The Cole Camp Bluebirds seem to be set for a championship run at the Stover Invitational boys basketball tournament that starts Saturday in Stover.
The Bluebirds (8-2) enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak, including wins over Tri-County Conference members Blair Oaks, Warsaw and Osage. The Tri-County features mostly Class 3 teams.
Cole Camp will open tournament play against Osage (1-8) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Cole Camp won the teams’ regular-season matchup 63-41 at Osage Beach on Thursday.
Tanner Oelrichs and Michael Brockman have been the Bluebirds’ top scorers this season.
“They’ve done a nice job of putting the ball in the basket. They’ve been shooting well,” Cole Camp coach Tom Ward said. “I’ve (got to credit our) guards on the perimeter. They’re getting in the lanes, drawing their guys (away from Oelrichs and Brockman).”
While Oelrichs and Brockman have led the way, Brendan Rusk, Timothy Ward and Gunner Williams have done their part.
“The kids are sharing well. We’ve averaged 20 assists,” coach Ward said. “We’ve preached to them that if you share the ball, good things are going to happen. I’m proud of our kids who pass up a 20-footer for a teammate to shot a 4- to 6-footer.”
Defense has been another Cole Camp trademark through the first month of the season.
“Defensively, our intensity is very good right now,” Ward said. “It seems whoever we put on the floor, whether it’s zone or man-to-man, is really focused, forcing turnovers and getting in transition.
“If that continues, it could be a fun rest of the year for us.”
Other first-round matchups are No. 3 Holden (5-5) vs. No. 4 Versailles (2-5) at 4 p.m. Saturday and No. 1 Eldon (4-2) vs. No. 6 Stover (2-7) at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The semifinals are set for Jan. 3 with the trophy games scheduled for Jan. 5.
Cole Camp (4-5) is seeded No. 6 in the girls bracket and will open against No. 3 Osage (2-5) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Other first-round matchups are No. 4 Versailles (2-5) vs. No. 5 Iberia at 10 a.m. Saturday, No. 2 Laquey vs. No. 7 Stover (3-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday and No. 1 Eldon (5-2) vs. No. 8 Holden (4-3) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The semifinals are set for Jan. 2, and the trophy games will be Jan. 4.