The field is set for the Final Four of the Class 1 state tournament, which will be held on Thursday and Friday at the JQH Arena on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield. The field features three of the four teams that were in the Final Four last year, including defending state champion Platte Valley (then Conception Junction), second-place Dora and third-place St. Elizabeth.
Here is a look at the Class 1 Final Four along with our fearless predictions:
Thursday, March 12 (Semifinals)
Dora (30-2) vs. Platte Valley (28-2), 6:50 p.m. – It will be a rematch of last year’s state championship game, which was won by Platte Valley 75-65 in what many called a big surprise. Both teams have looked strong in getting back to the Final Four. Dora features a high-octane offense as displayed by the 106 points they scored against Delta in the quarterfinals. Class of 2021 guardis one of top bucket-getters in the state. The Missouri-State commit is averaging 30 points a game. The brother trio of 2021 triplets Bryson, Auston and Mason are all averaging in double figures while providing toughness.
Platte Valley returned to the Final Four after a pair of impressive victories over Mound City in the district finals (in overtime) and Princeton in the quarterfinals. Those are the two teams that were able to defeat the Athletics during the season. Platte Valley has a dynamic pair in 6’3″ 2020 guard Clayton Merrigan and 6’6″ 2020 forward. Merrigan plays all five positions for PV while Farnan is a formidable player in the post. Farnan scored 30 points in the state championship game against Dora last year. A pair of valuable role players are Trevor McQueen, Steve Chor and Dalton Luke. Chor scored 14 points in the state championship game last year.
Prediction: Should be another great game. Dora
St. Elizabeth (24-5) vs. Golden City (27-2), 8:30 p.m. – St. Elizabeth returns the Final Four after finishing third last season. They lost an overtime thriller to Dora in the semifinals and would like to take the next step. They have the biggest team in the field, led by 6’8″ 2020 forward, who is a double-double machine. He averages 20 points a game while 6’5″ 2020 forward Brady Heckemeyer averages 14 points and 6’2″ 2020 averages nine. The backcourt pair of Coltin Green and Brock Lucas are also productive. In St. E’s quarterfinal victory over Meadville, they knocked down 10 3-pointers.
Golden City comes in as one of the hottest teams going with its 25 game winning streak. They are led by 5’10″ 2020 guard, who has been a high-level scorer from the moment he arrived as a freshman. The four-year starter has scored more than 2,500 points in his career while averaging more than 20 points a game in all four of his varsity season. However, Golden City is far from a one-man show as 2021 guards Lane Dunlap and Chair Parrill can also fill it up. The 5’9″ Dunlap is averaging 19 points a game, including 30 points in the sectionals against Rich Hill while the 5’9″ Parrill is averaging 16 points a game.
Prediction: St. Elizabeth
Friday, March 13
Third Place, 12:50 p.m. – (Platte Valley over Golden City)
State Championship, 4:30 p.m. – (Prediction: Dora takes the state title)