The 2021 Blue and Gold tournament is here with the four-day event kicking off on the Missouri State University campus this week.
The majority of the region’s top talent will go head to head in search of a Blue and Gold title. There are plenty of stories ahead of the tournament as two programs turn to three rounds.
Here’s what you need to know before the week:
When is the tournament?
The Blue & Gold tournament kicks off Monday with the first round of the Blue and Gold divisions. It’s different from there is a season when they started on different days – when the pandemic disrupted the schedule.
Each round of the tournament will take place in the following days on the campus of Missouri State University. No games will take place this year at Greenwood Laboratory School.
The quarter-finals will take place on Tuesday and the semi-finals on Wednesday. The two championships will be played on Thursday evening at the JQH Arena.
Consolation matches will also be played each day. Check tournament support throughout to see when your favorite team is playing.
Blue Division Support
First round at the Hammons Student Center
- 9:30 a.m. – No.8 Fair Grove vs. Ash Grove
- 11 a.m. – # 1 Nixa vs. Mount Vernon
- 12:30 p.m. – No. 5 Skyline vs. Marshfield
- 2:00 p.m. – # 4 catholic versus intelligent
- 5:00 p.m. – No.7 Branson vs. Mountain Grove
- 6.30 p.m. – # 2 Kickapoo vs. Houston
- 8 p.m. – No. 6 Hartville vs. Reeds Spring
- 9:30 p.m. – No. 3 Willard vs. West Plains
Gold Division Support
First round at the JQH Arena
- 9:30 a.m. – # 8 Willow Springs vs. Central
- 11 a.m. – # 1 Bolivar vs. Aurora
- 12:30 p.m. – # 5 Greenwood vs. Spokane
- 2:00 p.m. – No. 4 Strafford v Camdenton
- 5:00 p.m. – No. 7 Logan-Rogersville vs. Crane
- 6.30 p.m. – # 2 Ozark vs. Lebanon
- 8 p.m. – No. 6 Republic vs. Buffalo
- 9:30 p.m. – Ava # 3 vs. Stockton
News-Leader coverage plan
News-Leader reporter Wyatt Wheeler will not be leaving the Missouri state campus while the winners’ matches are played.
A live blog with match coverage and likely complaints about the horrible and repetitive stadium music will be available for free each day at News-Leader.com.
Wheeler will have a lot more coverage outside of the live blog. There will be features, takeaways, and bonus stories throughout the week.
A “top performers” column will be posted every night while breaking down who has had the biggest games.
Some stories will be behind a paywall. Digital online subscriptions can be purchased for $ 1 for six months of unlimited coverage.
Print readers, please note: The News-Leader does not print an edition on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Day. All coverage can be found immediately on News-Leader.com. Due to our content deadline for the Sunday January 2 newspaper, the Championship cover will not be able to be printed. All championship coverage can be found in the January 3 edition and online immediately following the December 30 games.
Hartville and Greenwood turn to three peat
It is difficult to win a single Blue and Gold title, let alone win it consecutively. But a triptych? Certainly not.
Hartville and Greenwood will attempt to do just that as they enter the tournament after winning the previous two.
It’s going to be particularly difficult with the graduation ceremonies for both teams. When they went back to back, they had continuity on their rosters, including some of the most accomplished players to ever come across the region.
Hartville will look to exit the Blue Division as a No.6 seed with possible clashes against No.3 Willard, No.2 Kickapoo and No.1 Nixa en route to the title game. The Eagles have played well early in the season and should be present in every game they play.
Greenwood is in the Gold Division as a No.5 seed. The Blue Jays have played well early in the season despite losing Aminu Mohammed at graduation. They could see No.4 Strafford, No.1 Bolivar and No.2 Ozark if they had a special race.
Can Jay Osborne add another title before retirement?
Only one coach in the history of the Blue and Gold Tournament has more titles than Nixa head coach Jay Osborne.
Osborne can tie the record this year. It would be fitting as he coaches his final season at Nixa.
The Eagles enter the tournament seeded in the Blue Division. They were in tears to start the season and will be the big favorites to win it with stars like Kael Combs and Colin Ruffin leading the way.
Some of the area’s top talent stand in Nixa’s path, including Zach Howell from Catholic and Zaide Lowery from Kickapoo.
Don’t sleep on Kickapoo as he enters the tournament after a 68-62 win over Ozark in a Blue and Gold number 2 seed battle. Despite losing four players from a state-titled team, the Chiefs are already playing at a high level, with Lowery ranked among the nation’s top rookies.
Nixa would need to defeat Kickapoo in a possible championship. The Eagles haven’t beaten the Chiefs in their last 12 encounters. Nixa’s last victory over Kickapoo came on March 11, 2015, in the state playoffs.
The best players to watch
- Tanner Jones, 2024
- Tommy Pinegar, 2022
- Kael Combs, 2023
- Colin Ruffin, 2022
- Jaret Nelson, 2022
- Zach Howell, 2022
- Liam O’Reilly, 2022
- Ethan Whatley, 2022
- Tyler Harmon, 2022
- Antonio Starks-Fewell, 2024
Potential matches that we look forward to
Note that we are projecting games and some of them will not happen.
Dec. 27 – Opening day
- 9:30 am – No. 8 Willow Springs vs Central – JQH Arena
- 8 p.m. – No. 6 Hartville vs Reeds Spring – Hammons Student Center
December 28 – Quarter-finals (JQH Arena)
- 11:00 a.m. – Catholic # 4 vs. Skyline n Â° 5
- 2 p.m. – Willard No. 3 vs. Hartville # 6
- 6.30 p.m. – Strafford n ââÂ° 4 v Greenwood n Â° 5
December 29 – Semi-finals (JQH Arena)
- 4 p.m. – N Â° 1 Nixa vs. N Â° 4 Catholic
- 7 p.m. – No. 1 Bolivar vs. No. 4 Strafford
- 8:30 p.m. – No. 2 Ozark vs. No. 6 Republic
December 30 – The two championships (JQH Arena)
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist for the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, email [email protected] or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He is also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.