Top 10 sports stories of 2018
Shore retirement, Lamar win, Purdy Final Four make top 10
1. A son of the district steps down
It is a rare feat these days — not just in education, but especially in coaching — to see a teacher remain with the same school for 20 or more years. Chris Shore, Cassville girls basketball coach, decided that 22 years at the helm of the Lady Wildcats is enough. Shore was 300-264 at Cassville. Overall, the quinquagenarian finishes his basketball coaching career at 309-299.
2. The kick saw around the world
Sophomore kicker Drake Reese booted a 36-yard field goal as time expired to send the Wildcats to a 24-21 win over Lamar in October. The win secured a conference title for Cassville and ended the Tigers’ 57-game winning streak, which was the nation’s longest at the time. Video of the kick circulated wildly on the internet.
3. Eagles roll to the Final Four
It was a ride that will not be soon forgotten as the Purdy basketball team reached the Class 2 Final Four last season. Purdy knocked off Blue Eye, 69-63, and Crocker, 70-64, to reach the championship stage where they finished fourth. A slow start doomed the Eagles against Hayti, eventually resulting in a 63-46 semifinal loss.
4. Girls see more opportunities at Cassville
Two new sports team joined the ranks at Cassville with the addition of girls soccer and girls wrestling. Missouri became just the ninth state to create a girls wrestling division. The soccer team was added after a large number of potential Lady Wildcats indicated in a school survey that they would like to participate if the sport was offered.
5. Two bound for MSSU
Girls basketball in Barry County for the last decade has always been competitive, and 2018 saw two local players head to an area DII college. This year, two of its most decorated players, Madi Stokes, of Cassville, and Layne Skiles, of Purdy, inked national letters of intent to continue their playing careers at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
6. Eagles capture another district title
Joshua Hughes may be the most underrated baseball coach in southwest Missouri. His Eagles won their fifth district title in the last seven seasons with a wild 6-5 win over Pierce City. Purdy also won or shared the conference title in each of those seasons, as well. Gage Brown threw 11 of his 12 pitches for strikes in the bottom of the eighth, stricking out the side to close out the victory.
7. Late exit sends Purdy scrambling
Coaches come and coaches go, but the way Jeremy Dresslear left Purdy caused the district to scramble to find a replacement. Dresslear asked the district in late August to be let out of his contract to take a similar position at Willard. The district honored his wish and hired Ryan Stokes in September after a brief search to head the Eagles for the 2018-2019 season.
8. Tournament titles for Lady Wildcats
The Cassville girls basketball team brought home two tournament titles in the Galena and Southwest tournaments. Coincidentally, the Lady Wildcats defeated Wheaton in both championship matches to claim the titles. They finished the season 22-5 and took second place in the Big 8 but suffered a disappointing first-round loss in district play.
9. Lady Wildcats opts to share Purdy coach
In what was an uncommon move, Cassville schools hired Lori Videmscheck to coach its softball team. Videmscheck’s contract allows her to be a non-faculty coach for the fall season and remain the softball coach at Purdy in the spring. Videmscheck, who lives in Cassville, only serves the district in a coaching capacity.
10. Cassville upgrades facilities
Cassville will soon enhance the viewing pleasure for its fans with new scoreboards for the football, soccer, softball and baseball teams. Some of its scoreboards had been in service for 20 years and replacement parts were no longer being made. The district also painted the gym and installed new bleachers, and the total cost for all the projects was nearly $400,000.