the previous night’s ugly loss to McEachern left a scar. The Matador Mojo was muddied.

Shadow Mountain’s Jaelen House (Arizona State) picked up another technical, once again arguing calls, and finished the night with 10-points. A far cry from his 31 against Belleville West and 24 against McEachern.

Meanwhile, Wiseman had his best game of the tournament. On top of his record-setting rebound run, Wiseman picked-up 24 points – both above the rim and beyond the 3-point line. Fans finally got their money’s worth from the nation’s top high-school Forward and probable NBA 1st-Round draft pick.

Great Southern Bank
Slam Dunk Contest

Photo: Mercy Sports Medicine

Great Southern Bank Slam Dunk Champion: Micah Monroe | Rainier Beach

Andy Taylor. Stadium Emcee. 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. Slam Dunk Winner Micah Monroe of Rainier Beach
Slam Dunk Champion: Micah Monroe | Ozarks Sports Zone
Winning dunk. Micah Monroe | Rainier Beach. Photo: Ozarks Sports Zone

Belleville West Maroons (09)
Rainier Beach Vikings (23)

Photo: Ozarks Sports Zone

5th-Place | Belleville West def Rainier Beach 72-69

Top recruit EJ Liddell had a rough night against Springfield Catholic Friday night. The Irish held the Ohio State commit to 7-points. He fouled-out with over 3-minutes left on the clock. Not an inspired night.

But Liddell stepped-up for the 5th place game against the 23rd-ranked team in the nation, Rainier Beach. While the Maroons led most of the way, the Vikings launched a comeback in the 3rd behind some stellar shooting from Micah Monroe (he’d go on to win the Great Southern Bank Slam Dunk Contest).

While Rainier Beach got within three, Liddell spread the lead to six with just over a minute remaining. The Vikings simply ran out of time, forced to settle on a 3-point loss and 6th place finish.

For the second night in a row, Lawrence Brazil III was Belleville West’s beast, scoring 25 in the victory. EJ Liddell finished with 20 and 7 rebounds. Rainier Beach’s Kenny Curtis led the Vikings with 21 points.

Springfield Catholic
Parkview Vikings

Photo: Ozarks Sports Zone

7th-Place | Springfield Catholic def Parkview 64-61

Common scene at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: Two local contenders toe-to-toe in Saturday’s 7th place game. That actually says more about the size and caliber of visiting players than it does about talent in town.

After all, Catholic came into the tournament 16-0 and finished within 6-points of the 9th ranked team in the nation Friday Night. The Irish even held Ohio State commit and top-recruit EJ Liddell to just 7-points.

Meanwhile, Parkview is without it’s top player Tyem Freeman, who went down with a torn ACL back in December. The Vikings may have fallen by 14 to Memphis East (featuring the #1 recruit in the nation, 7-foot James Wiseman), and then by 29 to Rainier Beach (the 23rd best team in the nation), but the 1992 Finalists had plenty left in the tank for Springfield Catholic.

At halftime, the Vikings were up by 14 – not exactly what those who attended the annual Blue & Gold Tournament expected. The previously undefeated Irish were getting owned by the public school off South Campbell.

In the 3rd Quarter, Catholic cut the lead to eight – then got red-hot in the 4th. Parkview forced the Irish to earn it, sending Catholic to the free-throw line time and again down the stretch. Earning its final 10-points with clutch buckets after Parkview personals, Catholic scored a 3-point come-from-behind victory.

As he was all weekend, Jake Branham (actively recruited by 4 NCAA Division II programs) was the top Irish scorer with 23-points. Charlie O’Reilly (recruited by Nebraska-Wesleyan and Vassar) backed him up with 16. Meanwhile, Parkview’s top scorer Dontae Taylor (recruited by Missouri S&T and North Arkansas) finished with 21.

Day-2: JQH Arena. Springfield, MO

McEachern Indians (02)
Shadow Mountain Matadors (12)

Photo: Courtside Films

Semifinal | McEachern def Shadow Mountain 73-61

Friday night’s Prime Time Semifinal was physical, weird and ugly. First of all, fuse issues with JQH Arena’s lights paused play on more than one occasion. Rather than wait it out, both teams elected to continue in half light.

Then the 4th Quarter happened.

The game had been a brusier since tip-off, but down the stretch Shadow Mountain felt the calls favored the Indians. Matadors coach and former NBA player Mike Bibby didn’t disagree.

FOUR TECHNICAL FOULS and a player ejection later, the teams basically finished the game strolling from free-throw line to free-throw line. Coach Bibby received his second technical in as many nights, and his Shadow Mountain squad came up short. The Matadors ended the game with 30 fouls, while the #2 team in the nation picked up 18. It was an ugly finish.

Once again, McEachern’s Sharife Cooper (actively recruited by 13 NCAA Division I programs) was a human highlight reel. The Junior drained 31, including 16-for-19 from the free throw line. Isaac Okoro (Auburn) scored 14, while Jarod Jones (Northwestern) contributed 12.

As to be expected, the fiercly competitive Jaelen House (Arizona State) put-up the best numbers for Shadow Mountain, scoring 24…before his Technical Foul ignited the rolling free-throw fest at the end of the night. Javon Blacksher added 16 to the Matadors’ 61.

With victories over undefeated Springfield Catholic and the 12th-ranked Matadors of Shadow Mountainn, the McEachern Indians look to solidify their top-2 ranking with a victory in the championship game tomorrow night.

Not a bad weekend for a public school from Powder Springs, Georgia in its Bass Pro Tournament of Champions debut.

Sunrise Christian Buffaloes (15)
Memphis East Mustangs

Photo: Ozarks Sports Zone

Semifinal | Sunrise Christian def Memphis East 50-34

2019’s first Semifinal game on CBS Sports Network featured the much anticipated clash between a pair of 7-foot behemoths:

  • The top senior recruit in the nation, James Wiseman of Memphis East
  • Sunrise Christian’s Junior big man, N’Faly Dante

By the numbers, Wiseman had a better game, scoring 14 from the floor including a pair of 3-pointers. It wasn’t a stellar performance, though. James went 0-4 from the foul line. In fact, as a team the Mustangs went 1-9 from the line the entire game.

Meanwhile, Dante got into foul trouble early. All credit to Memphis East – the Mustangs held N’Faly to just 4-points – but Dante’s teammates Jalyn Turner and Grand Sherfield (UCLA) picked up the slack. The two combined for 30 of the Buffaloes’ 50 points, lifting Sunrise Christian to a 16-point victory at the buzzer.

With victories over Rainier Beach -23- and now Memphis East (including the top recruit in the nation), the 15th-ranked Buffaloes have earned a spot in the championship game.

Belleville West Maroons (09)
Springfield Catholic

Photo: Randy Kemp

Round-2 | Belleville West def Springfield Catholic 63-57

Unintimidated, Springfield Catholic attacked the defending Illinois State Champs and top-shelf recruit EJ Liddell (Ohio State) in Friday’s second consolation semifinal. Senior Jake Branham (actively recruited by four NCAA Division II programs) scored 24, while the Irish held the Maroons’ stud Liddell to just 7-points.

Catholic went up by two in the 3rd Quarter and kept it within four for most of the 4th. The game became a circus of fouls in the final five minutes. With 3:07 remaining, Liddell scored his fifth personal after a questionable charging call in the lane. Instant ejection. Opportunity.

Unfortuantely, Irish shooting went cold down the stretch. The Maroons sunk nearly every free throw. At the buzzer, Belleville West delivered a 6-point victory behind 21-points from Lawrence Brazil III, earning its spot in Saturday’s 5th-place game.

Rainier Beach Vikings (23)
Parkview Vikings

Photo: BBall Movement

Round-2 | Rainier Beach def Parkview 75-46

In the first Consolation Semifinal of the 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, Parkview held its own through the first half. In fact, the Vikings were up by four with just over 6-minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter…but costly turnovers flipped momentum back to Rainier Beach.

The nightly score-sheet tallied 27 Parkview turnovers, which led to 36 Rainier Beach buckets. Devastating numbers. With Tyem Freeman (Missouri State commit) out with a torn ACL, Parkview’s struggle to find a confident decision-maker during possession continues.

Seattle’s Vikings rallied behind Junior MarJon Beauchamp, who led Rainier Beach in all categories. He finished the game with 19-points, 10-rebounds and 5-assists. Senior Forward Javion Garrett (actively recruited by four NCAA Division-1 programs) backed him up with 14-points.

Day-1: JQH Arena. Springfield, MO

Shadow Mountain Matadors (12)
Belleville West Maroons (09)

Photo: Randy Kemp

Round-1 | Shadow Mountain def Belleville West 75-57

1999 NCAA National Champion Mike Bibby (Arizona) played 14 seasons in the NBA. He retired from the New York Knicks after the 2012 season and returned to his high school alma mater to take over the Shadow Mountain program. The Matadors come into this year’s Bass Pro Tournament of Champions as the #12 team in the country.

Belleville West hadn’t lost a game since the 2017-18 season. Last year’s Illinois State Champions, the 9th-ranked Maroons – behind Ohio State commit EJ Liddell – came into Springfield as one of three undefeated teams.

That all changed after Thursday night’s prime-time clash with the Matadors.

Shadow Mountain’s Senior Guard Jaelen House went on a rampage. The Arizona State commit scored 31-points – 18 from behind the 3-point line. His partner in the backcourt, Javon Blacksher (Grand Canyon) scored 19. Meanwhile, the Matadors held EJ Liddell to a quiet 16-points, handing the Maroons their first loss in nearly a year.

McEachern Indians (02)
Springfield Catholic

Photo: Courtside Films

Round-1 | McEachern def Springfield Catholic 75-42

Springfield Catholic has been the team to beat locally. For the first time in 60-years, the Irish started the season 16-0. Last month, they won the championship game of the Gold bracket in the Blue & Gold Tournament. On Thursday night, Catholic got a chance to see how its talent stacked-up against the #2 team in the nation…

And it was a rough night at the Jenga table.

McEachern was up 19-0 in no time. The Irish didn’t score a bucket until 3-minutes left in the 1st Quarter. Junior Guard Sherife Cooper was unstoppable, scoring 28. While Auburn commit Isaac Okoro put up 16.

Fresh off their championship victory last month at the prestigious City of Palms Classic in Fort Meyers, the Indians remain undefeated. McEachern is one of just a handful of Public High Schools holding its own against (and punishing) the top Prep schools in the country.

Sunrise Christian Buffaloes (15)
Rainier Beach Vikings (23)

Photo: BBall Movement

Round-1 | Sunrise Christian def Rainier Beach 66-45

There are six NCAA Division-1 basketball programs interested in Sunrise Christian’s 7-foot N’Faly Dante. On Thursday night, he proved why. The top Junior Center in the nation went 6-for-6 from the field and scored 18 in the Buffaloes victory over Rainier Beach.

Seniors Austin Crowley and Grant Sherfield (UCLA) backed-up the big man with 15 and 13 points respectively. In a game mired with turnovers (16 for Rainier Beach vs Sunrise Christian’s 12), the Buffaloes were much more efficient at capitalizing on opportunity, picking up 21-points off Viking mistakes.

All eyes are on tomorrow night’s clash between N’Faly Dante and the nation’s top 7-foot Senior James Wiseman of Memphis East.

Memphis East Mustangs
Parkview Vikings

Photo: Courtside Films

Round-1 | Memphis East def Parkview 55-41

The 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions opened with a huge ask for the Parkview Vikings. The fellas from Springfield faced the #1 recruit in the country in 7-foot Senior James Wiseman (Memphis commit).

One of two local teams in this year’s event, Parkview suffered a huge setback in December. The Vikings’ leading scorer Tyem Freeman (Missouri State commit) went down with a torn ACL. Still, the Vikings reached the championship game of the Blue bracket in the annual Blue and Gold Tournament.

In 2019’s opener, Memphis East kept Parkview scoreless for the first 6-minutes, jumping ahead 14-0. In the end, behind Wiseman’s 21-points and 19-rebounds, the Mustangs earned a 14-point victory despite 9 turnovers and just 5-points in the 3rd Quarter.

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2019 All Tournament Team

  • Sharife Cooper, McEachern (MVP) [79-points 28|31|20]
  • Isaac Okoro, McEachern [43-points 16|14|13]
  • ​N’Faly Dante, Sunrise Christian [43-points 18|4|21]
  • Grant Sherfield, Sunrise Christian [35-points 13|14|8]
  • James Wiseman, Memphis East [59-points 21|14|24]
  • Jaelen House, Shadow Mountain [55-points 31|24|10]
  • Jovan Blacksher, Shadow Mountain [48-points 19|16|13]
  • E.J. Liddell, Belleville West [43-points 16|7|20]
  • MarJon Beauchamp, Rainier Beach [30-points 11|19|0]
  • Jake Branham, Springfield Catholic [56-points 9|24|23]
  • Nakai Johnson, Springfield Parkview [38-points 10|15|13]

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THE TEAMS: 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

McEachern Indians -02- (Powder Springs, GA)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: Second Appearance (2009)
  • Currently the #2 MaxPreps team in the nation | City of Palms Champions
  • Undefeated this season (15-0)
  • Isaac Okoro (Auburn)
  • Sharife Cooper (Actively recruited by 13 Division-1 programs)
  • Jarod Jones (Northwestern)
  • NBA alumni: Morris Almond
Belleville West Maroons -09- (Belleville, IL)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: First Appearance
  • Currently the #9 MaxPreps team in the nation
  • Undefeated this season (17-0)
  • E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
  • Will Shumpert (South Dakota Football)
  • Keith Randolph (Actively recruited by 5 Division-1 Football programs)
Shadow Mountain Matadors -12- (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: First Appearance
  • Currently the #12 MaxPreps team in the nation
  • Only one loss this sesason (16-1)
  • Jovon Blacksher (Grand Canyon)
  • Jaelen House (Arizona State)
  • Jalen Williams (Nevada Football)
  • NBA alumni: Mike Bibby (Now coaching the Matadors)
Sunrise Christian Buffaloes -15- (Bel Aire, KS)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: First Appearance
  • Currently the #15 MaxPreps team in the nation
  • Only two losses this season (12-2)
  • N’Faly Dante (Actively recruited by 6 Division-1 programs)
  • Grant Sherfield (UCLA)
  • Jordan Turner (Baylor)
Rainier Beach Vikings -23- (Seattle, WA)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: Second Appearance (2016)
  • In 2016, the Vikings defeated Bishop Gorman, then fell to Oak Hill and Jayson Tatum’s Chaminade squad
  • Currently the #23 MaxPreps team in the nation
  • Only one loss this season (10-1)
  • Marjon Beauchamp (Actively recruited by 6 Division-1 programs)
  • Jamon Kemp. Son of NBA legend Shawn Kemp (Actively recruited by 5 Division-1 programs)
  • Javion Garrett (Actively recruited by 4 Division-1 programs)
  • NBA alumni: Doug Christie, Jamal Crawford, C.J. Giles, Dejounte Murray, Nate Robinson, Terrence Williams
Memphis East Mustangs (Memphis, TN)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: Third Appearance (2017/1993)
  • In 2017, behind coach Penny Hardaway – defeated Greenforest and Montverde Acadamy. Fell in the championship game to Sierra Canyon
  • James Wiseman. Top recruit in the nation (Memphis)
  • Malcolm Dandridge (Memphis)
  • Antonio Thomas (Bradley)
Springfield Catholic Fighting Irish (Springfield, MO)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: First Appearance
  • Ranked #2 in Missouri Class 3
  • Undefeated this season (16-0)
  • Jake Branham (Actively recruited by 4 NCAA DII programs)
  • Charlie O’Reilly (Actively recruited by 2 NCAA DIII programs)
Parkview Vikings (Springfield, MO)
  • Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: 10th Appearance
  • Best performance came in 1992, where the Vikings fell in the Championship game to Monticello (MS)
  • Tyem Freeman. Out with a torn ACL (Missouri State)
  • Latre Morrison (Actively recruited by 3 NCAA DII programs)
  • Dontae Taylor (Actively recruited by 2 NCAA DII programs)