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Grizzlies fall to Moberly in region basketball tournament semifinals

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The 2020-2021 basketball season has come to an end for Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP).

The Grizzlies (13-10) fell to the Moberly Area Community College Greyhounds 96-90 in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 16 Championship Tournament Friday evening. The tournament took place on the campus of Mineral Area College (MAC) in Park Hills.

MAC, ranked No. 2 in the nation, downed the Greyhounds 66-56 in Saturday’s championship contest.

“The guys really battled,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Jared Phay said of his team’s performance Friday. “I thought it was a well-played game by both teams. It was a high-level basketball game.”

The Grizzlies and Greyhounds kept the game close throughout the 40 minutes of play. At halftime, the Greyhounds only held a 47-46 advantage.

The Grizzlies trailed the Greyhounds 88-86 with 1:30 remaining in the game when Moberly’s Jalen Cincore drained a 3-pointer that put the Greyhounds ahead for good.

Grizzly sophomore point guard Martaveon Jones dueled Greyhound point guard Dezi Jones all night. Each scored 35 points for their respective teams in a classic battle.

“Martaveon kept us in it,” Phay said. “He played great and played hard, especially considering I never subbed him out.”

Two other Grizzlies scored in double figures for the evening. Freshman guard James “Scooter” Williams chipped in 18 points while sophomore guard Byron Breland added 15.

All things considered, Phay said he is happy with the season and his team’s efforts.

“This was a challenging season, but I am glad that we had a season. We had some games canceled, some postponed, and we had a grueling stretch to finish the year,” he explained.

“All I could ask of our team was to battle and compete no matter what the circumstances were, and they did that,” he added.

Phay said he has high expectations for next season and knows the Grizzlies will be better.

“We have a good core group of guys coming back, and they learned a lot,” he said. “We saw some of the freshmen play really well down the stretch. We have more time to recruit for next year, so we can add some players who will help us.”

For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit www.msuwpgrizzlies.com or call 417-255-7991.

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