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2001-2002 Archives

This page features Wildcat Central information from earlier in the 2001-2002 school year.

By Lauren Fetters
"Please, please, don't let me trip and fall," Amanda Farley thought as she walked across the gym floor, arm in arm with the soon to be Diamond High School Basketball Homecoming king, senior Ryan Jones.
Amanda didn't trip and fall, and a few moments later, she was crowned 2002 Homecoming queen.
"Being voted in as Homecoming Queen my senior year, by my peers is a very big honor," Amanda said. "I was shocked and excited when my name was announced."
Being a queen candidate alone would be "nervewracking and stressful," as Amanda described it, but imagine having basketball practice at 6:30 a.m., having a complete day at school and then waiting through the junior varsity game for the coronation ceremony to begin. Plus, Amanda was running against her best friend , senior Chelsea Waddell. "It wasn't like Chelsea and I could go get ready together like we normally do," said Amanda.
"At first, it was actually kind of hard to run against each other, but the mood lightened tonight," said Amanda.
"Just being voted to be a candidate was special for my senior year," said senior candidate Chelsea Waddell. "It was hard running against your best friend, I mean no one wanted to lose, but I'm glad Amanda won. She deserves it."

The winners of the Diamond Middle School Student Council's Deck the Halls Contest will be announced during an assembly first hour Thursday. Students who brought decorations were allowed 30 minutes Monday and another half hour Tuesday to decorate the halls with areas designated for eighth graders, seventh graders and sixth graders.
The winning class will receive refreshments second hour on Thursday, immediately following the assembly, which will also recognize clubs, athletic teams, the academic team and Student Council members.
The contest and the assembly are part of the first Christmas Spirit Week for the middle school. Other activities included Hat Day on Tuesday, and Red and Green Day on Wednesday. First quarter honor roll students will be allowed to go Christmas caroling in downtown Diamond following lunch on Friday.

Diamond R-4 Schools will be dismissed at 1:20 p.m. Friday (after fifth hour) for the holiday vacation. Classes will resume Wednesday, Jan. 2.

It took sudden death overtime before the Diamond Middle School Academic Team was finally knocked out of a science bowl competition at Lamar Tuesday night.
After wins over academic powerhouses, including Carl Junction, Coach Larry Augustine's team was beaten by Neosho 6-4 in overtime. Team members playing in sudden death game were: Greg Dodson, Luke Hockman, Alicia Bradley and Casey Patterson. Other team members who participated in the competition were: Chase Sexson, Shane Gallagher, Nick Long and David Stone. More information on the tournament will be featured in a later Wildcat Central update.


By Randy Turner
The death of Dr. Greg Smith, Diamond R-4 superintendent, cast a dark shadow over school districts across southwest Missouri. For the past quarter of a century, Dr. Smith made his mark on the lives of children and educators.
The latest monument to his hard work and faith in the patrons and students of the R-4 School District, the new high school, will open sometime during the spring semester. Dr. Smith spearheaded the drive to pass a bond issue to build the new high school, something that seemed almost impossible since a new high school was built in this school district less than a decade ago.
The way he did it was by finding the right people and then letting them do their jobs. He worked with the R-4 Board of Education to find the right plan, then helped find the people who could convince the public that the plan was needed to increase the educational opportunities for Diamond R-4 students. His job was made all the more difficult because a similar plan had been shot down by voters the year before. Dr. Smith not only had to convince voters that the plan was a good one, he had to convince them that the school district was being operated efficiently and compassionately. The overwhelming vote in favor of the bond issue proves that he met the challenge squarely and won the battle convincingly.
He had faced a similar challenge when he took his first superintendent job, in 1995 in the Sarcoxie R-2 School District. At Sarcoxie, he was able to lead a successful drive to pass a bond issue to build a middle school. He used the same approach there and explained his approach in an interview I conducted with him just after he took that position.
"These are good people in the community," Dr. Smith said. At the schools in Sarcoxie, just as he did in the Diamond R-4 schools, he consulted everyone from the board to the principals to the students and he had faith in his faculty. "This school system has a good faculty," he said about Sarcoxie. "They were doing a pretty good job when I came here and they'll do a good job after I leave." He left the Sarcoxie school system a much better place than he had found it, taking the Diamond job July 1, 1999.
Dr. Smith attended Missouri Southern State College from 1970 to 1975, earning a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. He earned his master's degree from Pittsburg State University in 1981, his specialist's degree from PSU in 1982 and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1984.
He began his educational career teaching sixth grade at Westview near Neosho in 1975. For the next five years, he taught at a Joplin elementary school. He spent 12 years in the Webb City R-7 School District, the first four as principal at Eugene Field Elementary and the next eight as assistant superintendent.
"My educational philosophy is kid-centered," he said during a 1997 interview. "We don't need to be a hurdle, but a help in every way possible." Though he always put the children first, he did not tolerate students who presented the school in a bad light. "I will not tolerate drugs or weapons on campus," he said. "I will not tolerate students fighting or showing disrepect to themselves and others, including faculty and staff." Though he had sympathy for students who came from troubled homes, Dr. Smith always believed that troubled homes was not an excuse for bad behavior. "I believe every person is responsible for their actions," he said. "We all have free will."
For nearly all of his adult life, Dr. Greg Smith devoted his time and effort to making things better for the students, first as a teacher, then as an administrator. The only break came during a two-and-a-half-year period when he took a position with an insurance firm in Joplin. It wasn't burnout with the educational system that led him to leave it for that period, he said, noting it was an opportunity to try something in the business community. He tried it, but during that time he was never able to get education out of his mind or out of his heart.
"What I found out (from his time in the business world) was that I had some people skills which work well in education that I didn't have a chance to use in the private sector." When the superintendent position opened unexpectedly in Sarcoxie after the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, Dr. Smith applied and was hired by the Sarcoxie R-2 Board of Education.
Even though Dr. Smith left Sarcoxie after just two years, people in that school district never spoke ill of him. "You've got yourself a good man in Greg Smith," former R-2 board member Kaare Gjeruldsen said, shortly after Dr. Smith began his tenure at Diamond.
Dr. Smith's return to education played a profound role in an increase of educational opportunities in two school districts. He not only led successful drives to improve the campuses in Diamond and Sarcoxie, but he also stood behind educators who came up with initiatives to improve curriculum and student performance on standardized test scores in both school districts.

Undoubtedly, the Diamond R-4 Board of Education will recognize the important role Dr. Smith played in the lives of the students and faculty in his all-too-brief time here when it names the new school or the new gymnasium at the school. The most important tribute that can be paid to Dr. Smith's memory, however, will be for students, faculty, administrators and the community to work together to make sure that the Diamond R-4 School District remains in the future just as it was when he was superintendent...a safe, caring place where the interests of our young people always come first.


By Randy Turner
For a few brief seconds, Zach Cope restored the lustre of a magnificent Diamond football season Monday night.
The senior, playing in his final game before the largest home crowd he had ever seen, has been the top kickoff return man for Diamond all season. Lockwood had scouted its state quarterfinal opponent well and during the first half squib kicked every time to keep Zach from getting his hands on the ball.
At last, his opportunity came in the third quarter. The game was already out of reach as the visitors had rolled up a 34-0 halftime lead, then increased the margin to 48-0 midway through the third period. With the game safely out of reach, the Lockwood kicker sent the ball directly to Zach, who fielded it at the 14 and began a run that provided the most memorable highlight for Wildcat fans in their first home state playoff game.
Zach caught the ball in mid-stride and immediately darted to his right, headed toward the sideline. He picked up his blocking, pulled away from the last two or three Tigers with any chance of catching him and sprinted down the sidelines. A few seconds later, he crossed the end zone, providing the Wildcats with their only score of the game, and provided the final score 48-6.
It was a bitterly disappointing ending for Zach and his senior classmates as they watched the undefeated powerhouse from Dade County rack up one score after another in the first half. At the outset, it looked as if things might be different as the Diamond offense, a marvel to watch during the past several weeks, operated smoothly and efficiently during the opening drive.
The first kickoff was one of only two previous times that Zach had been allowed to snare a kickoff and he made the most of the opportunity, taking it 27 yards, from the 11 to the 38. After a short gain by senior Skyler Powers, and an incomplete pass, quarterback Rusty Gibbs fired a strike to Zach for a 25-yard gain and a first down.
An 18-yard run by Powers immediately picked up another first down at the Lockwood 20. The next four plays netted only two yards, those coming on a Cody Kelso run, and Diamond turned the ball over on downs.
Lockwood scored on its first possession and never looked back. Diamond picked up good field position on the ensuing kickoff as Zach ran it to the 38, but an interception quickly ended the drive. The Tigers took the ball 27 yards on 3 plays, helped by two Wildcat penalties, to go up 12-0, which was the score at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers added touchdowns on all three of their second-quarter possessions to take a 34-0 lead, then added two more touchdowns and one-point conversions in the third quarter. The Wildcats had only two defensive highlights in the contest. The first came in the opening quarter when sophomore Grant Gibbs broke through the Tiger line and slammed the quarterback to the turf for a six-yard loss.
The second came late in the game with Lockwood facing a fourth-and-four situation and Diamond desperately trying to get one more possession. The quarterback pitched the ball, Zach Cope read the play perfectly and tackled the runner for no gain.
Diamond ended its season with a 6-5 record and reached the state quarterfinals and the state playoffs for the first time. Playing their last games for the Wildcats were seniors Zach Cope, Denton Jones, Skyler Powers, Rusty Gibbs, Kyle Kelso, Jarred Addington and Cody Daniels.

Diamond Middle School Honor Roll students will take the first quarter honor roll trip Thursday afternoon. The students are scheduled to leave the school after third hour, go to Northpark Mall for lunch, then spend the afternoon at Carl Richard Bowl in Joplin, returning to the school by 3 p.m.
Those making the honor roll were:
Eighth Grade- Elizabeth Arnold, Kayla Bass, Taunie Brewer, Casey Brown, Ryan Cosby, Nicki Dame, Michelle Darr, Stephanie David, Greg Dodson, Lauren Fetters, Tia Finley, John Gossard, Luke Hockman, Brandi Johnson, Wendy Lacy, Chad Leuellen, Adam Marney, Amanda McKee, Mikeal Meister, Jeff Morris, Casey Patterson, Darci Price, Carra Shaffer.
Seventh Grade- Alicia Bradley, Amanda Brashear, Dana Bridges, Carrie Castor, Alex Chavana, Ryan Clouse, Kacie Cooper, Lee Ann Dardenne, Katelyn Dodson, Jake Edge, Shane Gallagher, Cameron Harrington, Michael Lane, Nicholas Long, Clinton Myers, Jacob Nelson, Michelle Nickolaisen, Clayton Norwood, Lydia O'Donnell, Kevin Ortega, Leanne Ross, Alyssa Simpson, Spencer Snow, Daniel Stone, Zach Towers.
Sixth Grade- Gram Boman, Jennifer Buening, Lacey Carneal, Caitlin Carter, Amanda Cupp, David Dodson, Daniel Drake, Timothy Enayati, Morgan Fickle, Devin Greenwood, Kelsey Henson, Eli Hicks, Kasey Hockman, Clinton Jones, Jayma King, Laureano Kuri, Tonya Loyd, Krystal Morgan, Amanda Morris, Cody Palmer, Ashley Robinson, Kaci Scribner, Tanner Seward, Sarah Sweet, Stephanie Taylor, Rylee Tomlinson, Courtney Wall, Rebecca Warthen and Jessica Webb.

Students of the Week for the month of October at Diamond Middle School were:
Sixth Grade- Lacey Carneal, Tim Enayati, Courtney Wall.
Seventh Grade- Amanda Brashear, Jake Edge, Priscilla Stalnacker.
Eighth Grade- Alyson Brown, Caleb DeVillier, Betty Thorp.


The 2001 MAP scores for Diamond Middle School, High School and Elementary School are available on the Wildcat Central links page. See the top link on the right hand side, MAP Tests.
The Diamond Middle School football team finished off a great season with a hard-fought battle with Jasper. The Wildcats were led once again by outstanding defensive play by the entire squad. The offense started a little sluggishly without its first string fullback, but once it got some plays under its belt it was back to Wildcat football. Control the clock and power it down the field. Coach Joe Douglas looked as if he was trying to add another dimension to his team with a passing attack. The team responded by running some great routes and Tyler Youngblood did a great job putting the ball on the money. Even though the team didn't have much success, it kept trying. Late in the game, it paid off with a key catch by Tanner Stevens for a two-point conversion.
The running attack was strong once again. Derek Estabrook, the back-up fullback, filled in for the injured Blake Broaddus and had a great game. The pressure was on this young man to do the job and he responded. Tyler Youngblood, the corner post of the Diamond attack, was his usual calm, cool and collected self. He controlled the Wildcat offense like a true captain leading his troops into battle. When the team needed a lift, he gave it to them with long runs and great passing. When the team needed a first down, Coach Douglas responded by calling Tyler's number. "By far, this Diamond team has improved 100 percent from the beginning of the season to now. The team has learned a lot about football over the last 11 weeks and I think the program has taken a positive step forward," Coach Douglas said.
When asked about his defense, Coach Douglas said only two words, "Totally awesome!" The team really came together over the last half of the season. When you hold six teams to under 68 total points for the season you have a strong defense. The team also had three shutouts. I don't know what else to say," said Douglas.
Tyler Youngblood made all the scoring for the Wildcats. He had three rushing touchdowns and kicked two extra points. He also had a hand on the two-point conversion pass. I think Coach Douglas by far had the easiest time picking the offensive player of the game. This week, it was Tyler. As for the defensive player, it was very hard to choose one player. So for the second week, it goes to the full defensive squad.
Coach Douglas just wanted to say thank you to all the guys for the great year and he wanted me to say thank you to all the fans for coming to each and every game. .He also wanted two young men to get special mention, Jeremy Morris and Jordan Douglas. If you didn't happen to get to the game, you missed quite a sight! These two young men worked their tails off being the water boys. Coach Douglas said he didn't know what to think when he yelled for water and his own son and a friend were on the field. Coach Douglas indicated, "I now know what it means to be a proud parent, but I don't know if I'm ready to see him on the field yet.

Members of the 2001 Diamond Wildcats squad included: Derek Estabrook, Cole Shipman, Jeff Morris, Clay Norwood, Tyler Youngblood, Kevin Ortega, Josh Mathews, Colt Griffin, Josh Dresslaer, Dylan Kelley, Blake Broaddus, Colt Drake, Ryan Clouse, Robert Castro, Scott Gill, Caleb Lucas, Tanner Stevens, Luke Hockman and Kalen Allerton.


By Randy Turner
Seven aces in an old west poker game would most likely result in a gunfight. When Diamond seventh grader Leigh Ann Dardenne did it against the Liberal volleyball team Monday night it resulted in a win. Leigh Ann served the final three points in game two of the Wildcats' 13-15, 15-1, 15-10, win. She salvaged the first with a diving dig on a Bulldog spike, then aced the second and third.
The late heroics in game three were provided by the steady Lydia O'Donnell. After the visitors battled back from a 9-4 deficit to tie the game at 10-10, Miss O'Donnell went to work. After she served the point that put Diamond ahead for good, she served point 12 on a nice hit by Katy Dodson that landed just inside the backline. The underhanded server painted the sideline with an ace to put the Wildcats up 13-10, then she did it again to build on the margin. Her third straight ace, a beauty that dropped behind the Bulldog defense closed out Diamond's second straight win.
O'Donnell and Dardenne led the Wildcat servers with 10 points apiece. O'Donnell saved the best for last as her three aces at the end of game three were her only three of the match.
It was a courageous comeback win for the Wildcats, who blew a 13-7 game-one advantage. The Wildcats dominated game two, scoring the first seven points on two straight Dardenne aces, and an impressive serving display by Thia Wiggins, who added the third through sixth points with a dazzling array of aces. Dana Bridges served the seventh point before Liberal was able to stop the run. Diamond then scored the final eight points with Kacey Cooper serving two points, Alyshia Bowles two and Dardenne serving the final three.
Diamond will conclude its season tonight (Tuesday) at the Seneca Tournament.
Diamond- Points- Dardenne 10, O'Donnell 10, Bowles 7, Wiggins 4, Bridges 3, Amanda Brashear 3, Dodson 2, Cooper 2, Whitney Booyer 1, Simpson 1; Ace serves- Dardenne 7, Bowles 5, Wiggins 3, O'Donnell 3, Bridges 2, Cooper 1, Simpson 1.


By Randy Turner
The elusive 15th point never came for the Diamond eighth grade volleyball team in its season-ending 15-6, 16-14, loss to Liberal Monday night.
Six serve points by Amanda McKee and four by Casey Brown had led the Wildcats to a 14-6 lead, but the Bulldogs held off game point four times. It appeared that Diamond had momentum when Ricki Fountain dropped a dink on the befuddled Liberal defense and brought number one server Katy Hext to the line, but Liberal managed a sideout. The Bulldogs cut the advantage to 14-9, before Diamond earned another sideout and put the line-driving McKee at the line. Her serve, as usual, was a buzzsaw that barely cleared the net, but Liberal was able to return it and a Diamond error put the serve back in the visitors' hands.
Liberal failed to score as its serve came nowhere near the net. Fountain's serve was good but the Wildcats were unable to score on it. The Bulldogs scored the final seven points.
The late surge overshadowed some fine performances by Diamond players, including some clutch serves by the Wildcat serving specialist Brittany Busse, who served the 13th point, on a McKee dink, then aced the 14th. McKee had three kills, two coming on well-placed dinks and the other on a spike, while Darci Price, Betty Thorp and Fountain each had one kill.
The Wildcats continued to show considerable improvement in all facets of the game, getting the bump, set, spike routine down consistently for the first time all season. Keys to the success were the steady net play of Lauren Fetters and strong backline play by McKee and Brown.
Diamond- Points- Hext 6, McKee 6, Busse 4, Brown 4; Kills- McKee 3, Price 1, Thorp 1, Fountain 1; Ace serves- Busse 2, Brown 2, Hext 1, McKee 1.


By Randy Turner
The biggest serve in Alyssa Simpson's fledgling volleyball career came at the end of game three of the Diamond seventh grade's 16-14, 10-15, 15-12, win over Granby Thursday night. As she stepped to the line, her team, seeking its first win of the season, had its sixth chance to score match point.
When Diamond grabbed a 13-3 lead in game three on a Whitney Booyer serve, it appeared Granby was almost out of gas. When Alyshia Bowles blistered the Cardinal defense with a high, twisting ace to make it 14-5, it looked as if it were time for the Granby driver to get the bus started. Then the Wildcat momentum grinded to a virtual halt. The next seven points went to the visitors. If Alyssa couldn't get her serve over and her teammates help get that last point to touch the floor, they might be headed toward another loss in what has been a frustrating season.
Alyssa eyed the ball, visualized her serve, tossed it in the air, then smacked it solidly. It floated over the net. It wasn't an ace, but the Cardinals were unable to get it back over the net in their three hits and the Diamond celebration began.
Alyssa Simpson's serve ended the frustration, but it was a team effort that finally knocked down Granby.
It started in game one when Granby took a 12-9 lead. Brashear will power enabled the Wildcats to find back. Amanda Brashear served the 10th point, when a Cardinal was called for being in the net, the 11th on a Booyer spike and tied the game when Granby bumped the ball out of bounds. Brashear, who scored seven points in game one, then served the go-ahead point. Granby earned a sideout, then scored two points to move to within a point of victory.
The Cardinals failed to capitalize as the serve on match point sailed beyond the end line. Lee Ann Dardenne served the tying point as Lydia O'Donnell knocked the ball into an unguarded backcourt area. She then served the tying point and after two sideouts, O'Donnell administered the knockout punch with a line-drive ace.
After Granby took game two, Diamond immediately bounced back in the deciding contest. Bowles served the first point. After three Granby points, Diamond began whittling away at the lead. A Booyer ace made it 3-2. Brashear served the tying and go-ahead points. then Dardenne served two more, including an ace. The steady O'Donnell, the match's top server with 13 points, including five aces, served three of those aces during a six-point spree that put her team within shouting distance of a win.
After the service points by Booyer and Bowles put Diamond within a point of victory, the Wildcat volleyball machine stopped, except for an occasional bright play, such as the defensive stop made by Katy Dodson, which gave Diamond one of its sideouts and a Dardenne spike.
Diamond will be at home at 5 p.m. Monday against Liberal. It will be the final home match.
Diamond- Points- O'Donnell 13, Brashear 9, Dardenne 6, Bowles 4, Simpson 3, Booyer 2, Thia Wiggins 2, Dodson 1, Dana Bridges 1; Kills- Booyer 1, Dardenne 1; Ace serves- O'Donnell 5, Bowles 4, Brashear 3, Dardenne 2, Wiggins 2, Bridges 1, Dodson 1, Booyer 1.


By Randy Turner
Spectacular serving performances by Katy Hext and Amanda McKee were not enough as the Diamond eighth grade volleyball team fell to Granby 15-10, 15-12, Thursday night in the next-to-last home match of the season.
The torrid twosome combined for 17 of Diamond's 22 service points. Hext served 11 points, including two aces, and McKee had six points, including a pair of wicked line drives that barely registered on the radar screen as they cleared the net by inches, then divebombed to the floor.
Hext's steady serving propelled the home team to leads in both games. She served the first two points in game one, then McKee served the third before Granby could get on the scoreboard. Serve points by Ricki Fountain and Brittany Busse, with Busse's being an ace made it 5-2, before Granby began to gather momentum. The Cardinals scored the next seven points to grab a four-point advantage. Diamond took one more lead, thanks to Hext who served the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th points, the seventh coming on a leaping kill by Casey Brown. The 10-9 advantage was the last for Diamond in game one as the Cardinals scored the final six points.
The pattern was repeated in game two with Hext serving her squad into the lead with four points, ending her run with back-to-back floater aces. The Cardinals served the next four points to tie the game, but by the time they did so, the rotation had come around to McKee's turn and the talented Miss McKee was on her serving game Thursday night, she served the next three points, including a wicked line-drive ace to give Diamond a 7-4 lead. McKee missed only one serve against Granby and appeared several times to be on the verge of going on a run, but the Diamond defense had breakdowns on each occasion.
Fountain served the eighth and ninth points to build the lead to five. Granby went on a seven-point run to grab the lead. The visitors never fell behind the rest of the way, though they were tied twice at 11-11 when McKee riddled their defense with her two guided missiles and at 12-12 on a Brown ace before Granby served out the match.
Diamond will play in a tournament at Seneca Saturday, then will conclude the home slate with a match against Liberal Monday night.
Diamond- Points- Hext 11, McKee 6, Fountain 3, Busse 1, Brown 1; Kills- Brown 1, McKee 1; Ace serves- McKee 3, Hext 2, Brown 1, Busse 1.


By Randy Turner
Football is a game of field position and during the second quarter of the Diamond Middle School football team's 13-0 win over Sarcoxie Monday night, it was the visiting Bears who had it.
They earned it the old-fashioned way, with a 17-play drive that began with 4:15 left in the first quarter and lasted until midway through the second. The drive, mostly accomplished via a rugged ground game, took the visitors from their own 35 to a first and goal just inside the 10. On first and goal, Scott Gill tackled the runner, limiting him to two yards. After a second down play was stopped for no gain, the Bears called a timeout. A third down play also netted two yards and set the stage for the first of two major fourth-down plays for the Wildcat defense.
Diamond dodged a bullet, thanks to an overthrown pass in the end zone, but the successful stand left the Wildcats deep in their own territory and without their best running back, Blake Broaddus, who sprained an ankle early in the first quarter.
After three plays from scrimmage gained negative two yards, the Wildcats were forced to punt from their own end zone. The punt was blocked and Sarcoxie, with 1:57 left in the half, had another first and goal, this time at the 8. Diamond's 6-0 lead, established in the first possession of the game on a 15-yard pass from Tyler Youngblood to Tanner Stevens, was in jeopardy.
When a first down play took the ball to the 5, it appeared there was nothing that was going to stop Sarcoxie from either tying the game or taking the lead. The next play was stopped for only one yard, leaving it third and goal from the four. Colton Drake was the hero on the next play nailing the Bear runner after a two-yard gain. Sarcoxie called a timeout with 38 seconds left.
Scott Gill was ready on the next play. If the runner came his way, he was going to do everything he could to keep him from crossing the goal line. The ball was snapped and the play was headed Scott's way. The big guy lowered his center of gravity as he threw himself at the ballcarrier, who was rapidly approaching touchdown territory. The two made contact...the referee blew his whistle. The runner had been stopped inches short of the goal line. The Diamond defense had held once again.
The Wildcats were not out of the woods yet. They would have to snap the ball once and any misstep could erase everything the defense had accomplished. Youngblood was not going to allow that to happen. The savvy quarterback took the snap, leaned forward and the half ended with Diamond clinging to its precarious 6-0 lead.
The second half reinforced the old cliche about football begin a game of field position, only this time it was the Wildcats who had control. They took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and didn't relinquish possession until less than two minutes remained in the quarter. Coach Joe Douglas's squad marched the ball from its own 33 to the Sarcoxie 25, with key plays including a nine-yard pass from Youngblood to Jeff Morris, an 18-yard Youngblood run in which he broke three tackles and another 10-yard run by the quarterback. The drive stalled at the 12, but left Sarcoxie in poor field position.
The Bears were not able to improve their outlook any. It was three plays and out. On the first play, Youngblood and Kalen Allerton combined to tackle the quarterback after he was flushed out of the pocket by Josh Dresslaer and Clayton Norwood. After a two-yard gain and an incomplete pass, Youngblood returned a punt from the Sarcoxie 45 to the 6. That possession was plagued by incomplete passes and penalties and ended with a fumble, which was recovered by Sarcoxie.
The Bears had matched Diamond's two goal-line stands. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were going to have to try it for a third time. On first down, Morris and Ryan Clouse combined to stop a run after a four-yard gain. Colton Drake stopped the next play for no yardage. The Bears fumbled on third down but smothered the ball. Another fumbled on fourth down proved to be their undoing. They recovered the ball, but on the one and the ball was turned over on downs. It took only one play for the Diamond offensive line to blow away Sarcoxie to enable Youngblood to plunge easily into the end zone. Youngblood kicked his second extra point of the season to improve Diamond's lead to 13-0.
The next series of downs included two lessons in courtesy taught by the ever-polite Clayton Norwood. On first and third down, Norwood chased down the quarterback, then politely introduced him to the cold, hard Diamond ground, for a combined loss of 11 yards.
Coach Douglas named the entire defensive unit as defensive players of the week. Offensive players of the week were Youngblood, Morris, Stevens, Dresslaer and Allerton.
The Wildcats, 4-1, will conclude their season Thursday night at Jasper.


The Diamond High School cross country team took first place at the Purdy Invitational, which was held at Monett on Sept. 27. Diamond had three of the top 10 runners, with sophomore Matt Harp placing third, senior Seth Bingman placing fifth and junior Justin Lane finishing sixth.
Diamond scored 40 points, beating Monett with 42, Wheaton 69, Ash Grove 92, Shiloh Christian 125 and Morrisville 135.
Diamond Middle School also competed with three runners placing. Michael Lane finished second with a time of 9:27. Zach Towers placed fifth at 9:28 and Samantha Vincent placed seventh at 11:50.
Places and times for Diamond High School runners were: 3. Harp, 18:25; 5. Bingman, 19:13; 6. Lane, 19:33; 13. Deke Beckett, 20:11; 21. Josh Beckett, 20:50; 27. Kyle Bridges, 21:17; 28. Matt Sutherland, 21:22.
Those running in the B meet and their places were: 6. Korey Scribner, 22:16; 14. Chris Jinks, 23:48; 16. Casey Crane, 23:56; 17. Tracy Killion, 24:06; 18. Shawn Buzzard, 24:11; 24. Jordan Macy, 26:18; 25. Elliott Sutherland, 27:26; and 26. Zach Billings, 27:35.
High school and middle school cross country competitors will be at Wheaton for the Ozark 8 Conference Meet Tuesday, Oct. 2.


By Randy Turner
Even when things didn't go exactly as planned, they worked out just fine for Diamond Middle School quarterback Tyler Youngblood during his team's 43-6 win over Liberal Thursday night.
Case in point, the conversion attempt after the Wildcats' scored their fourth touchdown. The snap for the kick was fumbled, but Tyler grabbed the ball and tore into the end zone for two points.
Or how about the conversion after the third touchdown. Tyler kicked the extra point...right at the crossbar...but it hit and gently rolled over to increase the home team's lead to 23-6.
The only reason it's so easy to point out things that went slightly astray in Tyler's game is because it is much harder to count all the plays on which the quarterback and his teammates executed to perfection.
The defense, for the second straight game, held the opposition scoreless. Liberal's only touchdown came on the opening play of the game, against Diamond's special teams unit, an 80-yard kickoff return. After that, it was all Diamond.
After Kalen Allerton ran the Liberal kickoff back to the Diamond 44. It only took the Wildcats four plays to score. Fifteen-yard runs by Blake Broaddus and Clayton Norwood took the ball to the 26. After a four-yard Broaddus gain, Broaddus took it the remaining 22 yards into the end zone, weighted down by the three Bulldog tacklers he was carrying on his back.
A pitch to Youngblood for the two-point conversion put Diamond ahead for good.
It was three and out for the visitors, thanks to a Jeff Morris tackle that stopped a run for no gain, then a pitch that was stopped for a six-yard loss by Kevin Ortega and Derek Estabrook.
Broaddus took up right where he left off during the first drive, opening the Wildcats' second possession with a 16-yard run, which put the locals into enemy territory. Youngblood fooled the defense on the next play with a deft handoff then rambled around end for 19 yards. After three plays netted no yardage, a razzle-dazzle fourth-down play set the stage for Diamond's second touchdown.
Youngblood pitched to Broaddus, who faked a run, came to a stop and fired a strike back to Youngblood for a 15-yard gain and first and goal at the 8. After that, it took only two plays to score, a six-yard Norwood run, then a two-yard keeper by Youngblood. A little more razzle-dazzle improved the Wildcats' lead to 16-6, as they faked the extra point kick. Youngblood rolled out and spotted tight end Tanner Stevens more alone in the end zone than a bearded lady at a homecoming dance. He fired a strike to Stevens to make it a 10-point advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Diamond added two more touchdowns in the first half, the first coming on a 16-yard Broaddus run, set up by a 29-yard pass from Youngblood to Stevens. Youngblood's 40-yard punt return increased the margin to 29-6. The two-point conversion made it 31-6 at halftime.
The Wildcats added two more touchdowns in the second half. Youngblood picked up his final score on a 65-yard run. Estrabrook's one-yard plunge, set up by his own 22-yard run and a facemask penalty closed out the scoring.
The line, which opened the holes for the Wildcats' explosive offense, was named Offensive Player of the Week. Players cited were: Robert Castro, Kevin Ortega, Colton Drake, Ryan Clouse and Cole Shipman. Estabrook was named defensive player of the week by Coach Joe Douglas.
The Wildcats, 3-1, will entertain Sarcoxie at 6 p.m. Monday.


The Diamond Middle School cheerleaders helped root their football team on to victory Thursday night. Cheerleaders on the sidelines for the game included: Kacee Baldwin, Casey Welch, Nicki Dame, Alex Chavana, Amanda Brashear and Brittany Barwick.


By Randy Turner

The Diamond eighth grade volleyball team fell 15-1, 15-5, to Sarcoxie Monday night.
The Wildcats scored only one point, a floater ace by Katy Hext, at the beginning of game one, and then watched as the Bears scored the next 15 points. Diamond was able to gain five sideouts, but couldn't capitalize on any of them.
Game two offered more of the same, starting exactly the same way, on a Hext ace. It appeared that things were going the Wildcats' way when Amanda McKee served an ace to put Diamond up 2-0. After three Sarcoxie points, Diamond tied the game with Brittany Busse serving. Busse then served the Wildcats into the lead with an ace that landed just inside the back line. Diamond scored only one more point, with McKee serving.
The seventh grade team fared slightly better, losing 15-8, 15-8. Sarcoxie took big leads at the beginning of both games and the locals were never able to recover. In the first game, the Bears grabbed an 8-0 lead before Leigh Ann Dardenne served three points, including two floater aces that barely cleared the net. After a pair of sideouts, Dana Bridges served an ace to trim the margin to 8-4. A couple of Kacey Cooper serve points later cut the lead to 9-7. Diamond scored only one more point, with Alyssa Simpson serving, when Dardenne returned a Bear hit and it bounced off a defender and went out of bounds.
In game two, Sarcoxie took a 10-0 lead. Diamond battled back with Thia Wiggins dealing three straight aces. Cooper served the next three points, but Diamond scored only twice more, on serve points by Alyshia Bowles and Simpson.
The seventh and eighth grade volleyball teams will play at Jasper Thursday night.
Diamond Eighth- Points- Hext 2, Busse 2, Casey Brown 1, McKee 1; Kills- McKee 1; Ace serves- Hext 1, Brown 1, Busse 1.
Diamond Seventh- Cooper 5, Wiggins 4, Dardenne 3, Simpson 2, Bridges 1, Bowles 1; Aces- Wiggins 3, Cooper 3, Dardenne 2, Bridges 1, Simpson 1, Bowles 1.

By Randy Turner
It would have been just as easy for Stephanie David to let the ball hit the floor. Her Diamond eighth grade volleyball team had already lost game one to Seneca 15-1 Thursday night and was trailing 14-4 in game two. If the ball hit the floor, the match was over. And that's exactly where the ball was headed.
The Seneca server launched a low line drive missile that barely cleared the net before divebombing toward the floor. Stephanie didn't have time to think, only to react and that's exactly what the bespectacled Miss David did. She flung her body to the floor, dipping her hands under the ball and lifting the ball over the net and into an unguarded section in the middle of the Indian defense. Side out Diamond.
It would have been nice if Stephanie's disregard for life and limb had resulted in a come-from-behind victory for the Wildcats. It didn't. It didn't even result in another point. Seneca quickly earned a sideout and when it had the serve again, shut down Diamond for good 15-4.
The message sent by Stephanie and by the other Wildcats, including Amanda McKee and Darci Price, who also took wood shampoos diving for balls during those last few points was a simple one...no matter what the score, Diamond doesn't quit playing until the 15th point touches the floor.
The points weren't plentiful for the Wildcats Thursday night. After Seneca took a 2-0 lead in game one, McKee scored Diamond's only point on an ace serve.
Katy Hext gave Diamond its only serve at the outset of game two with an ace serve. She collected two aces among her team-high three serve points.
Diamond- Points- Hext 3, McKee 1, Ricki Fountain 1; Ace serves- Hext 2, Fountain 1, McKee 1.

By Randy Turner
Nice serve runs by Lydia O'Donnell and Kacie Cooper were the main highlights for the Diamond seventh grade volleyball team in its 15-8, 15-5, loss to Seneca Thursday night.
After the Indians grabbed an 8-2 lead in game one, O'Donnell scored five straight points to pull the Wildcats to within a point. Diamond only scored one more time, on a Leigh Ann Dardenne ace, the rest of the game.
The Wildcats took their only lead of the match early in game two, after falling behind 2-0. Cooper served four points, including three consecutive aces to give her squad a two-point advantage. Seneca outscored the host team 13-1 the rest of the way. Diamond scored its only remaining point after getting a sideout with the score 14-4, thanks to two Alyssa Simpson volleys. Whitney Booyer nailed a blistering ace that landed just inside the back line.
Diamond- Points- O'Donnell 5, Cooper 4,Dardenne 2, Thia Wiggins 1, Booyer 1; Kills- Cooper 1; Ace serves- Cooper 3, Dardenne 2, Booyer 1.


By Randy Turner
If the best things come in small packages, then the Diamond Middle School football team was doubly blessed Monday night in its 32-0 home opener victory over Lockwood.
Jeff Morris, who Walt Disney would have had whistling while he worked, help set up one Wildcat touchdown with a wicked block that put a much taller (and wider) Tiger out of commission. Morris also had an interception.
One series of downs in the second half though belonged to another Lilliputian local, Kalen Allerton. With Diamond already leading 18-0 midway through the third quarter, Allerton used his deceptive size disadvantage to sneak under a defender and snare the pass, giving the Wildcats a first down at the Lockwood 18. After the first play lost two yards, Blake Broaddus, with another stellar performance, almost singlehandedly made sure the next play gained yardage. Broaddus ripped through several tacklers getting all the way to the two before he lost control of the ball. As it rolled into the end zone, the ever-alert Allerton smothered it with his body for the touchdown.
The little guys provided some of the highlights, but everyone got into the fun for Coach Joe Douglas's squad as it improved its record to 2-1. Quarterback Tyler Youngblood took advantage of two key blocks and his own speed for a pair of big gains that eventually led to touchdowns. One came on a punt return. It appeared that the visitors were going to nail Tyler in Wildcat territory when Tanner Stevens executed a perfect block to open up some open ground. And when Tyler Youngblood sees open space he knows how to take advantage of it. He returned the punt to the Lockwood 30, setting up his team's second touchdown, a 10-yard Clay Norwood run.
It was a virtual block party for Diamond as key blocks set up nearly all of its scores. The Wildcats scored on their first possession of the game, marching the ball 40 yards in six plays, with Youngblood making a pivotal 29-yard run. After Broaddus bulled his way for eight yards to the 23, he picked up the key block that sprang Norwood open for a 23-yard scoring run. The extra point attempt failed.
Lockwood went nowhere on its next possession, with Youngblood's punt return and Stevens' block setting up the second touchdown late in the first quarter.
A couple of Colt Griffin stops highlighted Diamond's next defensive stand, as he sniffed out a reverse and stopped it for no gain, then clogged up the middle to stop a Tiger runner for negative yardage.
Morris's interception, his first of the season after returning from an arm injury stopped the Tiger drive. Diamond added its third touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half with Morris's bonecrunching block springing Youngblood for a 27-yard gain. A pitch to Norwood netted eight, then Youngblood broke two tackles and clawed his way to the eight, a 12-yard gain and first and goal.
After a five-yard run by Norwood, Youngblood handed off to him again and he took it in for his third touchdown. For the third time, the conversion attempt was no good and the Wildcats led 18-0 at halftime.
Allerton's interception on Lockwood's first possession of the second half set up his own touchdown. This time, Diamond was successful on a two-point conversion play, setting up a fake kick then allowing the kicker, Youngblood to roll to his right. The lefty fired a bullet to Stevens in the corner of the end zone to build the lead to 26-0.
It only took Diamond one play to score on its next possession as Broaddus, starting from the Wildcat 40, juked a few would-be tacklers, carried a few more along with him and finally broke free and rambled into the end zone for the 60-yard touchdown, making it 32-0.
Lockwood had two more opportunities to break the shutout. Key defensive plays for Diamond included Caleb Lucas stopping a run for a one-yard loss, Josh Dresslaer knocking down a pass, a sack for a two-yard loss by Scott Gill, then on the final play of the game Allerton and Morris, the same tiny titans who helped key the victory converged around the ball to prevent a completion deep in Diamond territory.
Wildcat Notes: Broaddus led a balanced running attack with five carries for 92 yards. Norwood carried 11 times for 79 yards and Youngblood three times for 68 yards....Youngblood completed one of five passes for eight yards. Dresslaer had that reception....Diamond, 2-1, will play host to Liberal 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.


By Randy Turner
It was the perfect combination for the Diamond eighth grade volleyball team. Its best server, Amanda McKee, was on the line. As usual, Amanda's serve zipped past the net, only inches above it, sending her opponents into paroxysms of fear. Somehow, Sarcoxie managed to return it and the ball was headed for Stephanie David in the middle of the back row. Stephanie, getting her first start, was up to the task. She made the pass to setter Lauren Fetters, who put up a pinpoint set for Diamond's spiking queen Ricki Fountain. Sarcoxie managed to dig out Ricki's spike, but a few moments later, the Bears committed a spiking error and another point was recorded in the Diamond column.
It was the fifth of six the Wildcats scored for Coach Shirley Gollhofer at the beginning of game two of their 15-3, 15-6 loss Friday night. The first point in that spree was served by Katy Hext. After a pair of sideouts, the McKee machine began to grind out the points. Her first serve was a line drive ace that split the Bear defense. A net call against the visitors made it 3-0, then some miscommunication between two Sarcoxie players increased the Diamond lead to four. After that fifth point, which included nearly every member of the Wildcat squad, Sarcoxie called a timeout to break McKee's rhythm.
It didn't work.
When play resumed, she served her fifth straight point before the Bears finally managed a sideout. Unfortunately, that was the last point the home team scored, despite some hustling play from McKee, Fetters and Maggie Bowman. whose backline play was the best it has been this year. She received three Bear serves perfectly, making the pass to the setter each time.
Diamond also had a brief lead in game one, thanks to its spiking game. Sarcoxie had the first serve, but failed to score thanks to a Fountain kill from a McKee set. Fountain's kill on a Bear hit that came too close to the net accounted for Diamond's first point, while McKee aced the second.
Diamond- Points- McKee 7, Casey Brown 1, Hext 1; Kills- Fountain 2; Assists- McKee 1; Ace serves- McKee 2, Hext 1.
Two wicked serves by Thia Wiggins were the main highlights for the Diamond seventh grade volleyball team in its 15-12, 15-6, loss to Sarcoxie Friday night. The first serve was a brusin, cruisin' hope they have insurance if they're snoozin' ace serve. The second one bounced off teammate Lydia O'Donnell, but...oh, well, that's the breaks.
The young Wildcats stayed with Sarcoxie through game one, taking leads of 8-7 behind three serve points, including a pair of aces by O'Donnell, 9-8 on a Kacie Cooper floater ace, which was increased to 10-8 on a nice hit by Alyssa Simpson. After a four-point Sarcoxie run, the Wildcats battled back to narrow the gap to one point, 11-12, on a Leigh Ann Dardenne ace, then to tie the game at 12-12 on Wiggins' ace.
The second game was all Sarcoxie after Cooper gave Diamond an initial 2-0 advantage with a pair of underhanded ace serves. The Bears scored the next seven points before an O'Donnell ace broke the string. The Diamond seventh and eighth grade teams will play host to Seneca on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Diamond- Points- O'Donnell 7, Cooper 5, Dardenne 4, Wiggins 2; Ace serves- O'Donnell 5, Dardenne 3, Cooper 3, Wiggins 1.


The Diamond Wildcats football team came out like a house of fire Thursday night during its 53-20 loss to Stockton. Picking up right where they left off at Pierce City, the Cats scored 20 unanswered points in the first quarter. It seemed too good to be true. Everything Diamond did worked.
During the first series of the game, the Cats stopped the Tigers for three plays of no gain. On the next play, the Wildcats' Clay Norwood blocked the punt and scooped the ball up and raced 25 yards for the open touchdown. "It was an unbelievable play by this young man to block it and then get it to the end zone for six," Coach Joe Douglas said. The two-point try was stopped short and the Cats went on defense. Once again, the team set up the block and the Tigers couldn't get it though.
After a great return by Tyler Youngblood, the offense got to show what it could do. The Wildcats walked the ball right down the field and scored on a 26-yard run by Clay Norwood. It looked to be an off-tackle play that he took the sideline and into the house. The two-point try by a combination of players, Norwood to Youngblood, was good.
The defense once again took the field and once again the curtain was pulled down and the Stockton offense didn't make anything. Once again, Youngblood had a great kick return and got the ball down to about the 25-yard line. The Wildcat offense went on the field and controlled the game with its set down offense. Blake Broaddus scored on a six-yard run and the two-point try was stopped short.
From that point on, the Wildcat offense and defense ran into difficulties. The Tigers, with 55 players on their roster, put a new team on the field at the beginning of each quarter. Despite that, Coach Douglas said, "The guys on the Wildcat team left everything they had plus more out on the field last night. We are beat up, but we will be ready to go against Lockwood. Don't get me wrong," he added, "we had some good points after the first quarter."
Among those were a fumble recovery and a key interception by Tanner Stevens. "We just couldn't get anything rolling that second half," Coach Douglas said. "But one thing this Wildcat team didn't do was roll over and die. Every time the Tigers knocked them down, the Wildcats picked themselves up and got right back in the fight. I tell you one thing. I'm proud of each and every one of these guys. They gave me everything they had and a little more. We will be ready to open our home games with Lockwood so come on out and watch these guys give their all."
Players of the game were Clay Norwood on offense and Blake Broaddus on defense. "Clay ran the ball hard," Coach Douglas said, "and Blake made tackles from sideline to sideline."


The Diamond High School cross country team took third in a meet at Monett Sept. 11.
In the "A" run, junior Matt Harp placed seventh with a time of 18:55. Senior Seth Bingman finished 15th at 19:27, sophomore Kent Patrick 16th at 19:28, junior Justin Lane 19th at 19:46, junior Deke Beckett 34th at 21:08 and senior Chris Jinks 52nd at 24:36.
In the "B" run, 2.1 miles, sophomore Casey Crane placed 42nd at 18:08, sophomore Tracy Killion 52nd at 19:25, junior Shawn Buzzard 60th at 20:56 and junior Elliott Sutherland 63rd at 22:36.
In the ninth grade run, 2.1 miles, Josh Beckett finished second at 15:56, Matt Sutherland 11th at 17:17, Kyle Bridges 14th, 17:41; Korey Scribner 15th, 17:51; Zach Billings, 17th, 19:00; and Jordan Macy, 19th, 20:17.
Diamond's next meet will be Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Nixa.


By Randy Turner
That first win remained elusive for the Diamond eighth grade volleyball team as it fell to Granby 9-15, 15-12, 15-11, Monday night.
After winning game one, the Wildcats were able to grab leads in each of the following games, but were unable to close out the match.
The opening game was a solid one for the locals as they received four service points apiece from Katy Hext and Casey Brown and three from Amanda McKee. Hext opened the game with four points, including a pair of aces, then following a Granby point, McKee kept up the onslaught, riddling the Cardinals with two more bullets, including a shakin' bakin', their wills they'll be makin' ace serve to make it 6-1. Granby was able to trim the deficit to 8-5 before Brown went on a three-point spree and Ricki Fountain and Brittany Busse served out the game.
Diamond appeared to have the bus warming up as game two begin. McKee and Fountain dealt two aces apiece to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead. A point by Busse and two by Brown, one of those coming on a Darci Price hit built the advantage to 7-1. After that it was all downhill to Diamond, which lost 15-12 despite a late comeback.
The Wildcats again took the early lead in game three, 2-0, behind McKee's two aces. After four Granby points, Fountain gave the visitors their last lead, serving five points, including three aces to make it 7-4.
Diamond- Points- McKee 11, Fountain 10, Brown 7, Hext 6, Busse 3, Price 1; Kills- Fountain 2, McKee 1, Brown 1; Assists- McKee 1; Ace serves- McKee 9, Fountain 9, Hext 2, Brown 2, Busse 1.
The seventh grade dropped to 0-2 with a 15-6, 15-5, loss to Granby. The highlight of the match for the locals was a four-point run with Lydia O'Donnell at the line to put the Wildcats up 4-1 in game one. Dana Bridges and Kacie Cooper each served a point in the opening game.
Diamond never led in game two, falling behind 13-2 before Whitney Booyer and Alyshia Bowles served the final three points.
Diamond- Points- O'Donnell 4, Booyer 2, Bridges, Cooper 1, Alyssa Simpson 1, Bowles 1, Thia Wiggins 1; Ace serves- O'Donnell 3, Booyer 2, Cooper 1, Simpson 1, Wiggins 1, Bowles 1.


By Randy Turner
It was one of those times when you just want to curl up in a ball and die. It happened during the first half of Diamond's 18-7 Football Homecoming loss to Fair Grove Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Rusty Gibbs spotted receiver Greg Fetters wide open and quickly passed the ball to him.
Fetters, seeing nothing but wide, open spaces in front of him, committed the cardinal sin of wide receivers...he started running before he had the ball safely tucked away in his arms. And you know what happens whenever a receiver does that.
Fetters watched helplessly as the ball went through his hands and hit the ground.
Some players would have hung their heads and been useless the rest of the game. Not Greg Fetters. He simply resolved the next time the ball was in his hands, it would take two sticks of dynamite and a crowbar to pry it loose.
His next opportunity came at the beginning of the third quarter on a critical fourth-and-nine play. The Wildcats, trailing 3-0, thanks to a 45-yard field goal started off the second half in the hole. Halftime ceremonies in which seniors Heather Leake and Skyler Powers were crowned homecoming queen and king, went over the allotted time so Diamond was assessed with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct before the second half even began. That enabled Fair Grove to kick from the 50 and the kick soared through the end zone for a touchback.
That could have been a stake through the heart for a team which had yet to score an offensive touchdown this season, but the Wildcats quickly got down to business. Runs of six and five yards by senior Kyle Kelso, the Eagles' third facemask penalty of the game and a nine-yard pass play from Gibbs to Denton Jones.
Fair Grove lent a helping hand to the home team with its fourth and fifth facemask penalties and eventually Diamond had a first down at the Eagle 14. Skyler Powers bulled his way through the middle for five yards on first down, but a second down run was stopped for a four-yard loss and a third down pass fell incomplete, setting the stage for Fetters' redemption. On fourth and nine at the 13, Gibbs dropped back and saw the sophomore open once more. The ball came straight at him and Fetters was ready for it. He watched it into his arms, was hit by Fair Grove defenders and fell forward to the 3 for a first and goal.
On the next play, Gibbs pitched the ball to Kelso, who took it around end and dived into the end zone for Diamond's first offensive touchdown. Kelso kicked the extra point to put the Wildcats up 7-3.
After that, Diamond's primary foe was the weather. The heavy rain and lightning that wreaked havoc on Missouri prep football Friday night didn't take a detour around the Gem City. Poor field conditions forced a late third quarter fumble that Fair Grove took into the end zone. The game was postponed at the 7:31 mark in the fourth quarter and resumed at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcat defense came up with a big play as Denton Jones picked off an Eagle pass, his second interception of the game, deep in Diamond territory. The Wildcat offense was unable to get a first down and Fair Grove salted the game away with a late touchdown and extra point kick. It was the first touchdown scored on the Wildcat defense in six quarters.

By Randy Turner
The rumors of Thomas Jefferson's demise were greatly exaggerated. T. J., rumored to be renting a room in the hereafter since 1826, finally reached the end of the line, 15-5, 15-9, at the hands of the undefeated Diamond High School volleyball team Thursday night.
After an easy first game, the second game turned out to be a marathon before Diamond finally shut down the Cavaliers. In the time it took to watch the second game, you could watch 60 Minutes twice, 48 Hours once and still have time for a shave and a shower.
Some superb defense enabled Diamond to score the last point with junior Rachelle Gilliam at the service line. Thomas Jefferson appeared headed for another sideout after successfully staving off match point six times. A spike was heading out of bounds when Ashley Parker hustled across the sideline and bumped it backward toward the back line.
A hustling Rachel Whiteley chased down the ball and hit it back across. Moments later, Heather Leake put down the final point.
An 11-2 run at the end of game one enabled the home team to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Senior Emily Petty opened the spree with a serve point on a Cavalier spiking error. Whiteley scored the next three points, including a kill by freshman Megan Kinney. Parker served the 10th point, then Leake nailed the final five, setting up three kills for Jeri Rinehart and one for Kinney.
Game two looked like easy pickings for the red-hot Wildcats as they jumped to a 6-1 advantage. Rinehart continued to add to her greatest hits collection, slamming home a wicked kill from a Leake set to open the game, with Leake recording the serve point. The senior setter accounted for the second point, both with her serve, then by faking a set and executing a well-placed dump in the back corner.
Rinehart served the third and fourth points, the former coming on a Petty kill that was anything but Petty from the Cavaliers' way of thinking. Diamond eventually built a 14-5 lead with the 14th point coming on a scootin', shootin', knocked them all the way to East Newton ace serve, setting the stage for the final Wildcat heroics.

The Diamond Middle School football team opened the 2001 season with a 26-0 drubbing of Pierce City Tuesday, Sept. 4. The Wildcats took the field with something to prove to Coach Douglas. They had never ran any offense against another team and their defense had never been tested this year.
All scared feelings left Coach Douglas's mind when the Wildcats put up a stone wall that the Pierce City team didn't break through the whole game. The Wildcats had a lot of outstanding plays by all 20 players. Some highlights of the game included two blocked punts and many tackles for losses. The defense played hard and when the team needed something big to happen, the defensive line rose to the challenge and got the job done.
The Wildcat offense was even greater than Coach Douglas had dreamed it would be. "I knew we could score some points," he said, "but to have one back put three on the scoreboard is a great job, both by the back and all offensive players." The Wildcats were able to do anything they wanted to do against the Pierce City8 team. The offensive unit as a whole showed a lot of promise with some execution of every play it ran. "We had some penalties at some key times," the coach said, "but the guys didn't let them get in the way. They showed a lot of pride and sucked it up and got the job done when they needed to."
Blake Broaddus scored three touchdowns, the first on a 40-yard run, with Tyler Youngblood running for the two-point conversion. The second score was on a 10-yard run and the third on a 5-yard run. The extra point attempts failed. Diamond closed its scoring on a 25-yard Clay Norwood run. The extra point attempt failed.
Broaddus was the offensive player of the game. Colton Griffin was defensive player of the game. The Wildcats, 1-0, will play at Stockton Thursday, Sept. 13.

By Randy Turner
The Wheaton eighth grade volleyball team may have been ready to stick a fork in Diamond when the score was 14-5 in game two of Tuesday night's season opener, but Darci Price, Amanda McKee and the Wildcats weren't done yet.
After Wheaton won game one 15-4 and took the big lead in game two, it appeared the lights were go about for the locals, but Price wasn't about to go down without a fight. She riddled the Bulldog defense with a boppin', hoppin', call the mortuary 'cause they're droppin' ace serve. She served two more points, then made it four in a row, thanks to a McKee dig on a Bulldog hit. McKee passed the ball to Lauren Fetters, who hit it into an unguarded area on the Wheaton side. Diamond reached double figures on Price's next serve, another sizzling ace.
Wheaton called a timeout to regain its composure and to try to bother Price, but the ploy didn't work. When play resumed, she served two more points, the first coming on a nice volley by Ricki Fountain and the second on an ace.
After a pair of sideouts, McKee stepped to the service line and dealt more misery to the Wheaton sextet, blistering the defense with two line drive serves that hugged the sideline, then serving two more points to give the Wildcats a 16-14 win to tie the match.
It appeared that the Price-McKee spree was going to be enough to propel the home team to the win as it kept pouring it on at the start of game three. Katy Hext served the initial point, then McKee served the next six, at one point dealing four straight aces to put her team up 7-0. It was all Wheaton after that as the Bulldogs scored 15 of the next 17 points to capture the match. Diamond's only points came on service points by Hext and Brittany Busse. A highlight for the Wildcats was their first two kills of the season, both by Hext. One came from a McKee assist with Fetters getting the assist on the other one.
Diamond, 0-1, will play at Granby Monday, Sept. 10.
Diamond- Points- McKee 17, Price 7, Betty Thorp 2, Hext 2, Busse 1; Kills- Hext 2; Assists- Fetters 1, McKee 1; Ace serves- McKee 9, Price 3, Thorp 2.


The Diamond Seventh Grade Volleyball team fell to Wheaton 15-6, 11-15, 15-8, Tuesday night, in a match that saw a sterling serving performance from Kacie Cooper. Cooper served 14 of the Wildcats' 29 points, including 10 in game two, and eight aces, including seven in game two.
After dropping the first game, Diamond grabbed its first lead at the beginning of game two, thanks to Cooper's serving. She served the first five points, the first coming on a hit by Alyssa Simpson. Cooper dazzled the Bulldogs with her underhanded floaters, scoring aces for the Wildcats' third, fourth and fifth points.
Whitney Booyer made it 6-0 with a sideline ace. Lydia O'Donnell served the seventh point and Booyer aced the eighth. Simpson's floater ace accounted for Diamond's ninth point. Wheaton fought back, trimming the Wildcat lead to 9-8. An O'Donnell ace built the margin to two, but Wheaton scored the next three points to take its first lead. After that, Cooper took over, serving the last five points, including three more aces. The last point came on a nice play by O'Donnell who bumped a Bulldog pass and dropped it right in front of the backline. O'Donnell's did that consistently throughout the match.
Highlights in game three for Diamond were two aces by Alyshia Bowles, and three serve points apiece by Cooper and O'Donnell.
Diamond, 0-1, will play at Granby, Monday, Sept. 10.
Diamond- Points- Cooper 14, Booyer 5, O'Donnell 5, Simpson 3, Bowles 2; Ace serves- Cooper 8, Simpson 3, Booyer 3, Bowles 2, O'Donnell 1.


By Randy Turner

Second half heroics gave Diamond High School football fans some hope for another successful season Friday night though the Wildcats lost their home opener to Pierce City 20-6.
Tops among those highlights were a stingy defense that stopped the visitors cold in the second half, limiting them to 31 yards (20 of those coming on a personal foul) and produced one spectacular play after another, topped by a 99-yard interception return by Skyler Powers for Diamond's only touchdown.
The defense had been a concern for the Wildcat coaching staff, but it came through big time in the third and fourth quarters after a slow start.
Diamond came out of the locker room fired up in the second half. Senior Rusty Gibbs limited the first Pierce City play from scrimmage to just one yard. After an illegal procedure penalty against the Eagles, Gibbs blew past their line and dropped the quarterback for a 16-yard loss, forcing a punt after a third down run went nowhere.
The defensive stand gave Coach Brad Hocker's team something it had precious little of during the first half...good field position. The Wildcats' offense, also dormant in the first half, came alive. Powers took a pitch from Gibbs around left end for a 19-yard pickup, followed by a nine-yard run by senior Kyle Kelso. Powers picked up the first down, slashing two yards up the middle.
Pierce City's defense held, limiting Diamond to six yards on the next four plays. Diamond's defense was back on the field and had the same success against Pierce City as it did during the first second-half possession. Greg Fetters and Jarred Addington combined to stop the first-down play for one yard. The Eagles looked to be headed for a big gain on their second-down play, but the play was stopped after five yards, thanks to a solid tackle by Denton Jones. Powers and Kelso combined to stop the third-down run three yards, leaving it fourth and one and forcing the visitors to punt.
That play was a nightmare for Diamond as the punt was fumbled and Pierce City recovered the ball at the Wildcat 37. The Eagles picked up two first downs, one on a personal foul to get first and goal at the six. The first-down play netted a one-yard gain and set the stage for the most exciting moment of the evening for the Wildcat faithful.
Eagle quarterback Jason Barchak took the snap, dropped back only a step, then threw a poppin' fresh pass that seemed to tantalizingly float through the air for an eternity. Spotting the dying swan, Skyler Powers darted in front of the intended receiver, snared the pass and in a heartbeat was lapping the field as he headed for the opposite end zone. The extra point attempt failed.
Two on-side kick attempts failed, with one called back due to an off-sides penalty and the other going out of bounds, giving Pierce City the ball at its own 35. The Eagle offense fared no better than it did during its first three possessions, thanks to the brothers Gibb. Diamond's version of the BeeGees, senior Rusty Gibbs and sophomore Grant Gibbs, accounted for two sacks, and set Pierce City back 12 yards. The Eagles were again forced to punt.
Penalties hurt the Wildcats on their remaining second-half drives. The defense had one more highlight, an interception by Denton Jones.
Diamond's Zach Cope had an interception in the first half.
Diamond, 0-1, will entertain Fair Grove in the homecoming game, 7:30 p.m. Friday. Homecoming ceremonies will be held at halftime.

The Diamond High School cheerleaders opened their 2001-2002 season at the football game Friday night.
This year's squad members are: Jackie Hail, Kelli Price, Dezi Powers, Melissa Gallagher, Renee Forest, Candace Clouse and Brittany McBride.


By Randy Turner
The combination of Leake to Rinehart dealt a lethal blow to Sarcoxie Thursday night as Diamond opened its home volleyball slate with a 15-7, 15-5, win.
The seniors dominated the overmatched Bear defense with Jeri Rinehart nailing 15 kills, 12 of them coming from sets from Heather Leake. The senior setter collected every one of the Wildcats' 20 assists and led both teams with 11 service points and five aces.
The Bears took a 3-0 lead in game one, but the home team took over from that point, getting the serve back on that oh-so-familiar pairing of Leake to Rinehart. Leak served the first seven points, including two aces and three Rinehart kills. After a pair of sideouts, Rachel Whiteley continued the onslaught with three serve points, including an ace and an Emily Petty kill from a Leake assist.
Junior Rachelle Gilliam served the 10th through 13th points, sandwiching a pair of aces around two Rinehart kills, a wicked spike and a dink. Petty served the 15th point, which came on an illegal hit by the visitors.
Junior Ashley Parker got game two off on the right foot, blistering the Sarcoxie defense with a slicin', dicin', mean as Mike Tyson ace serve, then served three more points. The third point came on a spectacular defensive play by the hustling Gilliam, who dived, slid under her fists under a Bear spike and flipped the ball to Petty, who put it down for the kill.
Leake served the fifth through eighth points, dealing three straight aces to conclude her run. Gilliam served the ninth and 10th points, one coming on a Rinehart kill, the other on an ace. A highlight of the second game was the net play of freshman Megan Kinney, who made her home debut with six kills, four of them coming in game two. Whiteley served three points, then Parker served out the match.
Diamond, 2-0, will play at Neosho Tuesday.
Diamond- Points- Leake 11, Gilliam 6, Parker 6, Whiteley 5, Petty 1, Rinehart 1; Kills- Rinehart 15, Kinney 6, Parker 3, Petty 3, Leake 1; Assists- Leake- 20; Ace serves- Leake 5, Gilliam 3, Whiteley 1, Parker 1.


By Randy Turner
Falicia Phipps' serving prowess made quick work of the Sarcoxie Bears Thursday night as the Diamond junior varsity volleyball team won 15-5, 15-3.
Phipps served 15 points, including six aces to lead a strong Diamond attack which featured five serve points and five kills from Jessi Youngblood and four points and five assists from Brittany Gilliam.
The sophomore six fell behind 3-0, then 5-2 in game one before beginning to gather momentum. The Wildcats earned a sideout on a Phipps spike from a Gilliam set, then Phipps served seven points, including two aces and a Youngblood spike from a Gilliam assist. Gilliam served the next four points, the final two coming in sterling fashion on a sizzling ace and a Youngblood crosscourt kill from a Gilliam spike set up by Youngblood's dig on a Bear spike attempt.
Kristen Bishop served the final point, as Youngblood took a Gilliam set and rammed it down the heart of the Bear defense.
The sophomore sextet, which also included Ashley Beegle and Kenzie Greenwood, continued to dominate in game two, going up 8-1, with Phipps serving six points, including three aces. After a sideout, Greenwood regained the serve with a leaping kill from a Youngblood assist. Bishop served the ninth, then Greenwood served numbers 10 through 12. Youngblood closed out the match with three points, the final one coming courtesy of solid volleyball fundamentals with Greenwood receiving the serve and passing to Gilliam, who made a pinpoint set for Youngblood, who closed the door on the visitors.
The junior varsity will play at Neosho Tuesday night.
Diamond- Points- Phipps 15, Youngblood 5, Gilliam 4, Greenwood 3, Bishop 2, Beegle 1; Kills- Youngblood 5, Gilliam 3, Phipps 2, Greenwood 1; Assists- Gilliam 5, Youngblood 3; Ace serves- Phipps 6, Gilliam 1, Youngblood 1, Greenwood 1.

Wildcat Women Lose to Purdy

By Randy Turner
DIAMOND- the Diamond High School softball team fell to Purdy 11-1 Monday, Aug. 27. Sophomore center fielder Ashley Brummett, who ripped two singles in three trips to the plate, was the only player able to solve Purdy pitcher Megan Leonard, who tossed a three-hitter. Leonard no-hitted the Wildcats through the first three innings, giving up only walks to sophomore Brandi Rifenberg and senior Chelsea Waddell.
Meanwhile, the visitors were stymied in the first inning, thanks to some solid defense by Coach Danny DeWitt's Wildcats. After a leadoff walk, Robin Bullis gunned out the runner trying to steal, firing a strike to shortstop Amanda Farley, who applied the tag. The next batter hit a liner that pitcher Chrissy Hail was able to leap up and snag. Brummett accounted for the third out hunting down a fly to left center.
Purdy opened the scoring in the second inning, pushing across a pair. It could have been worse for the locals, except for another outstanding defensive play. With the bases loaded and one out, the Purdy hitter hit a vicious line drive that Farley snared. Farley had plenty of time to run over and tag third base for the unassisted double play. Purdy added five runs in the fourth to go up 7-0.
Brummett led off the Wildcats' fourth with a sharp single to center to break up the no-hitter.
The Wildcats scored their only run in the sixth inning. Farley ripped a one-out single, then Brummett nailed a changeup for her second hit, with Farley going to third on the play. Meghan Drake was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then junior Carla Garoutte grounded out to score Farley.
Diamond, 1-2, was scheduled to play host to Carl Junction Tuesday night.


By Randy Turner
They call it the hot corner and Chelsea Waddell found out why Thursday night.
The Diamond senior third baseman must have felt like a shooting gallery target as Seneca kept hitting line drives and sharp grounders her way. They kept hitting them at her...but they never got one past her. The Wildcats' defense was the highlight in a 9-3 loss that dropped their record to 1-1.
The defense showed up early keeping Seneca from busting the game wide open in the first inning. The visitors scored four runs, but could have had several more. Freshman center fielder Ashley Brummett hustled in on what looked to be a single to center with the bases loaded, took the ball on one hop and fired it to sophomore second baseman Brandi Rifenberg for the force out.
It was Waddell's defense that held Seneca at bay in the fourth inning when she went to her right and stopped a vicious drive on one hop and threw to first baseman Meghan Drake for the out. Waddell continued her sparkling play in the next inning, using her lightning-quick reflexes to catch a line drive that probably would have necessitated an ambulance for her had she missed it.
Waddell wasn't the only one exhibiting nifty glovework. With two out in the fifth, Rifenberg ranged far into right field to catch a bid for a bloop hit. Waddell also made solid plays on a liner in the sixth and a hard-hit ground ball in the seventh.
The Wildcats scored their first run in the second inning after Seneca had jumped to a 5-0 lead. Junior Kathy Harrell opened the inning with a single and was replaced by courtesy runner Amanda Ferguson. The freshman speedster swiped second, advanced to third on a ground out by Drake and scored on junior Carla Garoutte's single.
Diamond was held check from that point until the seventh inning, stranding Amanda Farley, who reached on an error in the third, and Robin Bullis and Chrissy Hail, who opened the fifth with a walk and a single.
In the seventh inning, the Wildcats gave it their best shot, opening the frame with Bullis getting hit by a pitch. Hail walked. With the two runners on second and third with one out, Farley grounded out to bring Bullis in. Brummett ripped a single to center, scoring Hail for the final run. Harrell and Drake reached on errors to load the bases before the game ended on a force play at home.
Harrell went the route for Coach Danny DeWitt's squad, giving up six hits and only four earned runs. She struck out three and walked five. Diamond will play host to Purdy Monday, Aug. 27 at 4:30 p.m.

By Randy Turner
The rules of life are not simple, but the rules when you're playing against Verona are...at worst, you don't succeed...Tauai, Tauai again. Verona, led by 6-3 junior J. J. Tauai's 27-point, 20-rebound performance ended Diamond's 18-game win streak Tuesday night 64-53, spoiling Senior Night festivities in Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium.
It was the first time the Wildcats, 20-2, had been beaten since the championship game of the Pierce City Tournament in December, when they lost to Verona. Diamond evened the score at Verona, setting the stage for Tuesday night's game.
Tauai scored 19 points in the first half as the visitors opened up a 34-22 lead. The lead increased to 17, 49-32, at the end of three quarters, setting the stage for a furious comeback by the home team. A Bubby Farley steal set up a Terry Bessman three-pointer from a Justin Shull assist. After a Tauai two-pointer, only his second basket of the second half, Shull nailed a nothing-but-net three-pointer to trim the margin to 51-38 with 6:35 left. Shull led Diamond's scorers with 14 points, all in the second half.
Bessman yanked down the rebound at the other end. Diamond worked the ball quickly upcourt with senior guard Ryan Jones finding Shull open on the baseline, a quick pass and a nice move by Shull resulted in a two-pointer and cut the deficit to 11.
A few moments later, Bessman grabbed an offensive rebound, was hammered and nailed both free throws to put the difference between the two teams in single digits, 51-42, for the first time since midway through the opening quarter.
After two Tauai free throws, Shull again cut the lead to nine with a drive and layup. The closest Diamond came was on its next possession when Bessman, who tied Ryan Green for the team high with five steals, picked a Verona player's pocket, drove downcourt, waited until the last moment and deftly slipped a pass to Shull, who hit the layup to pull Diamond to within seven, 53-46.
The Wildcats pulled that close only one more time, at 59-52 on a Green three-pointer from a Shull assist with 1:32 left.
Playing their final home game for the Wildcats were seniors Rusty Gibbs, Ryan Jones, Amos Carrick, Skyler Powers, Justen Shull, Chris Jinks, Ryan Green and Terry Bessman. The seniors and their parents were honored during pre-game ceremonies. Jinks received the varsity sportsmanship award, while junior Deke Beckett was given the junior varsity sportsmanship award.
Diamond- Points- Shull 14, Green 9, Gibbs 9, Farley 8, Jinks 6, Bessman 5; Rebounds- Farley 8, Bessman 5, Gibbs 4, Jinks 3, Green 3, Powers 3, Shull 2; Assists- Shull 5, Green 3, Bessman 2, Gibbs 1; Steals- Green 5, Bessman 5, Farley 2, Jones 2, Jinks 1, Shull 1, Blocked Shots- Jinks 1; Three-Pointers- Green 2, Shull 2, Bessman 1.
The scenario played differently in the junior varsity contest, which saw Diamond took a huge early lead and hold on for an easy 55-25 win.
Sophomore Jake VanLue paced the young Wildcats with an 18-point, 8-rebound performance. Twelve of his points came in the second half as Diamond outscored Verona 30-10. His classmate, Casey Holland, hit a three-pointer early and never scored again, but he made sure everyone else did as he handed out a game-high eight assists.
Holland and VanLue gave the visitors fits on defense with each picking up five steals.
The Diamond teams will play at Thomas Jefferson Friday night.
Diamond JV- Points- VanLue 18, Grant Gibbs 8, Justin Lane 6, Sheldon Booyer 6, Greg Fetters 4, Josh Beckett 4, Casey Crane 4, Holland 3; Rebounds- VanLue 8, Booyer 7, Fetters 6, Gibbs 5, Lane 2, Jordan Macy 2, Crane 1; Assists- Holland 8, Lane 2, Fetters 2, VanLue 2; Steals- Holland 5, VanLue 5, Fetters 3, J. Beckett 2, Gibbs 2, Booyer 1; Blocked Shots- Booyer 2, Holland 1, Crane 1; Three-Pointers- Lane 1, Holland 1.
By Randy Turner
Jessi Youngblood's 15 point, 7 rebound, 7 steal performance led the Diamond girls basketball team to a 44-30 win over Sarcoxie Monday night.
Youngblood scored 11 of her points in the first half as the Wildcats breezed to a 13-6 lead after one quarter and increased it to 26-14 at halftime. The Bears managed to trim the deficit to three points, 17-14, at one point in the second period before Coach Rachael Madden's squad put on a nine-point run beginning with a steal and layup by Youngblood, followed by a Megan Kinney steal and a Youngblood basket from an Amanda Farley assist. Youngblood made it five points in a row with a free throw. Ashley Brummett, returning from a knee injury contributed a putback and Farley nailed two free throws to close out the first half scoring.
Aiding Youngblood in the scoring department were a pair of seniors. Six foot two inch center Heather Barnett scored eight points, collared five rebounds and blocked five shots, four of them in the second half, while Farley had seven points and tied sophomore Brittany Gilliam for the team lead in assists with five. All of Gilliam's assists came in the first half as Diamond built its initial lead.
Diamond opened the second half by finishing the run that ended the second quarter as Farley penetrated into the lane, then dished out to Barnett for two, completing the 11-point run. Diamond led 36-19 at the end of the third quarter.
A six-point run early in the fourth quarter, featuring a basket and two free throws by Gilliam and a two-pointer by junior Ashley Parker from a Farley assist, gave Diamond its biggest lead, 42-21. Sarcoxie made the final score closer by scoring the last seven points.
Diamond will play at Southwest in an Ozark 8 matchup Thursday night.
Freshman Andi Ingersoll got things started on the right foot and Diamond never looked back as it romped over the Sarcoxie junior varsity 22-7 in the one-quarter opener.
Ingersoll stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for the layup and it was off to the races from there. Jessi Youngblood scored eight points to lead the jayvees while her sophomore classmate, Libby Sherrill, had five rebounds.
Diamond- Points- Youngblood 15, Barnett 8, Farley 7, Parker 4, Gilliam 4, Sherrill 2, Brummett 2, Kinney 2; Rebounds- Youngblood 7, Barnett 5, Brummett 5, Gilliam 3, Parker 3, Farley 3, Sherrill 2, Kinney 2, Jolene Topham 1; Assists- Farley 5, Gilliam 5, Parker 2, Kinney 1; Steals- Youngblood 7, Kinney 5, Parker 1, Gilliam 1; Blocked Shots- Barnett 5, Brummett 2, Farley 1, Youngblood 1.
Diamond Junior Varsity- Points- Youngblood 8, Ingersoll 4, Topham 4, Sherrill 2, Gilliam 2, Kinney 2; Rebounds- Sherrill 5, Ingersoll 2, Gilliam 1, Youngblood 1; Assists- Kinney 2, Sherrill 1; Steals- Ingersoll 1, Kinney 1, Sherrill 1.

By Randy Turner
DIAMOND- When senior Ryan Green was injured in December, Diamond basketball coach Jim Madden had to look down his bench and find the right replacement to keep from interfering with his once-beaten team's chemistry. Fortunately for the coach, he picked the Bessman for the job.
In the midst of a shootout between two talented point guards, Diamond senior Justin Shull and East Newton sophomore Brett Thomlinson, some key plays by Wildcat senior Terry Bessman helped lift the home team to a 72-60 win Tuesday night in a much-anticipated game that was closer than the final score would indicate.
The guards provided the show as Shull hit a game-high 27 points and dished out a game-high seven assists and Thomilnson matched him step for step with 25 points and three assists. Each received ample scoring help from teammates. Diamond's 6-4 senior center Rusty Gibbs, despite sitting out some of the game with foul trouble, had 19 points, while East Newton received 13 points from Eric Coburn and 10 points from Austin Brown.
Bessman's sterling supporting performance began after East Newton senior Matt Hansen's basket from a Thomlinson assist cut Diamond's lead, which had been 11 points moments earlier, to 8, 66-58, with less than two minutes remaining. The Patriots fouled Gibbs, who missed the first free throw, but swished the second. East Newton moved the ball upcourt quickly, but Bessman stepped into the passing lane and swiped an errant throw, setting up a Gibbs basket from a Chris Jinks assist. Austin Brown nailed a long two-pointer to narrow the gap to 69-60 with 22 seconds left. East Newton fouled Bessman and the senior drew nothing but net on the first free throw and clanged in the second to effectively end the Patriots' chances.
The game did not look like a Diamond win at the outset when East Newton took control right after the opening jump. Coburn hit the first two-pointer, then the visitors followed that quickly with a short jumper by Brown, another Coburn shot from a Thomlinson assist and a Thomlinson layup set by a Dustin Oxendine block to put the Patriots up 8-0.
Any hopes of a rout when right out the window when Diamond turned around and scored the next 14 points, including three-pointers by Shull and Jinks, two baskets by Gibbs, one by Shull and two Bubby Farley free throws. Diamond led 21-16 at the end of the first quarter.
A Bessman three-pointer and a Shull steal and layup helped the Wildcats build a 10-point lead, 30-20, midway through the second quarter, but the Patriots kept battling, cutting the deficit to five, 37-32, at halftime.Coburn had 10 points and Thomlinson nine during the first half, while Shull had 13 and Gibbs 11 for the Wildcats.
In the second half, each time the Wildcats appeared to be on the verge of running away, someone would hit a key shot or two and the visitors would be right back in it. A Bessman putback built the lead to 50-38, then East Newton scored five straight points on an Allen Barbre follow shot and a Thomlinson three-pointer to halve the lead. A Jinks three-pointer in the final minute of the quarter put Diamond up 53-45, but Thomlinson shot one in from the next zip code to make it 53-48 after three quarters.
East Newton- Points- Thomlinson 25, Coburn 13, Brown 10, Barbre 4, Oxendine 4, Justin Allphin 2, Hansen 2; Rebounds- Hansen 5, Brown 4, Allphin 3, Barbre 3, Coburn 2, Oxendine 1; Assists- Brown 4, Thomlinson 3, Coburn 1, Barbre 1, Allphin 1; Steals- Brown 3, Barbre 1, Thomlinson 1; Blocked Shots- Brown 2, Oxendine 2, Hansen 1; Three-Pointers- Coburn 2, Thomlinson 2.
Diamond- Points- Shull 27, Gibbs 19, Jinks 7, Skyler Powers 7, Bessman 7, Farley 5; Rebounds- Gibbs 8, Farley 6, Powers 5, Jinks 5, Bessman 4, Shull 2; Assists- Shull 7, Jinks 6, Bessman 4, Farley 1; Steals- Shull 3, Gibbs 1, Powers 1, Jinks 1, Bessman 1; Blocked Shots- Gibbs 1; Three-Pointers- Shull 2, Jinks 2, Bessman 1, Farley 1.

The Diamond junior varsity scored the first nine points and never looked back en route to a 61-33 win over East Newton. The scoring started with two Greg Fetters baskets, followed by a Deke Beckett three-pointer from a Jake VanLue assist and a VanLue layup, set up by a Beckett steal. The Patriots broke the run with a Wes Cassady basket from a Dustin Johnson assist. The Wildcats led 17-5 at the end of the first quarter. Diamond outscored the visitors 23-6 in the second period to build the lead to 40-11 at halftime, led by D. Beckett and Sheldon Booyer with nine points apiece and Fetters with eight. Mike Hurn had seven of the Patriots' 11 points.
The highlight of the game for the Patriots was a 13-point third-quarter run featuring four points apiece from Bobby Barbre and Darren Boettler. Diamond led 54-27 after three quarters.
Top scorers for the home team were D. Beckett and Booyer with 13 apiece. Hurn led East Newton with seven.
Diamond- Points- D. Beckett 13, Booyer 13, Fetters 8, Justin Lane 8, VanLue 7, Grant Gibbs 4, Bubby Farley 4, Casey Holland 2; Rebounds- Booyer 7, Gibbs 6, D. Beckett 3, Fetters 3, VanLue 3, Holland 3, Josh Beckett 1; Assists- Holland 5, D. Beckett 3, VanLue 3, Fetters 1, Gibbs 1; Steals- Lane 4, Holland 3, D. Beckett 2, Fetters 2, VanLue 1; Blocked Shots- Booyer 2, Holland 1, VanLue 1, Casey Crane 1; Three-Pointers- D. Beckett 2.
East Newton- Points- Hurn 7, Cassady 6, Derek Judd 4, Barbre 4, Boettler 4, Aaron Johnson 4; Kevin Jones 2; Rebounds- D. Johnson 6, A. Johnson 5, Cassady 3, Nick McCully 3, Boettler 2, Jones 1, Judd 1, Barbre 1; Assists- D. Johnson 2, Judd 2; Steals- D. Johnson 1, A. Johnson 1; Three-Pointers- Hurn 1.

Daniel Davidson scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lead the East Newton ninth grade basketball team to a 36-34 win over Diamond Tuesday night.
Davidson scored all but three of the Patriots' second half points as the Wildcats, behind the play of Jordan Macy and Josh Beckett, overcame a nine-point third quarter deficit to make a game of it.
The visitors grabbed a 14-9 lead at the end of the first period and quickly increased it to 19-16 midway through the second, led by Seth McCully, who finished the game with six points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Cory Fullerton, who scored all seven of his points in the first half.
East Newton- Points- Davidson 14, Nick Mitchell 8, Fullerton 7, McCully 6, Seth Hance 1; Rebounds- McCully 11, Mitchell 5, Davidson 5, Fullerton 4, Jesse Postma 3; Assists- Mitchell 2, Davidson 1, McCully 1; Steals- Mitchell 2, McCully 1, Fullerton 1.
Diamond- Points- Beckett 12, Kyle Bridges 7, Macy 6, Trent Jones 5, Jonathan Cook 2, Justin McLees 2; Rebounds- Macy 3, Beckett 3, McLees 2, Jones 2, Brandon Webb 1, Bridges 1; Assists- Macy 3, Beckett 2; Steals- Macy 2, Beckett 1.

By Randy Turner
The name of the game was defense for the Diamond girls basketball team Monday night as it whipped Purdy 55-25 in an Ozark 8 Conference matchup.
The Wildcats limited the visitors to only two points, both on free throws during the first quarter. The first Purdy basket didn't come until the 5:58 mark of the second period. Meanwhile, Coach Rachael Madden's squad rolled to a 15-2 first-quarter advantage. Six-two senior center Heather Barnett dropped in the first two two-pointers of the contest, the first on a putback and the second on a lob pass from sophomore Brittany Gilliam.Gilliam had a game-high six assists.
The onslaught continued with baskets by freshman Megan Kinney and sophomore Jessi Youngblood, single free throws by Kinney and Amanda Farley and a nothing-but-net three-pointer from the corner by Farley at the end of the opening quarter.
A Farley free throw followed by a Farley basket from a Libby Sherrill assist increased the advantage to 18-2, before Purdy managed to get back on the scoreboard with two baskets. Any momentum the Eagles had was quickly silenced by junior Ashley Parker, who nailed a three-pointer from a Kinney assist to make it 21-6. Diamond, with Farley scoring 10 points, held a 29-12 halftime lead.
Youngblood carried the brunt of the scoring burden in the second half, scoring 10 of her game-high 18 points. Farley ended the game with 12, while Kinney contributed 10 points, five in each half. Barnett and Youngblood led the rebounding charts with six apiece, while Farley had four steals.
In the preliminary junior varsity game, which lasted only one quarter, Diamond rolled to a 21-6 lead, led by Kenzie Greenwood and Libby Sherrill with six points apiece.
Diamond- -Points- Youngblood 18, Farley 12, Kinney 10, Parker 5, Barnett 4, Gilliam 4, Sherrill 2; Rebounds- Barnett 6, Youngblood 6, Kinney 3, Farley 3, Parker 3, Sherrill 2, Jolene Topham 2, Kenzie Greenwood 1; Assists- Gilliam 6, Farley 5, Kinney 3, Youngblood 2, Sherrill 1, Greenwood 1; Steals- Farley 4, Kinney 3, Youngblood 2, Parker 1, Gilliam 1, Topham 1, Greenwood 1; Three-Pointers- Farley 1, Parker 1.
Diamond JV- Points- Greenwood 6, Sherrill 6, Youngblood 3, Kinney 2, Topham 2, Andi Ingersoll 2.

By Randy Turner
Jake Youngblood's career-high 21 points kept the Diamond eighth grade close but it wasn't quite enough as the Wildcats lost to Granby 44-37.
A seven-point run late in the game gave Diamond a chance for a come-from-behind win. The run started with the Wildcats trailing 42-29 with 3:21 left. Youngblood dribbled around three Cardinal defenders and kissed a basket in off the glass to trim the margin to 11. Youngblood was fouled while grabbing a defensive rebound moments later and hit one free throw.
A two-pointer by Blake Broaddus made it an eight-point game, 42-34. The run ended on a basket by Cory Bass from a Josh Dresslaer assist. Diamond scored only one more point, a Bass free throw after he was fouled while pulling down an offensive rebound.
Bass had his best game of the season, tallying four rebounds, four steals and an assist and blocking three shots, in addition to scoring three points. His rebound total tied Tanner Stevens and Broaddus for team high. Dresslaer had a game-high four assists, while Broaddus also had four steals.
Diamond- Points- Youngblood 21, Broaddus 6, Stevens 5, C. Bass 3, Jeff Morris 2; Rebounds- Stevens 4, Broaddus 4, C. Bass 4, Youngblood 3, Luke Hockman 2, Dresslaer 1, Morris 1; Assists- Dresslaer 4, Stevens 3, Hockman 1, Youngblood 1, C. Bass 1; Steals- C. Bass 4, Broaddus 4, Stevens 3, Josh Bass 1, Youngblood 1, Hockman 1; Blocked Shots- C. Bass 3, Stevens 2; Three-Pointers- Youngblood 1, Stevens 1.
In the seventh grade game, Diamond held the early lead before falling to Granby 31-28. The Wildcats, thanks to five points from Zach Towers, a steal and layup by Michael Lane and a putback by Ryan Clouse, led the home team 9-8 at the end of the first quarter. They increased the margin to 10-8 on a Clay Norwood free throw at the beginning of the second period. Their last points of the second period came on a Towers basket that put them up 12-11. Granby led 15-12 at halftime.
Diamond caught the Cardinals in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 26-26 on a Lane steal and layup, then taking the lead for the first time since the opening quarter on a Lane basket from a Norwood assist. Granby scored the last five points.
Diamond- Points- Towers 9, Lane 8, Norwood 5, Kevin Ortega 4, Clouse 2; Rebounds- Norwood 7, Towers 7, Ortega 6, Lane 5, Clouse 3, Daniel Stone 1; Assists- Norwood 2, Ortega 2, Towers 1; Steals- Lane 5, Towers 4, Clouse 2, Ortega 2, Stone.

By Randy Turner
A strong fourth quarter wasn't enough as the Diamond girls basketball team fell to Thomas Jefferson 47-35 Monday night.
The Wildcats, trailing 37-17 at the end of three quarters, immediately began to work on the deficit when the final quarter began. Sophomore Brittany Gilliam hit the first of two free throw. She missed the second and the Cavaliers rebounded, but Megan Kinney stole the ball and seconds later Gilliam's putback trimmed the lead to 37-20.
Senior Amanda Farley swiped the ball from the visitors leading to two Heather Barnett free throws. The two seniors had solid games with Farley scoring a team-high 14 points, grabbing nine rebounds and adding three assists and four steals, while the 6-2 Barnett had a game-high 14 rebounds.
After two Cavalier free throws, Diamond continued the furious assault with Farley hitting an old fashioned three-point play, driving the baseline for the banker, getting fouled and swishing the free throw to make it 39-25. Thomas Jefferson restored the lead to 16, 41-25, with a basket, but another three-point play by Farley pulled Diamond to within 13 points, 41-28, with 3:07 left. The Wildcats never came any closer until junior Ashley Parker nailed a nothing-but-net three-pointer with less than a minute ago to trim the margin to 11, 46-35. The visitors added a free throw with less than a second remaining.
The Diamond junior varsity had better luck, defeating Thomas Jefferson 8-4 in the one-quarter preliminary game. The Wildcats scored the first six points, with Jessi Youngblood scoring the first four on a set shot from the top of the key and a steal and layup. Kenzie Greenwood made it a 6-0 from an assist from Youngblood. Diamond's final score came on a nifty baseline drive by Jolene Topham.
The Diamond junior varsity team will play a four-quarter game at Exeter Thursday night. The Wildcat varsity will play at Joplin McAuley Monday, Jan. 14.
Diamond- Points- Farley 14, Gilliam 8, Jessi Youngblood 4, Kinney 4, Parker 3, Barnett 2; Rebounds- Barnett 14, Farley 9, Gilliam 5, Parker 4, Youngblood 3, Kinney 1; Assists- Farley 3, Kinney 2, Parker 2, Gilliam 1; Steals- Farley 4, Youngblood 2, Kinney 1, Parker 1; Three-Pointers- Parker 1.
Diamond JV- Points- Youngblood 4, Greenwood 2, Topham 2; Rebounds- Libby Sherrill 1, Topham 1; Assists- Youngblood 1, Kinney 1; Steals- Topham 3, Kinney 2, Sherrill 2, Greenwood 2, Andi Ingersoll 2, Youngblood 2.

By Randy Turner
Medical science has no name for the malady that beset the Purdy High School basketball team during its 64-40 loss at the Diamond Homecoming game Friday night.
In Diamond, there are two ways of looking at it. Since senior point guard Justin Shull had a game-high 21 points, four rebounds, eight assists and five steals, you might say a gritty Shull is like a malady (and if you're not old enough to remember that song, wait for the next paragraph, this gets worse.)
The overflow crowd in the Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium will always remember Friday, Jan. 4, as the night Purdy was hit by the senior Jinks. That would be Diamond senior Chris Jinks, who, playing in his last homecoming game, made it a night to remember. He scored all 10 of his points, had two steals, two of his three assists and three of his six rebounds in the second half as Diamond broke open a close game to make the homecoming dance a much happier one for everyone involved.
Eight Wildcats broke into the scoring column. In addition to the heroics provided by Shull, each senior played a role in the win. Center Rusty Gibbs had 13 points and a team-leading eight rebounds, while Terry Bessman, starting in place of injured senior Ryan Green, contributed five points, including a three-pointer, Skyler Powers had four points and six rebounds, and newly-minted Homecoming King Ryan Jones and Amos Carrick chipped in with six points during the final minute to drive the nails into the Eagle coffin.
Purdy didn't go down without a fight. The Wildcats held only a 25-23 lead at halftime and Purdy hit a free throw to open the third quarter. Diamond didn't begin to put daylight between itself and the visitors until late in the third quarter. Leading 36-35, Coach Jim Madden's squad began a 15-point run that lasted well into the fourth quarter.
The first six points of that run, a Shull layup, then a basket and a pair of free throws by junior Bubby Farley closed out the third quarter.
Shull and Jinks kept the run going in the final quarter, which began with a Shull free throw, followed by two Jinks free throws, and a Jinks two-pointer from a Shull assist, set up by Gibbs's steal. Jinks continued the spree with a layup from a Shull assist to increase Diamond's lead to 49-35. Shull ended it with a basket before Purdy get back on the scoreboard.
Diamond will play host to Thomas Jefferson Tuesday.
Diamond- Points- Shull 21, Gibbs 13, Jinks 10, Bessman 5, Farley 5, Powers 4, Jones 4, Carrick 2; Rebounds- Gibbs 8, Jinks 6, Powers 6, Shull 4, Bessman 2, Farley 1; Assists- Shull 8, Powers 3, Jinks 3, Bessman 2, Gibbs 2; Steals- Shull 5, Gibbs 2, Powers 2, Jinks 2, Jones 1; Three-Pointers- Shull 2, Bessman 1.

The Diamond junior varsity basketball team outscored Purdy 35-3 over the last 21 minutes Friday night to earn a 56-10 win and a successful start to homecoming festivities. A three-pointer by Purdy early in the opening quarter gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, the only one they held. Grant Gibbs, who led all scorers with 12 points, scored the go-ahead basket. The Wildcats hit the next 11 points, including six more by Gibbs, three for Casey Holland and two by Greg Fetters before Purdy hit its final basket for quite some time. The first quarter ended with Diamond leading 15-5.
The Wildcats outscored Purdy 12-0 in the second period with Gibbs and sophomore Jake VanLue each contributing four points.
Most of the offensive firepower came in the third quarter, which saw the home team outscoring the Eagles 23-1. Junior Bubby Farley scored all eight of his points in the second half, while Holland and VanLue each chipped in with six and Deke Beckett had four.
Diamond will play host to Thomas Jefferson Tuesday night.
Diamond- Points- Gibbs 12, VanLue 10, Holland 9, Fetters 8, Farley 8, Beckett 4, Michael Lane 3, Casey Crane 2; Rebounds- Gibbs 7, Farley 5, VanLue 3, Holland 2, Fetters 2, Lane 1; Assists- Holland 2, Fetters 2, VanLue 2, Lane 2, Gibbs 1, Beckett 1, Farley 1; Steals- Holland 5, VanLue 3, Gibbs 2, Lane 1, Farley 1; Blocked Shots- Beckett 1.

By Randy Turner
An outsized and undermanned Diamond girls basketball team fell to 3A powerhouse Cassville 71-36 Thursday night. Coach Rachael Madden's gritty Wildcats managed to stay close to the visitors through the first half, but the difference in size and experience made itself felt in the third and fourth quarters.
Diamond was outrebounded 28-12 with Cassville collecting more offensive rebounds, 14, than Diamond's entire total. The top rebounder for Diamond, playing another solid game, was hustling 5-7 senior guard Amanda Farley, who had four, and also was the team's top scorer with 10 points. No other Diamond player had more than two boards.
Helping Farley in the scoring column were sophomore Jessi Youngblood and freshman Megan Kinney, each of whom had eight points.
Diamond will entertain Thomas Jefferson Monday night.
Diamond- Points- Farley 10, Youngblood 8, Kinney 8, Ashley Parker 4, Heather Barnett 2, Brittany Gilliam 2, Kenzie Greenwood 2; Rebounds- Farley 4, Kinney 2, Barnett 2, Parker 1, Youngblood 1, Libby Sherrill 1, Gilliam 1; Assists- Farley 3, Gilliam 2, Sherrill 2, Kinney 1; Steals- Youngblood 3, Kinney 2, Parker 1, Farley 1, Barnett 1, Sherrill 1, Greenwood 1; Blocked Shots- Barnett 1.
Kenzie Greenwood scored four points and Jolene Topham and Jessi Youngblood added two apiece as the Diamond junior varsity team beat Cassville 8-5 in a one-quarter game. After Greenwood opened the game with a bank shot, Cassville tied the game at 2-2 with a two-pointer. The Wildcats scored the next six points to salt the game away with Topham putting the locals ahead for good with a basket from a Libby Sherrill assist. Greenwood hit a nothing-but-net shot from outside, then Youngblood ended the scoring with a two-pointer.
Diamond- Points- Greenwood 4, Topham 2, Youngblood 2; Rebounds- Greenwood 1, Megan Kinney 1, Topham 1, Andi Ingersoll 1; Assists- Sherrill 1; Steals- Sherrill 2, Topham 1.

By Randy Turner
The Diamond seventh grade basketball team rolled to a 34-12 win over Sarcoxie in an abbreviated contest Tuesday night.
A 14-point run by Diamond through the latter portions of the first quarter broke the game wide open. Only two quarters were played because Sarcoxie did not have enough players. The run began with a Michael Lane basket, followed by a Zach Towers basket from a Daniel Stone assist. Kevin Ortega, Lane, Kyle Lowry and Clay Norwood followed with two-pointers, then Lane closed out the run by blowing past a Bear defender for a layup just before the end of the first quarter.
It was another solid night for the constantly-improving Towers, who played in both the seventh and eighth grade games. In the seventh grade contest, he recorded a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds in less than six minutes of action. He was also the leading rebounder in the eighth grade contest with nine and hit two free throws, giving him 12 points and 19 rebounds in less than three quarters.
When Towers was out, the Wildcat machine kept working with precision. Norwood, Lane and Lowry each scored six points, while Lane had six rebounds and a pair of steals.
The seventh grade will return to action Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Granby.
Diamond- Points- Towers 10, Norwood 6, Lane 6, Lowry 6, Paul Holland 4, Ortega 2; Rebounds- Towers 10, Lane 6, Ortega 4, Lowry 3, Holland 3; Assists- Norwood 1, Ryan Clouse 1, Stone 1, Lane 1, Lowry 1; Steals- Lane 2, Ortega 1, Norwood 1, Clint Myers 1.

An outsized and overmatched Diamond eighth grade basketball team gave Sarcoxie everything it could handle before falling 52-40 Tuesday night.
The much-taller Bears squad led 42-22 at the end of the third quarter. Diamond put together a fourth-quarter run that catapulted the local squad back into the game. A tenacious ballhawking defense and key plays by several players, including Tanner Stevens, Jake Youngblood and Jeff Morris, helped make a game out of what had appeared to be a rout in the making. After Luke Hockman grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Clay Norwood for two to open the quarter, Sarcoxie answered with a basket. Stevens scored the next five points, hitting from a close range, then nailing a nothing-but-net three-pointer to trim the margin to 44-29.
After another Bear basket, Diamond scored the next five points on a Zach Towers free throw and a pair of two-pointers by the peroxide pistol, Morris. That put the score at 46-34. Diamond never came any closer, though some late heroics by Youngblood put the final score at that 12-point margin.Youngblood, who tied Stevens for team scoring honors with eight, hit a pair of late baskets and assisted on another one by Morris.
Diamond will return to action. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Granby.
Diamond- Points- Youngblood 8, Stevens 8, J. Bass 6, Morris 6, Norwood 4, Josh Dresslaer 3, Mike Lane 2, Towers 2, Hockman 1; Rebounds- Towers 9, Youngblood 4, Stevens 3, Dresslaer 2, Morris 1, J. Bass 1, Norwood 1, Hockman 1; Assists- Stevens 2, Hockman 2, Dresslaer 1, J. Bass 1, Towers 1, Youngblood 1; Steals- Stevens 3, Dresslaer 2, Towers 2, Morris 1, J. Bass 1; Blocked Shots- Towers 1, Dresslaer 1; Three-Pointers- Stevens 1.

By Randy Turner
SENECA- Michelle Darr's last act as a middle school basketball player was a typical one. With her team trailing 43-20 with less than three seconds left, the miniature marvel never stopped hustling. She dogged the Indian ballhandler after the pass-in, cutting in front of her and picking up her fifth steal of the game just before the buzzer sounded.
A slow start doomed the Wildcat squad Monday night as it fell behind 13-2 after the first quarter and 21-6 at halftime.
Darr, the Wildcats' leading scorer this season, scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the second half. Ricki Fountain had four points, two in each half and Brandi Johnson rounded out the scoring with a pair. Fountain was also Diamond's leading rebounder with seven, while Darr and Johnson each dealt out a pair of assists.
Seneca held a 35-12 lead after the third quarter, but Diamond was able to hold its own with the home team in the fourth quarter, with each squad scoring eight points. Darr opened the final period with a steal, then hit a free throw. The Wildcats continued to score from the line with Darr adding another one moments later and Fountain hitting two. Diamond hit two baskets in the fourth quarter, both by Darr, one on a steal and layup and the other on an assist from Johnson. Darr closed the scoring with a free throw at the 1:01 mark.
Diamond- Points- Darr 14, Fountain 4, Johnson 2; Rebounds- Fountain 7, Taunie Brewer 6, Katy Hext 4, Johnson 3, Lauren Fetters 3, Brittany Busse 2, Darr 2; Brittney Stevens 1, Alison Brown 1; Assists- Johnson 2, Darr 2, Casey Brown 1, Brewer 1, Busse 1; Steals- Darr 5, Stevens 1, Fetters 1; Blocked Shots- Johnson 1, Darr 1.

By Randy Turner
SENECA- An 18-1 deficit to open the game was too much for the Diamond seventh grade girls basketball team to overcome as it lost its season finale to Seneca 39-31 Monday night.
It was a career night for the lean, mean rebounding machine Lydia O'Donnell, as she recorded her first double-double, pacing the Diamond comeback with game-highs of 17 points and 18 rebounds. She had ample support from Whitney Booyer, who had six points, 15 rebounds and picked up a pair of assists with nicely placed lob passes to O'Donnell inside.
From the midway point of the second period until the end of the game, Diamond outscored the home team 30-21, led by O'Donnell. She had scored the only Wildcat point in the first quarter on a free throw. In the second period, she started the scoring with a pair of free throws. A Carrie Castor two-pointer trimmed the margin to 18-6. A Dana Bridges free throw and an O'Donnell putback completed an eight-point run. The Wildcats cut the lead to 20-9 at halftime.
Diamond outscored Seneca 10-9 in the third quarter to cut Seneca's advantage to 29-19 after three periods. During the quarter, O'Donnell scored all 10 points.
Diamond- Points- O'Donnell 17, Booyer 6, Alyshia Bowles 4, Castor 3, Bridges 1; Rebounds- O'Donnell 18, Booyer 15, Castor 8, Bowles 2, Bridges 1; Assists- Castor 2, Booyer 2, O'Donnell 1, Bowles 1; Steals- O'Donnell 4, Bowles 2, Castor 2.

By Randy Turner
The plan was simple. Diamond senior Amanda Farley would score the first basket of the fourth quarter, then the Wildcats would mount a comeback, defeat McAuley and the home fans would be delighted.
Well, kiss another plan goodbye.
Amanda did her part. She faked a Warrior out of her shorts (figuratively), put a spin move on her and kissed the ball off the glass to narrow the visitors' lead to 33-23. It was there that the plan went awry. McAuley scored at will the rest of the quarter, earning squatters' rights to the Diamond basket and the Wildcats never scored again as they fell to their Ozark 8 rival 53-23.
On the positive side, Diamond featured a balanced scoring attack. Unfortunately, the leaders for that balanced scoring attack were junior Ashley Parker, senior Heather Barnett and sophomore Jessi Youngblood with five apiece, while Farley contributed four off the bench. The Wildcats were playing without sophomore starter Ashley Brummett, who is suffering from a knee injury.
The home team was able to stay with the Warriors early. Diamond never led but did tie the visitors twice, at 2-2 on a Megan Kinney basket from a Youngblood assist, and at 4-4, when Parker nailed a two-pointer from a Libby Sherill assist. McAuley led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. Diamond opened the second quarter with a mini-run, scoring the first three points on two Brittany Gilliam free throws and one by Barnett. McAuley led 19-16 at halftime.
The closest Diamond came in the third quarter was three points, 21-18, on a Parker basket.
Diamond, 1-2, will play at Verona Thursday night.

A last second attempt to tie the game bounced off the front of the rim and fell to the floor as the Diamond junior varsity girls basketball team fell to McAuley 7-5 Monday night. The game lasted only one quarter because of the small number of girls out for basketball this year.
The Wildcats fell behind 6-0 before fighting back on a Megan Kinney basket from a Jolene Topham assist. Jesse Youngblood hit one of two free throws. After a Warrior free throw, Andi Ingersoll grabbed an offensive rebound and passed to Topham, who hit the game's final basket to trim the margin to two.
Diamond forced McAuley to take a poor shot and had one more chance, but was unable to get the final shot to go down.
Diamond- Points- Kinney 2, Topham 2, Youngblood 1; Rebounds- Kinney 1, Libby Sherrill 1, Ingersoll 1; Assists- Topham 1, Ingersoll 1; Steals- Kenzie Greenwood 2, Sherill 1, Topham 1, Youngblood 1.

By Randy Turner
STELLA- Whitney Booyer was one unhappy camper as her Diamond seventh grade basketball team headed for the locker room at halftime of its game with Rocky Comfort Saturday in the annual Triway Tournament.
"This is the sorriest game I've ever seen," the feisty redhead said...and she was absolutely right.
At halftime, Diamond trailed Rocky Comfort 4-2, but thanks to a spirited performance by Whitney and the rest of her teammates. Whitney scored a game-high 12 points as Diamond rolled to a 26-14 win.
Carrie Castor tied the game at the beginning of the third quarter with a drive and basket. Diamond went on to outscore Rocky 16-4 in the third period with Booyer scoring eight, Castor and Jacquie Lasiter four apiece and Alyshia Bowles two.
In the fourth period, the Wildcats continued the onslaught with Booyer hitting three baskets and assisting on the game's final two-pointer, which was scored by Castor. Diamond also controlled the boards during the second half with Lydia O'Donnell collecting 12 second-half rebounds.
Diamond- Points- Booyer 12, Castor 8, Lasiter 4, Bowles 2.

Reserve basketball players need to be able to contribute at any time and a pair of them helped the Diamond eighth grade girls team to a 19-14 win over Rocky Comfort in the annual Triway Tournament Saturday.
Katy Hext, called into duty when Ricki Fountain picked up some quick, early fouls, collected seven rebounds, while diminutive guard Brittney Stevens, seeing her first action since transferring here from Arkansas, had three rebounds and a steal.
As usual, the lion's share of the offensive load was shouldered by Michelle Darr, who recorded a double-double with a game-high 10 points and 10 rebounds. Fountain had five points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
As the Diamond seventh grade had done earlier in the day, the eighth graders played a sluggish first half, trailing 10-9 as they entered the locker room. Brandi Johnson propelled the Wildcats into the lead with a basket from a Darr assist, then followed that with a steal that led to a Darr basket. Johnson blocked a shot and moments later, Hext nailed a putback to increase the lead to 15-10. The score was 15-12 after three quarters.
Rocky Comfort opened the fourth quarter with a free throw, but Diamond answered with a Fountain basket from a Johnson assist. The Wildcats limited Rocky Comfort to one point the rest of the way and added a two-pointer by Darr.
The seventh and eighth grade teams will continue play in the Triway Tournament Tuesday night.
Diamond- Points- Darr 10, Fountain 5, Johnson 2, Hext 2; Rebounds- Fountain 11, Darr 10, Hext 7, Lauren Fetters 6, Johnson 4, Darci Price 4, Taunie Brewer 3, Stevens 3, Casey Brown 1; Assists- Fountain 2, Darr 1, Johnson 1; Steals- Johnson 3, Darr 2, Fetters 2, Stevens 1; Blocked Shots- Fetters 1.
By Randy Turner
His name was Rusty, but was shooting touch was anything but on Thursday night, fortunately for the Diamond Wildcats. Six-four senior center Rusty Gibbs scored a team-high 17 points and collared 13 rebounds to lift Diamond to a 53-47 non-conference win over Carl Junction.
Gibbs saved the best for last. After Diamond led virtually the entire game, Carl Junction knotted the contest at 43-43 with a three-pointer at the 2:40 mark of the fourth period. Ryan Green put the home team back on top with a free throw. Terry Bessman rebounded a Carl Junction miss, fired the outlet pass to point guard Justin Shull and a few moments later, Shull picked up one of his five assists on a bullet pass to Gibbs, who kissed it in for two. Gibbs didn't limit his heroics to the offensive side of the court. A few moments later, he stood his ground as a Bulldog shooter plowed into him, picking up the charge and forcing the turnover. Gibbs's putback at the 1:08 mark increased the Wildcat lead to five, 48-43, and forced a Bulldog timeout. A Shull free throw made it a six-point margin. The Bulldogs wasted no time knocking down a two-pointer and called another timeout with 43 seconds remaining. When play resumed, the visitors put full court pressure on Diamond, but the strategy backfired. The eagle-eyed Bessman spotted junior Justin Lane sprinting downcourt and fired the touchdown pass. An intentional foul call against Diamond briefly restored Carl Junction's fading hopes. The Bulldogs hit both free throws, then took the ball out, but were unable to convert another basket. Shull picked up the rebound, was fouled and hit the first free throw to improve Diamond's advantage to 52-47. He missed the second. Carl Junction took an errant shot, which Lane stamped return to sender. He grabbed the ball and was fouled with seven seconds left. He hit one free throw for the final margin.
Aiding Gibbs in the scoring department was Green, who had 10 points. Bubby Farley was the second-high rebounder, along with Green, with five. Farley proved to be a key insertion in the fourth quarter when he made a number of big plays. Senior Chris Jinks paced the Wildcats in assists with six.
Diamond, 4-1, will play at Purdy Friday night.
Diamond- Points- Gibbs 17, Green 10, Shull 8, Lane 6, Bessman 4, Skyler Powers 3, Farley 3, Jinks 2; Rebounds- Gibbs 13, Farley 5, Green 5, Powers 2, Bessman 2, Lane 1, Jinks 1; Assists- Jinks 6, Shull 5, Bessman 3, Gibbs 2, Green 1; Steals- Green 3, Shull 3, Gibbs 3, Jinks 1, Powers 1, Farley 1; Blocked Shots- Gibbs 1, Green 1, Lane 1; Three-Pointers- Shull 2, Lane 1.

By Randy Turner
Deke Beckett scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Diamond junior varsity basketball team dropped Carl Junction 49-45 Thursday night to improve their record to 2-0.
Despite his offensive outburst, Beckett's biggest play might have come on defense. Diamond entered the fourth quarter leading 31-25, but two Bulldog free throws trimmed the lead to four. Beckett banked in a two-pointer to restore the margin. The visitors scored the next three points and picked up a turnover, setting the stage for the play that stopped their momentum and propelled the Wildcats to the win.
A Carl Junction player drove the baseline heading toward an apparently open layup, when Beckett planted himself in his path, took the charge and picked up the turnover. The Bulldogs did eventually manage to take the lead and build it to 36-33, but Beckett drove, was fouled and hit the first free throw to cut the lead to two. He missed the second, but Greg Fetters grabbed the long rebound, fired it to Beckett, who spotted Sheldon Booyer open. Booyer didn't get the shot, but he was hammered and hit one free throw to make it 36-35.
He missed the second, but Carl Junction was unable to convert. Grant Gibbs pulled down the rebound and Beckett's pull-up jumper put Diamond back in the lead. After a Carl Junction basket, Diamond regained the lead on a Beckett basket from a Fetters assist.
The visitors took their final lead at 41-40 with 2:20 left. As Beckett brought the ball downcourt, Jake VanLue set a perfect screen. Beckett drove right by his man and popped in a two-pointer. Free throws by VanLue, Casey Holland and Booyer and a Beckett three-pointer helped salt the game away.
Diamond- Points- Gibbs 11, Beckett 10, VanLue 9, Justin Lane 5, Holland 5, Bubby Farley 5, Booyer 4; Rebounds- Fetters 6, Gibbs 6, Farley 3, VanLue 3, Booyer 3, Holland 3, Beckett 2; Assists- Fetters 3, VanLue 2, Beckett 2, Farley 1, Gibbs 1; Steals- Holland 3, Beckett 2, Farley 1, Fetters 1, VanLue 1; Blocked Shots- Holland 1; Three-Pointers- Lane 1, Beckett 1.


The Diamond freshman basketball team lost to Carl Junction 48-36 Thursday night in the season opener. The Wildcats stayed close for most of the game until the visitors pulled away in the fourth quarter. Diamond led early 2-0 on a Kyle Bridges basket from a Josh Beckett assist, set up by Beckett's steal, and 4-2 on a Trent Jones two-pointer from a Beckett assist. Carl Junction led 10-8 at the end of the quarter and increased the margin to 24-20 at halftime, despite six points from Bridges and four apiece for Beckett and Trent Jones. Jones was the team leader with 13 points.
Carl Junction took a 38-31 lead after three quarters.
Diamond- Points- Jones 13, Beckett 7, Bridges 6, Jordan Macy 4, John Cook 2, Justin McLees 2, Brandon Webb 2; Rebounds- Bridges 7, Jones 3, Beckett 2, McLees 1, Macy 1, Webb 1; Assists- Beckett 7, Macy 3, Bridges 2, Jones 1; Steals- Beckett 4, Macy 2, Jones 1.

By Randy Turner
Christmas is still three weeks away, but Justin Shull was already in the holiday spirit Tuesday night. The Diamond senior point guard distributed 17 assists and added 14 points as the Wildcats breezed to a 76-59 win over Southwest.
Diamond dominated every aspect of the game, outrebounding the Trojans 38-20 and picking up seven steals, including three for senior Skyler Powers.
The Wildcats put four players in double figures, led by Powers with 15. Senior forward Ryan Green had 13 and senior center Rusty Gibbs chipped in with 11. The other starter, senior forward Chris Jinks, barely missed double figures, scoring eight points.
Diamond, led by Shull's pinpoint passes, scored a number of times in the lane, but also nailed six three-pointers with senior Terry Bessman and Shull contributing two apiece, while Green and junior Justin Lane each had one.
The Trojans, buoyed by some hot downtown shooting stayed with the home team for much of the first half. The score was 26-22 Diamond halfway through the second quarter when Lane hit his three-pointer. Shull by driving down the lane and kissing it in for two, then following a Southwest turnover, Shull hit Lane for two more. Diamond led 35-25 at halftime.
A nine-point third-quarter run finally enabled Diamond to pull away from the pesky Trojans. The Wildcats were ahead 39-28, when Shull found Green open for a nothing-but-net three. After a Trojan turnover, Shull utilized his passing wizardry once more, finding Gibbs open underneath. A Gibbs steal led to a Green layup and the run ended with a Jinks two-pointer.
Diamond led 54-35 after three quarters. The Wildcats will entertain Carl Junction Thursday night with the junior varsity game beginning at 6 p.m.
Diamond- Points- Powers 15, Shull 14, Green 13, Gibbs 11, Jinks 8, Lane 7, Bessman 6, Farley 2; Rebounds- Gibbs 9, Jinks 8, Green 7, Shull 6, Powell 4, Bessman 2, Lane 1, VanLue 1; Assists- Shull 17, Green 5, Gibbs 3, Bessman 2, Jinks 1, Lane 1; Steals- Powers 3, Green 1, Bessman 1, Gibbs 1, Farley 1; Blocked Shots- Green 1; Three-Pointers- Shull 2, Bessman 2, Lane 1, Green 1.


By Randy Turner

Seven people scored six or more points for the Diamond junior varsity basketball team in its season-opening 56-29 win over Southwest. Casey Holland wasn't one of them.
A late free throw was all the 6-2 sophomore forward scored, but he did everything else as he helped his team with the runaway victory. Holland had a team-leading nine rebounds and tied Justin Lane for the assists lead with five.
Grant Gibbs led the balanced scoring attack with 10 points, while Bubby Farley had eight, Deke Beckett seven, and Jake VanLue, Greg Fetters, Casey Crane and Josh Beckett contributed six apiece.
The outcome was never in doubt from the time Lane scored the opening basket to Sheldon Booyer's final two-pointer from a Holland assist. Diamond scored the first 10 points. Lane followed his opening layup with a steal and assist on a VanLue basket. After that, he swiped the ball again and fed Gibbs for two. Baskets by Gibbs and Farley completed the 10-point run. The Wildcats held a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The score was 24-11 at halftime and 40-18 after three quarters.
Diamond- Points- Gibbs 10, Farley 8, D. Beckett 7, VanLue 6, Fetters 6, Crane 6, Beckett 6, Booyer 4, Lane 2, Holland 1; Rebounds- Holland 9, Fetters 4, Crane 4, Gibbs 3, Farley 2, Lane 1, Booyer 1; Assists- Lane 5, Holland 5, VanLue 4, D. Beckett 4, Fetters 2, Gibbs 1; Steals- D. Beckett 3, Lane 3, Holland 3, VanLue 3, J. Beckett 2, Farley 1, Booyer 1; Blocked Shots- Booyer 3, Fetters 1; Three-Pointerse- D. Beckett 1.

By Randy Turner
Megan Kinney's first high school basketball game wasn't quite what she was hoping for. After a slow start, the Diamond freshman ended her debut game with four points, eight rebounds and a team-high seven assists, but the Wildcats had fallen to Ozark 8 rival Southwest 62-45.
The undermanned Diamond squad lost despite solid efforts by a pair of veterans. The top scorer was sophomore second-year starter Ashley Brummett with 19 points, 13 of them coming in the second half. Senior guard Amanda Farley was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 11 points. Farley also had three rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Diamond led only once, 2-0, on a Kinney basket from a Jessi Youngblood assist. After two baskets by the Trojans, the home team was able to come within one point twice, on solo free throws by Youngblood and Brittany Gilliam. Southwest led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The visitors began to pull away in the second period, outscoring Diamond 19-12 to take a 37-21 halftime advantage.
Coach Rachael Madden's Wildcats played their best ball at the beginning of the third quarter, going on an 8-2 run to trim the Southwest lead to 39-29. Diamond worked the ball inside to Brummett, who knew what to do with it when it was in her hands. Farley fed her for the opening bucket of the second half. After a Trojan two-pointer, Kinney was the next one to get the ball into Brummett's hands for two. Libby Sherrill's steal set up Diamond's next basket, a Kinney putback. Brummett stamped a Trojan shot attempt return to sender, then Kinney grabbed a missed Wildcat shot and fed Brummett for two more, making it a 10-point game. Southwest outscored Diamond 13-4 to lead 52-33 after three quarters.
Diamond, 0-1, will play at Purdy Thursday night.
Since Diamond had only nine players dressed out, the junior varsity game lasted just one seven-minute quarter with the Wildcats winning 5-2 behind baskets by Jessi Youngblood and Jolene Topham and a Brittany Gilliam free throw.
Diamond Varsity- Points- Brummett 19, Farley 11, Youngblood 5, Gilliam 5, Kinney 4, Sherrill 1; Rebounds- Brummett 8, Kinney 8, Gilliam 5, Farley 3, Sherrill 3, Youngblood 2; Assists- Kinney 7, Farley 4, Youngblood 1, Sherrill 1, Gilliam 1, Brummett 1; Steals- Farley 4, Brummett 3, Youngblood 2, Sherrill 1, Gilliam 1, Kinney 1; Blocked Shots- Brummett 2, Farley 1.
Diamond Junior Varsity- Points- Youngblood 2, Topham 2, Gilliam 1; Rebounds- Sherrill 2, Gilliam 1, Kinney 1, Youngblood 1; Assists- Andi Ingersoll 1, Sherrill 1; Steals- Topham 1, Youngblood 1, Gilliam 1.

By Randy Turner
JASPER- Alyshia Bowles made fine use of her limited playing time Thursday night as the Diamond seventh grade defeated Jasper 24-16 Thursday night. The tiny reserve guard made two key plays that helped thwart an Eagle comeback attempt at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Diamond held a six-point lead, 16-10, at the end of three quarters, but Jasper had momentum, scoring the final four points of the third period. Alyshia ended that run on the first Diamond possession of the fourth quarter, making a pinpoint bounce pass to Carrie Castor who went in for two. Moments later, the hustling little guard tied up a Jasper player. The possession arrow pointed to Diamond. The Wildcats never seriously threatened after that.
The key to Diamond's win was another sterling performance by the lean, mean, rebounding machine, Lydia O'Donnell, who tied her season-high 21 rebounds and scored a career-high nine points.
The Wildcats dominated the first half, scoring all four first-quarter points, with O'Donnell opening the scoring with a putback, followed by a Carrie Castor basket from a Jacque Lasiter assist.
After a Jasper basket opened the second quarter, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run featuring two-pointers by Castor and Whitney Booyer, sandwiched around two O'Donnell free throws.
O'Donnell dominated the boards during the second half, collecting 14 of her 21 rebounds. She had ample help from Booyer, who had 11 rebounds and Lasiter, who had 10. Castor had eight points while Booyer chipped in with six points.
DIAMOND- Points- O'Donnell 9, Castor 8, Booyer 6, Lasiter 1; Rebounds- O'Donnell 21, Booyer 11, Lasiter 10, Castor 3, Dana Bridges 1; Assists- Lasiter 1, Castor 1, Bowles 1; Steals- Castor 4, O'Donnell 3, Booyer 1; Blocked Shots- Lasiter 1.

JASPER- The Jasper eighth grade girls basketball team outscored Diamond 15-6 in the second half en route to a 32-20 win Thursday night.
The win came despite a double-double, 11 points and 11 rebounds from Michelle Darr...a performance that came even though she was sick. Darr scored eight of her points in the first half, which ended with Diamond trailing by only three points, 17-14.
Diamond scored only six points, three from Darr, two from Brandi Johnson and an Alyson Brown free throw in the second half.
Diamond- Points- Darr 11, Johnson 4, Taunie Brewer 2, Lauren Fetters 2, A. Brown 1; Rebounds- Darr 11, Johnson 7, Brewer 4, Fetters 3, A. Brown 2, Brittany Busse 2, Darci Price 2, Katy Hext 1, Casey Brown 1; Assists- Darr 2, Johnson 1, A. Brown 1; Steals- Darr 4, Johnson 1, C. Brown 1; Blocked Shots- Johnson 1.

By Randy Turner
Clay Norwood's scoop shot with 24 seconds left lifted the Diamond seventh grade basketball team to a 24-23 win over Jasper Monday night. Jasper failed on a late opportunity and Kyle Lowry came down with a clutch rebound and was fouled with eight-tenths of a second remaining. He missed the free throw, but it didn't make any difference. The Eagles did not have time to get off a final shot.
The Wildcats bounced back from a four-point deficit in the final quarter. Trailing 18-14, Diamond started its run with Daniel Johnson two-pointer from a Paul Holland assist. Holland was a standout for the home team, leading a balanced scoring attack with six points, while collecting a team-high eight rebounds, three steals and three assists.
Holland scored the tying basket, stealing the ball, then going coast to coast for the two-pointer. A Lowry offensive rebound led to the go-ahead basket, which he made with an off-balance shot.
After Jasper regained the lead with a free throw and a basket, Lowry hit another basket, set up by a Holland steal and pass. The Eagles went ahead one final time, setting the stage for Norwood's late heroics.
Diamond- Points- Holland 6, Norwood 4, Ryan Clouse 4, Lowry 4, Michael Lane 2, Kevin Ortega 2, Johnson 2; Rebounds- Holland 8, Ortega 7, Lane 7, Norwood 4, Lowry 3, Zach Towers 2, Clouse 2; Assists- Norwood 3, Holland 3, Lane 1, Lowry 1; Steals- Holland 3, Norwood 2; Blocked Shots- Lowry 2, Clouse 1.


The offensive rebounds finally started coming for the Diamond eighth grade basketball team in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter of its 42-30 loss to Jasper Monday night. Blake Broaddus picked up one, but the Wildcats were unable to convert it into any points. A few moments later, it was Jake Youngblood who ventured into the land of the giants, pulled down a rebound, made a quick spin move and put it in for two.
After a Jasper turnover, it was Luke Hockman's turn to hit the glass. He hustled in, grabbed a missed Wildcat shot and put it back in, drawing the foul. He finished the old fashioned three-point play. Unfortunately, that five-point run only narrowed the Eagle lead to 40-29.
Rebounding woes, especially on the defensive glass plagued Diamond the whole game. On one possession, the Eagles were able to collar three offensive rebounds. Another time, it was four. On four occasions, all it took was one follow shot for the visitors to score.
Diamond never led and tied the game, only once, at 2-2, on a Tyler Youngblood layup. Jasper led 11-6 at the end of the first quarter. A four-point run midway through the second quarter featuring baskets by T. Youngblood and Jeff Morris, was the best the Wildcats could do. They were down by four, 17-13, at halftime. After Jasper scored the first four points of the second half, Diamond brought the gap back to four on a Broaddus basket from a Morris assist, set up by Josh Dresslaer's steal and a T. Youngblood putback. The score was 23-17 after three quarters.
Diamond- Points- T.Youngblood 10, J. Youngblood 6, Dresslaer 4, Broaddus 3, Hockman 3, Morris 2, Tanner Stevens 2; Rebounds- T. Youngblood 10, Broaddus 5, Morris 3, Hockman 3, J. Youngblood 3, Stevens 2, Dresslaer 1, John Gossard 1, Josh Bass 1; Assists- Stevens 4, T. Youngblood 3, Morris 2, Broaddus 1, J. Youngblood 1; Steals- T. Youngblood 9, Dresslaer 4, Broaddus 1, Stevens 1; Blocked Shots- Broaddus 2, T. Youngblood 1, J. Youngblood 1.

By Randy Turner
Taunie Brewer's coming-out party was held Tuesday night in Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium and everyone was invited. The Diamond eighth grader hit season highs in scoring with 10 points and rebounding with 12 as Diamond posted its first victory, trouncing Lockwood 39-21.
Brewer connected on four putbacks and she had considerable help in dominating the boards. Ricki Fountain had her best game of the year, scoring eight points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Fountain was effective both from inside and outside. Brandi Johnson had her second straight strong rebounding performance, collecting nine to add to the nine she had against Miller Monday night. Lauren Fetters added six, Michelle Darr four and Brittany Busse and Casey Brown three apiece and Alyson Brown two.
Diamond took control from the outset. With the score tied 2-2, the Wildcats began a 15-point run that lasted into the second quarter. The spree began with a Darr two-pointer from a Fountain assist. Darr returned the favor moments later, stealing the ball and passing to Fountain for two. Fountain connected for an old fashioned three-point play, hitting a basket, getting fouled and converting the free throw to make 7-2. Darr, the game's leading scorer with 14 points, banked one in, thanks to another Fountain assist. A Darr steal and layup, a Fountain two-pointer from a Katy Hext assist and a Brewer follow shot at the buzzer put the score at 15-2.
Diamond opened the second period with a Darr basket. Lockwood made it a run the remainder of the period, outscoring the home team 11-2 to trim the lead to 19-13. In the second half, Brewer collected eight points to lead Diamond, while Darr had six and Fountain three.
The Wildcat rebounding shined during the third and fourth quarters as Fountain had eight rebounds, Brewer and Johnson six apiece and Fetters five. Diamond led 27-19 at the end of three periods, then salted the game away at the beginning of the final quarter with a six-point run featuring two Brewer putbacks and a pair of Fountain free throws.
Diamond- Points- Darr 14, Brewer 10, Fountain 8, Johnson 4, Fetters 2, Hext 1; Rebounds- Fountain 13, Brewer 12, Johnson 9, Fetters 6, Darr 4, Busse 3, C. Brown 3, A. Brown 2, Jessie Smart 1; Assists- Fountain 2, Darr 1, Hext 1, Fetters 1, Johnson 1, Brewer 1; Steals- Darr 4, Johnson 1, A. Brown 1.

By Randy Turner
Baskets at the end of three of the four quarters enabled the Lockwood eighth grade girls to overcome a 10-point, 16-rebound performance by Whitney Booyer and post a 21-19 win Tuesday night over Diamond in the last game before the Thanksgiving break.
Diamond, thanks to Booyer's best performance of the season, led nearly all the way, building a 17-13 lead thanks to two spectacular plays by Booyer. The first came after a rare airball by Carrie Castor. The hustling Booyer chased down the ball before it went out of bounds and fired it back to Castor. This time, the Wildcat gunner cleared nothing but net to put Diamond up 15-13. Moments later, Booyer hit a putback to give the Wildcats a four-point advantage.
It wasn't enough. Lockwood scored eight of the final 10 points, with Diamond's only two-pointer coming courtesy of a Booyer basket from a Castor assist.
Booyer who had nice support on the boards from Lydia O'Donnell who had nine rebounds and Jacque Lasiter who chipped in with five. Booyer also had two steals and blocked two shots.
Points- Booyer 10, Castor 4, O'Donnell 3, Lasiter 2; Rebounds- Booyer 16, O'Donnell 9, Lasiter 5, Castor 2, Alyshia Bowles 1; Assists- Castor 2, Booyer 1; Steals- Booyer 2, Castor 2, Lasiter 1, Bowles 1, O'Donnell 1; Blocked Shots- Booyer 2, O'Donnell 1.


By Randy Turner
The block party started early for Whitney Booyer and the Diamond seventh grade girls basketball team and never ended as they whipped Miller 17-12 Monday night.
Whitney blocked five shots and could easily have had seven except for a pair of quesionable calls late. On nearly every block, the Wildcats came up with the ball. Defense was the name of the game for Coach Brad Hocker's crew as it gave up the first three points of the game then held Miller scoreless for the next 14 minutes. During that time, Diamond rolled up seven points in the first half to go up 7-3, including baskets by Lydia O'Donnell, Carrie Castor and Booyer and an Alyshia Bowles free throw.
The scoring continued in the third period with Castor going on a tear. She hit a two-pointer to start the period, then hit a free throw and picked up an assist on a basket by Booyer. A Castor putback made it 14-3 before the visitors ended the 14-point run with a basket. The score was 16-5 after three quarters, with Castor grabbing a defensive rebound, taking it all the way in and kissing it off the glass for two.
The Cardinals scored seven points in the fourth quarter, but it was too late to do anything about the outcome. Diamond's sole fourth-quarter point came on a Castor free throw. Castor scored eight of the Wildcats' 10 second-half points. The Wildcats will play host to Lockwood Tuesday night.
Diamond- Points- Castor 10, Booyer 4, O'Donnell 2, Bowles 1; Rebounds- O'Donnell 11, Booyer 10, Castor 5, Lasiter 5; Assists- Castor 1; Steals- Lasiter 6, Castor 6, Booyer 4, Bowles 3, O'Donnell 1; Blocks- Booyer 5.

Lauren Fetters had taken all she was going to take.
The Diamond eighth grader grabbed a rebound and as her Miller opponents clustered around her, she shouted fiercely, "Back off." They scattered to the four corners of the gymnasium while Fetters tossed the ball to a teammate.
Unfortunately, things didn't always go that well for the Wildcats as they lost to Miller 30-22. Diamond was beaten soundly on the boards, though Brandi Johnson had a season-high nine and Michelle Darr had six long rebounds.
As usual, the miniature marvel Darr provided the scoring punch with 18 points. Fetters and Johnson each contributed two.
Diamond grabbed an early first quarter lead on a Darr steal and layup, followed by a play in which Fetters grabbed a rebound and kicked it out to Darr, for a nothing-but-net shot. Miller scored seven of the final nine points of the period with the Wildcats' only score coming from a Darr basket from a Johnson assist. The score was 9-6 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Diamond answered a Cardinal basket with a two-pointer by Fetters from a Darr assist. The Wildcats had only one more point, a Darr free throw in the period and went into the locker room trailing 19-9.
The closest Diamond came in the second half was eight points, 28-20, thanks to a 10-2 run with Darr scoring all 10 points. Four of them came on assists from Alyson Brown and Katy Hext.
Diamond will play host to Lockwood tonight.
Diamond- Points- Darr 18, Fetters 2, Johnson 2; Rebounds- Johnson 9, Darr 6, Ricki Fountain 4, Darci Price 4, Fetters 3, A. Brown 1, Casey Brown 1; Assists- Johnson 3, Fetters 1, Darr 1, A. Brown 1, Hext 1, Fountain 1; Steals- Darr 5, Brittany Busse 1, C. Brown 1, Hext 1; Blocked Shots- Fetters 1.


By Randy Turner
John Gossard's layup punctuated the Diamond 8th Grade A team's 51-46, come-from-behind win over Purdy in the final game of the annual Diamond Tournament Saturday, but it did quite a bit more than that. The basket came just before time expired on a perfect lead pass from Tyler Youngblood, the Wildcat point guard's 10th assist of the game.
The assist meant that he had skipped over his first triple-double, which he guaranteed in the third quarter when he picked up his 10th steal, and recorded his first quadruple-double. Youngblood paced the Wildcat attack with 25 points, 21 of them coming in the second half, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and 15 steals. He briefly flirted with a quintuple double when he blocked his sixth shot early in the third period.
It looked for most of the game as if Tyler's statistical prowess wasn't going to mean much as Diamond trailed 19-7 at the end of the first quarter, 34-17 at halftime and still was down 42-26 with one minute left in the third quarter. That's when the Wildcats went on the march with a furious combination of defensive and offensive pressure that left the visitors shellshocked.
A T. Youngblood steal set up his own three-pointer. After a Purdy turnover, Clayton Norwood fed Jake Youngblood in the quarter for another nothing-but-net three to trim the deficit to 10. T. Youngblood picked a Purdy pocket (try to say that five times fast) and he nailed another three-pointer. Yet another T. Youngblood steal and a Luke Hockman two-pointer made it a five-point game, 42-37, at the end of three quarters.
Purdy ended the 11-point run at the beginning of the final period with a basket. T. Youngblood drove in for two more, but Purdy answered quickly to retain the seven-point advantage. A T. Youngblood three-pointer from a Norwood assist made it 46-42, the closest Diamond had been since midway through the first quarter.
T. Youngblood grabbed a missed Purdy shot, drove all the way, missed the shot, but picked up his own rebound and was fouled while shooting. He hit both free throws to halve the lead. A J. Youngblood free throw at the 1:54 mark made it 46-45.
Diamond took the lead for good on a T. Youngblood steal and layup. J. Youngblood increased the lead with a steal and layup of his own, then T. Youngblood fed Gossard for the final points.
Jake Youngblood contributed 15 points to the effort, keeping Diamond in the game during the first half with 11.
Diamond- Points- T. Youngblood 25, J. Youngblood 15, Hockman 4, Blake Broaddus 3, Norwood 2, Gossard 2; Rebounds- T. Youngblood 15, Norwood 5, Broaddus 4, J. Youngblood 2, Hockman 2, Gossard 1, Kyle Lowry 1; Assists- T. Youngblood 10, Gossard 2, Norwood 2, Broaddus 1; Steals- T. Youngblood 15, J. Youngblood 3, Norwood 2, Broaddus 1, Hockman 1; Blocked Shots- T. Youngblood 6, Broaddus 2; Three-Pointers- T. Youngblood 3, J. Youngblood 1.
The primal scream that echoed through Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium Saturday meant that Zach Towers had picked up another blocked shot or had intimidated a Southwest player into making an ill-advised shot. Unfortunately, Zach's best game of the young season, which saw him score seven points, grab eight rebounds and block five shots, wasn't enough as the Diamond seventh grade A team fell to Southwest 37-23 in the Diamond Tournament Saturday.
The Trojans scored the first eight points before Zach scored on a baseline drive. The Wildcats added a steal and layup by Clayton Norwood and another Norwood two-pointer to trail 13-6 at the end of the first quarter. Zach opened the second period with a block, but Southwest was able to grab the ball and score. The Trojans outscored Diamond 13-4 in the quarter to take a 26-10 halftime lead.
Diamond failed to score in the third quarter, which ended with Southwest leading 34-10. The Wildcats did keep working and outscored Southwest 13-3 in the final period, led by Zach Towers with five points, Paul Holland with four and Norwood with three.
Diamond- Points- Norwood 11, Towers 7, Holland 4, Clint Myers 1; Rebounds- Towers 8, Holland 7, Norwood 5, Kevin Ortega 4, Daniel Stone 2; Assists- Holland 1, Myers 1, Ortega 1, Stone 1, Towers 1; Steals- Norwood 3, Towers 2, Holland 2, Myers 1; Blocked Shots- Towers 5.
A 13-point run over the last 7:44 of the game lifted the Purdy seventh grade basketball team to a 30-17 win over the Diamond B team in the Diamond Tournament Saturday.
Diamond scored its last points at the 1:44 mark of the third quarter on a Michael Lane jumper from a Daniel Johnson assist. The Eagles outscored the home team 22-4 in the second half after Diamond played a strong first half.
A six-point first quarter run lifted the B team to its first lead in two tournament games. The run began with Purdy leading 4-2 when Jake Edge nailed two free throws. The Wildcats took the lane when Lane banked one on, then increased the lead to four points, 8-4, on a Ryan Clouse putback. Clouse had a team-high nine rebounds, including six in the second half when rebounds were harder to come by for the locals.
Lane was top scorer for Diamond with eight points. He also had eight rebounds and six steals, while Kyle Lowry contributed eight rebounds before fouling out in the second half.
Diamond- Points- Lane 8, Edge 2, Clouse 2; Rebounds- Clouse 9, Lowry 8, Lane 8, Edge 6, Charles Forest 5, Johnson 1; Assists- Clouse 1, Johnson 1; Steals- Lane 6, Lowry 4, Clouse 1, Johnson 1, Edge 1; Blocked Shots- Lowry 1, Lane 1.
The Diamond 8th B team fell to Southwest 39-14 in the Diamond Tournament Saturday. The young Wildcats received balanced scoring with Josh Bass, Tanner Stevens and Jeff Morris each scoring four points and Josh Dresslaer contributing two.
The Wildcats fell behind 6-0 before Josh Bass put them on the scoreboard with a basket off an assist from Tanner Stevens. Diamond trailed 6-2 at the end of the first quarter and 17-6 at halftime. The Trojans scored the first 12 points of the second half before Stevens connected on a pair of free throws.
Diamond- Points- J. Bass 4, Stevens 4, Morris 4, Dresslaer 2; Rebounds- Cory Bass 5, Stevens 5, Zach Towers 2, Morris 2, J. Bass 2, Dresslaer 2; Assists- Stevens 2, Michael Lane 1, Dresslaer 1, Morris 1; Steals- Stevens 2, Morris 2, C. Bass 2, Dresslaer 2, J. Bass 1; Blocked Shots- C. Bass 1, Dresslaer 1.

By Randy Turner
The Diamond seventh grade boys B basketball team lost to Southwest 45-19 in the annual Diamond Tournament Friday night.
A putback by Daniel Johnson which tied the score at 2-2 in the first quarter was as close as the young Wildcats came. The score was 15-6 Southwest at the end of the first quarter, 34-8 at halftime and 40-13 after three quarters.
Highlights for the locals included hustling guard Michael Lane, who led Diamond with 10 points and some steady rebounding from Kyle Lowry who topped the Wildcat charts with eight. Johnson had four steals, all in the second half.
DIAMOND- Points- Lane 10, Ryan Clouse 4, Lowery 3, Johnson 2; Rebounds- Lowry 8, Charles Forest 6, Clouse 3, Lane 3, Johnson 2, Jake Edge 2; Assists- Lane 2, Forest 1, Clouse 1, Lowry 1, Edge 1; Steals- Johnson 4, Lane 3, Forest 2, Clouse 1, Edge 1, Lowry 1.


A strong Southwest inside game proved fatal to the Diamond eighth grade A basketball squad as it lost to the Trojans 50-36 Friday night.
The Wildcats held the early advantage, going up 14-9 on a Jake Youngblood basket from a Tyler Youngblood assist early in the second quarter, but scored only two more points on a T. Youngblood drive and trailed 23-16 at halftime.
The Youngblood keyed the Diamond attack in the first half, with Tyler scoring 11 of his team-high 15 points and Jake tallying four. T. Youngblood also paced the Wildcats in rebounds with seven, assists with five, steals with four and hit a three-pointer at the beginning of the contest. Diamond mounted a rally in the fourth quarter, keyed by the Youngbloods. After falling behind 39-24 after three quarters, the Wildcats opened the final period with a six-point run. starting with a T. Youngblood two-pointer. After a Southwest turnover, J. Youngblood nailed a putback. Blake Broaddus grabbed a defensive rebound leading to a Clayton Norwood shot from a John Gossard assist. Gossard played a solid all-around game, contributing three rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. The Diamond rally died when T. Youngblood turned an ankle and had to leave the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Wildcats kept hustling with fine defensive plays turned in by Norwood and Broaddus. Ryan Clouse hit a pair of baskets and on one memorable play, Norwood picked up a steal and fired the ball ahead to Broaddus, who lapped the field for a layup.
Diamond- Points- T. Youngblood 15, J. Youngblood 12, Clouse 4, Norwood 2, Broaddus 2; Rebounds- T. Youngblood 7, Broaddus 4, Gossard 3, Norwood 3, J. Youngblood 2, Clouse 1; Assists- T. Youngblood 5, Gossard 4, Norwood 4, Clouse 1; Steals- T. Youngblood 4, J. Youngblood 3, Norwood 3, Gossard 2, Broaddus 2; Blocked Shots- Broaddus 2, Luke Hockman 1, J. Youngblood 1; Three-Pointers- T. Youngblood 1.


A double-double by Paul Holland and a strong, all-around performance by Clayton Norwood were the highlights for the Diamond seventh grade A team as it opened its season Friday night with a 48-30 loss to Purdy in the Diamond Middle School Tournament.
Holland scored 12 points and collected 12 rebounds, while Norwood was the team's leading scorer with 16 points and added six rebounds and six steals. The Wildcats also received a sturdy performance on the boards from Kevin Ortega, who had 10 rebounds, eight of them in the first half, along with four assists, two of them on Norwood two-pointers and one on a Norwood three-pointer.
Norwood's first basket tied the game at 2-2, which was close as the Wildcats ever came. The score was 20-6 at the end of the first quarter and 30-15 at halftime. The Eagles outscored the home team 10-2 in the third quarter to improve their lead to 42-17.
Diamond- Points- Norwood 16, Holland 12, Ortega 2; Rebounds- Holland 12, Ortega 10, Norwood 6, Clint Myers 3, Daniel Stone 3, Zach Towers 1; Assists- Ortega 4, Towers 2, Stone 1, Myers 1; Steals- Norwood 6, Ortega 2, Holland 1, Stone 1; Three-Pointers- Norwood 1.


It wasn't the type of thing that shows up in the stat box at the end of the article, but Josh Dresslaer gave Diamond fans something to cheer about late in the fourth quarter of the eighth grade B team's 41-15 loss to Purdy Friday night in the Diamond Tournament.
The vertically-challenged Josh knocked the ball away from an Eagle guard, dived for it, knocking it further away, dived for it again, and eventually after a third dive, the Wildcats came up with the ball. It would have been easy for Josh and his teammates to give up considering the lopsided score, but they hustled until the final buzzer sounded.
A 16-point run that began late in the first quarter and lasted until the final minute of the second enabled Purdy to pull away. After the Eagles scored the first four points, Tanner Stevens halved the lead with a basket. Purdy scored four more points before Stevens connected on two technical foul free throws to make it 8-4. The Eagle run began at that point. The first quarter ended with Purdy leading 15-4. The Eagles led 25-7 at halftime and increased the margin to 33-10 after three quarters. Stevens scored all seven first-half points for Diamond. Josh Bass handled the scoring duties in the second half, hitting for five of the Wildcats' eight points, with Jeff Morris contributing two and Stevens one.
Diamond- Points- Stevens 8, J. Bass 5, Morris 2; Rebounds- Stevens 7, J. Bass 5, Dresslaer 4, Michael Lane 3, Cory Bass 2, Morris 1, Zach Towers 1; Assists- Morris 1, Dresslaer 1, Stevens 1, Lane 1; Steals- Morris 3, Dresslaer 2, Lane 1; Blocked Shots- C. Bass 1, Morris 1.


By Randy Turner
Sarcoxie- The Diamond eighth grade girls team that lost to Sarcoxie 31-19 Thursday night bore little resemblance to the team that lost to the Bears during the Granby Tournament the previous week. The Wildcats continued to show steady improvement on both offense and defense.
The revelation for Wildcat coaches had to be the stalwart play of Katy Hext on the boards. Hext grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, including 10 in the first half, as Diamond controlled the glass most of the way. The Wildcats also had six rebounds from Michelle Darr and five from Lauren Fetters.
As usual, the top scorer was the miniature marvel, Darr, who scored 14 points, breaking loose for 10 in the third and fourth quarters.
For a brief time, it appeared that Thursday night's game was going to be a replay of the Granby Tournament game as the home team grabbed a 14-2 first quarter lead, but Diamond outscored the Bears 5-4 in the second period, with Darr and Taunie Brewer hitting baskets and Hext adding a free throw.
The improved play continued into the third quarter as Diamond trimmed the lead to nine at the beginning of the period on a Darr basket from a Ricki Fountain assist. The score was 23-11 after three quarters.
Diamond cut the lead to 10 twice during the fourth period, at 23-13 on a Darr two-pointer and 27-17 on a Fountain basket from a Darr assist.
Diamond- Points- Darr 14, Brewer 2, Fountain 2, Hext 1; Rebounds- Hext 11, Darr 6, Fetters 5, Fountain 4, Brewer 3, Alyson Brown 2, Casey Brown 1, Darci Price 1, Brandi Johnson 1; Assists- Darr 2, Fountain 1, Brittany Busse 1, Johnson 1; Steals- Darr 5, Hext 1; Blocked Shots- Johnson 1.


By Randy Turner
Lydia O'Donnell's putback with 12 seconds left lifted the Diamond seventh grade girls basketball team to a 22-20 win over Liberal Tuesday night. O'Donnell, hampered by foul trouble the entire game, collected 16 second-half rebounds en route to a career-high 21 to lead a balanced Wildcat attack.
The basket capped a rally which saw Diamond bouncing back from a five-point deficit over the final seven minutes and 10 seconds. Trailing 17-12 late in the third quarter, Diamond began its comeback with a follow shot by Carrie Castor, the team's leading scorer with 13 points. Castor was fouled on the play and converted the old fashioned three-point play to trim the Bulldog lead to two. That was how the score stood at the end of the period.
O'Donnell tied the game at 17-17 halfway through the final quarter with a putback. After a Liberal two-pointer, Jacque Lasater hit the tying basket. Liberal took its final lead, 20-19, on a free throw with two minutes left. Castor came back down court, drove the lane and was fouled. She hit the second free throw to tie the game once more and set the stage for O'Donnell's late heroics. O'Donnell, who sat out nearly the entire second quarter after picking up her third foul, picked up her fourth one early in the the third period, but played a heads-up game the rest of the way, never leaving the game for a second. She had an early opportunity to break the tie with free throws. That didn't pay off, but her yeoman work on the boards did. She hung in tough against a much taller Liberal girl, collected the offensvie rebound and drew nothing but net on the follow shot to give the home team its first lead since a Castor layup made it 7-6 at the beginning of the second quarter.
O'Donnell and Castor were not the only ones providing solid work for the Wildcats. Whitney Booyer had a career-high 12 rebounds, including eight in the second half. Lasater had nine rebounds and Alyshia Bowles picked up two key assists on Castor baskets late in the second quarter when Liberal seemed to be on the verge of breaking the game wide open.
Points- Castor 13, O'Donnell 5, Lasater 4; Rebounds- O'Donnell 21, Booyer 12, Castor 9, Lasater 9, Dana Bridges 2, Bowles 2; Assists- Bowles 2, O'Donnell 1; Steals- O'Donnell 6, Castor 5, Lasater 5, Bowles 2; Blocked Shots- O'Donnell 1, Lasater 1, Booyer 1.

Liberal scored the first 10 points and never looked back as it rolled past the Diamond eighth grade girls basketball team 34-14 Tuesday night.
Michelle Darr's basket from a Jessie Smart assist finally put the Wildcats on the scoreboard with 1:32 left in the opening quarter. The score was 12-2 at the end of the period. Baskets by Darr and Brandi Johnson were all the offense the locals managed in the second period, which ended with Liberal leading 17-6. The Bulldogs outscored Diamond 11-2 in the third period, with the Wildcats' only score coming on a Darr shot in the final 10 seconds of the period, which ended a 15-point Liberal run.
Darr added six points in the fourth period, giving her a team-high 12.
Top rebounders for Diamond were Darr, Ricki Fountain and Lauren Fetters with five apiece, while Darr and Taunie Brewer combined for six steals and Fetters picked up a couple of shot blocks in the second half.
Diamond- Points- Darr 12, Johnson 2; Rebounds- Darr 5, Fountain 5, Fetters 5, Katy Hext 4, Brewer 3, Casey Brown 3, Johnson 2, Darci Price 1; Assists- Smart 1; Steals- Darr 4, Brewer 2, Johnson 1, Brittany Busse 1, Brown 1; Blocked Shots- Fetters 2.


By Randy Turner
For a few brief seconds, Zach Cope restored the lustre of a magnificent Diamond football season Monday night.
The senior, playing in his final game before the largest home crowd he had ever seen, has been the top kickoff return man for Diamond all season. Lockwood had scouted its state quarterfinal opponent well and during the first half squib kicked every time to keep Zach from getting his hands on the ball.
At last, his opportunity came in the third quarter. The game was already out of reach as the visitors had rolled up a 34-0 halftime lead, then increased the margin to 48-0 midway through the third period. With the game safely out of reach, the Lockwood kicker sent the ball directly to Zach, who fielded it at the 14 and began a run that provided the most memorable highlight for Wildcat fans in their first home state playoff game.
Zach caught the ball in mid-stride and immediately darted to his right, headed toward the sideline. He picked up his blocking, pulled away from the last two or three Tigers with any chance of catching him and sprinted down the sidelines. A few seconds later, he crossed the end zone, providing the Wildcats with their only score of the game, and provided the final score 48-6.
It was a bitterly disappointing ending for Zach and his senior classmates as they watched the undefeated powerhouse from Dade County rack up one score after another in the first half. At the outset, it looked as if things might be different as the Diamond offense, a marvel to watch during the past several weeks, operated smoothly and efficiently during the opening drive.
The first kickoff was one of only two previous times that Zach had been allowed to snare a kickoff and he made the most of the opportunity, taking it 27 yards, from the 11 to the 38. After a short gain by senior Skyler Powers, and an incomplete pass, quarterback Rusty Gibbs fired a strike to Zach for a 25-yard gain and a first down.
An 18-yard run by Powers immediately picked up another first down at the Lockwood 20. The next four plays netted only two yards, those coming on a Cody Kelso run, and Diamond turned the ball over on downs.
Lockwood scored on its first possession and never looked back. Diamond picked up good field position on the ensuing kickoff as Zach ran it to the 38, but an interception quickly ended the drive. The Tigers took the ball 27 yards on 3 plays, helped by two Wildcat penalties, to go up 12-0, which was the score at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers added touchdowns on all three of their second-quarter possessions to take a 34-0 lead, then added two more touchdowns and one-point conversions in the third quarter. The Wildcats had only two defensive highlights in the contest. The first came in the opening quarter when sophomore Grant Gibbs broke through the Tiger line and slammed the quarterback to the turf for a six-yard loss.
The second came late in the game with Lockwood facing a fourth-and-four situation and Diamond desperately trying to get one more possession. The quarterback pitched the ball, Zach Cope read the play perfectly and tackled the runner for no gain.
Diamond ended its season with a 6-5 record and reached the state quarterfinals and the state playoffs for the first time. Playing their last games for the Wildcats were seniors Zach Cope, Denton Jones, Skyler Powers, Rusty Gibbs, Kyle Kelso, Jarred Addington and Cody Daniels.


By Randy Turner

Statistics told the story as the Diamond eighth grade girls basketball team lost to Sarcoxie 44-22 in opening round play of the annual Granby Tournament Tuesday night. Not only did the Bears double up the score on Diamond, but out of the first 50 rebounds in the game, Sarcoxie collected 40. At one point midway through the third quarter, Diamond had only one offensive rebound and that came from point guard Michelle Darr.
The only early highlight for the Wildcats was the shooting of Ricki Fountain who nailed a couple of midrange shots as Sarcoxie grabbed a 12-6 first quarter advantage. Diamond's other basket was a bank shot by Brandi Johnson from a Fountain assist.
Things didn't improve in the second period as Sarcoxie outscored the locals 12-2 to take a 24-8 halftime lead. Diamond's only basket was scored by Darr. The offense loosened up a bit for the Wildcats and they started corraling a few rebounds. Darr scored eight of her team-high 10 points in the final two periods, while Fountain, Alyson Brown and Johnson each had a team-high four rebounds.
The seventh and eighth grade teams will play at Triway Thursday night, then the eighth grade team will continue play in the Granby Tournament Friday night and Saturday morning.
Diamond- Points- Darr 10, Fountain 6, Johnson 6; Rebounds- Fountain 4, Johnson 4, Brown 4, Katy Hext 3, Lauren Fetters 2, Darr 2, Brittany Busse 1, Taunie Brewer 1, Darci Price 1; Assists- Darr 2, Johnson 2, Fountain 1, Hext 1, Brewer 1; Steals- Busse 1, Darr 1.


By Randy Turner
It was Jarred Addington's last chance to make the state football playoffs and the Diamond senior linebacker made the most of it.
It was Jarred's number 58 that was called out over and over again as Diamond defeated Greenfield 26-22 Thursday night to qualify for the playoffs for the first time ever. He started his reign of terror over the Greenfield offense early, recovering a fumble on the first play of the second quarter. On the visitors' next possession, he read a quarterback sneak on third down and stopped it well short of first down yardage.
He came up big once more on the visitors' last possession of the second quarter. The locals, leading 14-6, were in danger of losing that lead as Greenfield mounted a drive that began at its 25 with 5:48 left and ate up nearly the remainder of the period. The defense stiffened after Greenfield recorded a first down on the 17. Addington and Daniel Brown stopped the first down play for a two-yard gain. The next play netted three yards. After a Greenfield timeout, Denton Jones stopped the third down play cold. The visitors called another timeout, setting up the biggest defensive play to that point. They again went to the run, but Addington stopped it dead in its track, leaving the score 14-6 at halftime.
Senior Skyler Powers, the offensive star of the district playoffs, offered more delights to Diamond fans Thursday night, scoring two touchdowns,on runs of 59 and 42 yards and collecting 175 yards on 19 carries. His second touchdown increased Diamond's lead to 20-6 midway through the third quarter. Greenfield mounted another sustained drive on its next possession, but a sack by Powers and David Long and a third down play that was smothered by Powers left the visitors with a fourth down at the 10. They opted for the field goal and kicked the 27-yarder through cleanly to trim the margin to 20-9.
Quarterback Rusty Gibbs scored the home team's final touchdown with 1:06 remaining in the third period on a 57-yard run.
After that, it nearly turned into a nightmare for Coach Brad Hocker's squad, which not only made history by qualifying for the state playoffs for the first time in the school's 13-year football history, but also guaranteed the first .500 season for the school, by improving its record to 5-4.
Wildcat fumbles set the stage for two Greenfield touchdowns and a missed field goal attempt to cut Diamond's seemingly insurmountable lead to 26-22 with 2:30 left.
Greenfield successfully executed the on-side kick to set up one more chance to reclaim the district crown. When the chips were down, the Diamond Wildcats played magnificently. "This is the game right now, "Assistant Coach Joe Douglas told the defense, his hoarse screams ringing in the players' ears. "You shut them down right now!"
You can say one thing for the Diamond football players....They listen to their coaches. After an illegal block penalized Greenfield five yards on the first play from scrimmage, Addington, sensing his dream was within reach, met the runner head-on the next play and stopped it for no gain. After a delay of game penalty, it was sophomore Greg Fetters who recorded a big-time play, sniffing out a razzle dazzle maneuver that featured a reverse and a second handoff back to the quarterback. Fetters politely introduced the Greenfield signal-caller to good old Diamond turf. It wasn't the first big play for the sophomore, who earlier had caught two big passes and had sacked the passer on a two-point conversion attempt.
Fetters' tackle left Greenfield with a fourth and 39. A pass play made up most of the yardage, but not enough. All Diamond had to do was have Gibbs go to a knee three times and the game would be over, or so the Wildcats thought. Greenfield let the home team kneel three times, but called its last timeout with five seconds left. If Diamond was stopped on fourth down and it took less than five seconds, the clock would stop for change of possession and Greenfield would have one more opportunity to play the spoiler.
Gibbs made sure it didn't happen, taking the snap, running backward, then allowing himself to be tackled after time had expired.
The celebration began immediately for Diamond as the players removed their helmets, held them aloft and turned toward the loyal fans who have supported them all season. Jarred Addington and Rusty Gibbs had one thing they wanted to do before they joined in with the celebration. The two senior leaders went right to the Greenfield players, began shaking their hands and telling them they had played a good game. Soon their teammates joined in.
When the display of good sportsmanship ended, Jarred joined the celebration, running up to Coach Hocker and giving him a high five, then holding his helmet aloft and screaming at the top of his lungs.
Four years of hard work had paid off for Jarred and his senior teammates. Their place in Diamond High School history is secure. They're the ones who put Diamond football on the map.
Wildcat Notes: The Wildcats also had big plays on defense from senior Kyle Kelso, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with injuries...Diamond's second touchdown came midway through the second quarter on a 10-yard pass from Gibbs to Denton Jones...Jones kicked two extra points...Seniors honored during pre-game Senior Night ceremonies were: Zach Cope, Denton Jones, Rusty Gibbs, Jarred Addington, Kyle Kelso, Skyler Powers and Cody Daniels.


By Randy Turner
Diamond's first basket of the second quarter didn't appear Tuesday night didn't appear to be anything special. Brandi Johnson, receiving her first start of the season, drove the lane and kissed it in off the glass to tie the score with Granby at 9-9. The significance of the basket is that it gave the visiting team more points than it had the previous night in its season-opening loss to Seneca.
The Wildcats, with Belle Darr scoring eight points, Johnson three and Ricky Fountain two took a 13-12 halftime lead, then limited Granby to four points en route to a 23-16 win. Darr had a game-high 16 points and seven steals, helping her team overcome a solid performance by Granby's Jodi Middleton, who recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Cardinals built an 8-5 lead in the first quarter with two Middleton baskets sandwiched around two-pointers by Shea Patton and Sara Weber. A baseline move and basket by Darr trimmed the margin to one point at the end of the period.
After Middleton hit a free throw to open the second quarter, Johnson scored the game-tying basket. Two Sarah Hufferd free throws gave Granby its last lead, 12-11, late in the half. A Darr steal set up her two-pointer with four seconds remaining that put the Wildcats ahead for good.
Diamond continued the six-point run into the third quarter, adding two more baskets by Darr, who scored eight of Diamond's 10 second-half points. Granby cut the visitors' advantage to 17-14 on a Middleton basket. That was the score after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was all Diamond. Darr, playing with four fouls, keyed the defensive pressure, picking up four steals in the second half, while Ricki Fountain had three and Johnson, Jessie Smart and Taunie Brewer added one apiece.
After being outrebounded by Granby 15-10 in the first half, thanks to eight boards for Middleton and four for Huffered, Diamond controlled the glass in the final two quarters 17-12, led by three apiece for team leader Lauren Fetters, who had six overall, Johnson, Darr and Brewer.
Diamond- Points- Darr 16, Johnson 5, Fountain 2; Rebounds- Fetters 6, Johnson 4, Fountain 4, Darr 4, Brewer 4, Smart 3, Alyson Brown 2; Assists- Darci Price 1, Brewer 1, Johnson 1, Darr 1, Brown 1; Steals- Darr 7, Fetters 3, Fountain 3, Johnson 1, Brewer 1, Smart 1.
Granby- Points- Middleton 10, Patton 2, Weber 2, Hufferd 2; Rebounds- Middleton 14, Chantace Mertens 4, Hufferd 4, Weber 3, Patton 1, Kristi Courtney 1; Assists- Mertens 2, Patton 1, Weber 1; Steals- Middleton 4, Courtney 3, Weber 2.


By Randy Turner
Jacque Lasiter and Carrie Castor combined for 23 points as the Diamond seventh grade girls basketball team evened its record at 1-1 Tuesday night with a 28-7 pounding of Granby.
It was the second double-digit scoring performance in a row for Lasiter, who collected 12 points in the season opener against Seneca Monday night before fouling out. She led all scorers with 13, while Castor had 10, including seven in the second half.
Granby was able to stay in the game early, thanks to some superior defense by guard Nicole Brisco, who picked up seven of her game-high 10 steals in the first half. Diamond led 6-0 at the end of the opening period, scoring on two Castor baskets and one by Lasiter.
Granby was able to get untracked offensively in the second quarter, collecting five points, three for Andrea Monroe and two for Kelsey Channel. The Wildcats built their lead to 12-5 with Lasiter scoring four points and Whitney Booyer three in the second period. A key to Diamond's win was its control of the boards. The Wildcats had 15 of the first 16 rebounds and ended the game with a 33-11 advantage.
Much of that was due to the steady performance of Lydia O'Donnell, who followed her 13-rebound performance in the season opener with 12 Tuesday night. Booyer added eight rebounds and Lasiter seven.
Ashley McEvers topped the Cardinal rebounding charts with four. Diamond also received a lift from its smaller contingent. Dana Bridges had three steals while Alyshia Bowles delivered three assists and also had three steals.
Diamond- Points- Lasiter 13, Castor 10, Booyer 3, O'Donnell 2; Rebounds- O'Donnell 12, Booyer 8, Lasiter 7, Castor 2, Bridges 2, Bowles 2; Assists- Bowles 3, Castor 1, Bridges 1, O'Donnell 1; Steals- Booyer 3, Bridges 3, Bowles 3, Castor 2, Lasiter 2, O'Donnell 1; Blocked Shots- O'Donnell 1.
Granby- Points- Monroe 3, Channel 2, Autumn Gilbert 2; Rebounds- McEvers 4, Monroe 3, Channel 3, Gilbert 1; Steals- Brisco 10, Meagan Irvin 1, Channel 1; Blocked Shots- Channel 1, McEvers 1.


By Randy Turner
A second-half rally wasn't quite enough as the Diamond Seventh Grade girls basketball team fell to Seneca 27-25 in the season opener Monday night. Solid defense keyed Coach Brad Hocker's squad as it battled back from a seven-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 23-23 before the visitors scored the next four points before Lydia O'Donnell and Whitney Booyer concluded the game's scoring with a pair of free throws.
Carrie Castor started the rally with a steal, taking it all the way for the lay-in to trim the lead to five. A Whitney Booyer free throw made it a four-point game. Point guard Dana Bridges swiped the ball and took it in for two bringing the Wildcats to within two, 21-19. A Booyer free throw, then a Lydia O'Donnell free throw set up by a Booyer steal knotted the game at 21-21.
After a Seneca basket, Diamond tied it for the last time at 23-23 on a steal and basket by Jacque Lasiter. Lasiter took scoring honors with 12 points, including eight in the second half. She also had five steals, all in the second half. The Wildcats combined for 11 steals, including three by O'Donnell and two by Booyer. O'Donnell topped the rebounding charts with 13.
It took a while for either team to mount much of a scoring attack. The score was 4-4 at the end of the first quarter with Lasiter and Booyer each nailing a basket. A six-point run at the beginning of the second period put Seneca in control and except for the two times in the fourth quarter when Diamond tied the game, the visitors never relinquished the lead.
Diamond, 0-1, will play at Granby Tuesday night.
Diamond- Points- Lasiter 12, Booyer 7, Castor 2, Bridges 2, O'Donnell 2; Rebounds- O'Donnell 13, Castor 9, Booyer 6, Lasiter 2; Assists- Castor 2, Alyshia Bowles 1, Booyer 1; Steals- Lasiter 5, O'Donnell 3, Booyer 2, Bridges 1, Castor 1; Blocked Shots- Booyer 2, O'Donnell 2, Castor 2.


By Randy Turner

A smart move helped the Diamond eighth grade tie its season-opening basketball game against Seneca Monday night.
Pint-sized powerhouse Jessie Smart didn't waste a second after she grabbed a long offensive rebound, in putting the ball back up and banking it in. The clutch shot tied the game 6-6 early in the second quarter. Unfortunately, the Smartly done two-pointer tied the game at 6-6 30 seconds into that period and it was the last basket the home team scored until only 29 seconds remained in the game as it lost to Seneca 32-8.
Vertically-challenged Wildcats accounted for all of the team's scoring as Michelle Darr, who hit that final shot in the last half minute of the game, scored six of Diamond's eight points. The miniature marvel, who split her time between seventh and eighth grade games last year, was also the top rebounder for Diamond with six and collected a team-high five steals.
Diamond never led, falling behind 6-0 in the first three minutes of the game. The Wildcats battled back, with Darr picking an Indian's pocket (a federal crime in Indian territory) and taking it in for the layup. She didn't hit the shot, but only because she was hammered. She swished both free throws to put Diamond on the scoreboard. The next basket came in the final minute of the opening quarter after a Seneca turnover. Darr fired the ball in to Lauren Fetters, who screened her man, then flipped it back to her teammate for the open two-pointer. The first quarter ended with Seneca leading 6-4.
Smart's basket tied the game at the 5:36 mark of the second quarter. Seneca proceeded to go on a 26-0 run before Darr broke the string in the fourth quarter.
Diamond- Points- Darr 6, Smart 2; Rebounds- Darr 6, Ricki Fountain 3, Fetters 3, Katy Hext 3, Darci Price 2, Smart 2, Brandi Johnson 2, Casey Brown 2, Taunie Brewer 1; Assists- Fetters 1; Steals- Darr 5, Fetters 2, Brewer 1, Smart 1.


By Randy Turner
SARCOXIE- The hit Denton Jones put on the Sarcoxie runner would have been on the highlight films Friday night if anyone had been there with a camera. It was a second-and-nine play from the Bear 38. Diamond already held a 7-0 lead. The quarterback made the handoff and Jones read the play right from the beginning.
The 145-pound senior timed his move perfectly. The jarring hit knocked the ball from the runner's hands. As it squirted free, the ever-alert Denton spotted it and quickly covered it.
It's hard to single out one play in the Wildcats' district-opening 47-12 win over Sarcoxie Friday night, but the Jones hit and subsequent turnover has been the type of play the Wildcat defense has been turning in all season.
Friday night was the night the offense joined the party. Senior Skyler Powers carried the ball 20 times for 284 yards and caught five passes for 73 yards. His classmate Rusty Gibbs was a standout on offense and defense. Gibbs completed 10 of 18 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He also picked up two key second-half interceptions.
It was Senior Night all around as Zach Cope grabbed two of those touchdown catches, one for eight yards in the first quarter and another for 41 yards in the second quarter. Denton Jones proved to be equally adept on offense, collecting the other touchdown reception, a 17-yarder, in the third period. The only underclassman to cash in on the scoring frenzy was junior Kody Kelso, who had an 11-yard run for Diamond's last touchdown.
The two-week layoff proved to be beneficial to Coach Brad Hocker's Wildcats, who mixed big plays rushing and passing throughout the game. It didn't look as if it was going to be a Diamond blowout early in the game as the Wildcats went nowhere on their first possession and Sarcoxie, relying almost entirely on the ground game kept the ball for more than six minutes on its first possession, finally coming up two yards short on a fourth down play at the Wildcat 12.
That defensive stand left the Wildcats deep in their own territory, but it didn't take them long to get out of the hole. After a first down play netted only one yard, Powers exploded for a 27-yard run, then was the recipient of an 18-yard shovel pass from Gibbs. Powers ran for nine more yards. Diamond moved into scoring position on a perfectly timed pass from Gibbs to Cope, which set up first and goal at the nine. An eight-yard pass from Gibbs to Cope on third down gave the Wildcats their first score. Jones kicked the extra point.
The turnover Jones forced set up Diamond's next score early in the second quarter. The Wildcats marched 56 yards in six plays, culminating in a one-yard Gibbs run for the score. The key plays in the drive were a 21-yard pass from Gibbs to Powers and a 24-yarder to sophomore Greg Fetters. Jones's kick increased Diamond's lead to 14-0.
After another three plays and out series for Sarcoxie, Diamond began its third scoring effort, a six-play, 68-yard drive, including a 30-yard run and a 16-yard reception by Powers. The catch was the result of another well-timed shovel pass. After penalties put the ball back at the Sarcoxie 41, Diamond quickly made up the lost yardage with a 41-yard scoring strike from Gibbs to Cope. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 20-0.
The home team didn't roll over. Sarcoxie scored one touchdown in the second quarter and added another in the third period, missing the extra-point attempts on both to narrow Diamond's lead to 20-12 with 8:49 remaining in the quarter.
When Diamond fumbled the ball away at its own 33, it appeared that the home team was ready to close the gap even more, but the Bears were able to gain only nine yards on four plays. The explosive Diamond offense provided some breathing room on the next possession, driving 81 yards. A 36-yard run by Powers and a 22-yard pass reception by the senior back put the Wildcats deep in Sarcoxie territory. Gibbs hit Jones from 17 yards out for the touchdown, then passed to Powers for the conversion, improving the score to 28-12.
Diamond salted the game away in the fourth quarter with three more touchdowns. The defense set the stage for the first, stopping the last Sarcoxie drive of the third quarter, thanks to big open-field tackle by Kelso and a sack by Fetters. Diamond went to Powers exclusively on its next possession. He gained 57 yards, scoring on a 31-yard run.
Gibbs's interceptions set up the final two touchdowns. The first came on a three-yard Powers run and the second on Kelso's 11-yard run.
Diamond, 1-0, in district play, will travel to Miller Friday night, then will close out district play at home the following Friday against Greenfield. The Wildcats are seeking their first-ever state playoff berth.

By Randy Turner

It was a frustrating feeling for Sue Haase as she watched what was supposed to be a special night for her daughter, Diamond volleyball senior Jeri Rinehart, turn into a nightmare.
There was nothing mother nor daughter could do as the 15th point touched the floor in game three of Diamond's 15-13, 10-15, 15-11, loss to 3A powerhouse Nevada Thursday on senior night. Rinehart, the latest in a line of marvelous Wildcat power hitters that includes Whitney Beckett, Karla Parks and the late Kelli Dorsey, put on a spectacular performance in her home finale, leading her team with 20 kills, 11 serve points and three aces. She also had a pair of clutch blocks and picked up an assist. Just as dazzling was her backline play. She picked up dig after dig on Tiger spikes, giving her team opportunities to score points or earn sideouts.
The evening started with parent recognition. As Jeri's name was called, her parents stood and Jeri climbed into the bleachers and handed her mother a rose. The first game started off well for the Wildcats as they jumped to a 12-5 lead, thanks to five serve points by Jeri and three by her senior teammate Emily Petty. Diamond scored only one more point the rest of the game.
The Wildcats bounced back in game two. Rachelle Gilliam served the first two points. The first came on a combination that has become familiar to Diamond fans as the third of the Wildcats' seniors, Heather Leake, collected one of her game-high 31 assists on a Rinehart spike. The second point came on an Ashley Parker block.
After a Tiger point, Diamond scored another point with Parker serving on a Rinehart kill on a Nevada pass that strayed too close to the net. The senior combined for the fourth point with Petty assisting on a Rinehart kill.
Rinehart had an opportunity to add to the lead after a couple of sideouts, but the serve failed to go over the net. Her mother buried her face in her hands, feeling her daughter's pain. The error, one of the few Jeri made in the match, did not end up costing her team.
After another Nevada point, the Wildcats went on a six-point run to gain some breathing room. Leake served the first two points, then Gilliam scored on two Tiger lifts sandwiched around a Rinehart kill from a Leake assist. A few minutes later, Rachel Whiteley served the final two points for the Wildcats. The 14th point, a Parker spike from a Leake assist, was set up by a Jessi Youngblood dig. Freshman Megan Kinney's dink evened the match.
Game three was a frustrating one for the Wildcats, who fell behind early, but kept clawing their way back into it. Four Rinehart serve points, including a pair of sinkin' if you're blinkin', you'll be deader than Abe Lincoln ace serves, put them in the lead 10-7. Nevada scored the next five points to retake the lead. Diamond earned a sideout when Petty carefully placed a flatfooted hit in the back corner.
The Wildcats moved to within one with Gilliam serving when a Tiger spike went wide. Nevada quickly regained the serve and scored two more points to move to within a point of ending the home volleyball careers of Heather Leake, Emily Petty and Jeri Rinehart.
That's when the Leake to Rinehart combination worked its magic for the final time in Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium. Heather put up the set. It seemed as if Jeri hung in the air forever. It was not the hardest spike she had ever put down. She didn't intend for it to be. She took measure of the Nevada defense as she floated in the air, then carefully placed the spike in an unprotected area smack in the middle of it. That put Jeri on the serving line. She had already served four points in game three and 11 overall, including three aces. Her serve was a rocket that barely cleared the net. If Jeri could get on a roll, the Wildcats could still win the match.
It wasn't meant to be.
Sue Haase watched with the same frustration as her daughter, Jeri's teammates and the Diamond fans as a Nevada spike barely landed within the lines and returned the serve to the Vernon County squad. It took two more sideouts but Nevada finally scored the 15th point.
The Wildcat fans gave their players a big hand after the final point went down, reserving the most enthusiastic applause for three young women who gave their all each time they took the floor: Emily Petty, Jeri Rinehart and Heather Leake.
The flowers they handed their mothers will fade away pressed between yellowing scrapbook pages. The memories they provided Wildcat volleyball fans will remain forever.
Diamond- Points- Rinehart 11, Gilliam 10, Petty 6, Parker 5, Leake 3, Whiteley 3; Kills- Rinehart 20, Kinney 8, Petty 5, Parker 4, Leake 4, Whiteley 3; Assists- Leake 31, Rinehart 1, Petty 1, Kinney 1; Ace serves- Rinehart 3, Gilliam 2; Blocks- Rinehart 2, Kinney 2, Parker 1.

LOSE TO NEVADA 15-11, 15-11

By Randy Turner
Some sparkling defense by a group of hustling sophomores gave Diamond volleyball fans much to smile about Thursday night, though the Wildcats lost to 3A Nevada 15-11, 15-11.
When it comes to defense, Jessi Youngblood can dig it. So can Kenzie Greenwood, Falicia Phipps, Brittany Gilliam, Kristen Bishop, Ashley Beegle and Megan Taylor. They collected more saves than a Billy Sunday tent revival. The problem for the Wildcats in game one was falling behind at the outset. They were trailing 11-4 when they launched their comeback. Youngblood strafed the Nevada defense with two straight aces, then made the defensive play of the match, racing back past the back line to retrieve a ball, then passing it to Greenwood, who bumped it back over the net untouched. Youngblood picked up the assist on Diamond's eighth point, a Phipps kill. The same combination clicked for the ninth point. Greenwood served the 10th point to close the gap to one. That was as close as Diamond was able to get. The locals scored one more point, with Gilliam serving, on a net call.
Diamond took the lead in game two, but was unable to hold it. Youngblood served the first three points, including an ace, then Phipps served the fourth. After falling behind 8-5, Diamond went on a five-point run including two Greenwood serve points and one apiece for Bishop, Gilliam and Phipps. Diamond's last lead was 11-10 on a Taylor serve point.
Diamond- Points- Youngblood 8, Greenwood 4, Gilliam 3, Bishop 3, Phipps 3, Taylor 1; Kills- Gilliam 5, Youngblood 3, Phipps 2, Bishop 2, Taylor 1; Assists- Gilliam 3, Youngblood 3, Greenwood 1, Bishop 1; Ace serves- Youngblood 3, Greenwood 1, Bishop 1, Gilliam 1; Blocks- Taylor 1.


By Randy Turner
The home season ended for the Diamond freshman volleyball team Thursday night when it fell to Nevada 25-10, 25-18.
The Tigers won the first game easily, but Diamond fought back in the second game, tying it at 3-3 on a line-drive ace by Megan Atkins, at 4-4 on a missed serve, since the match was played using the rally scoring system in which a point is scored on each serve. Sarah Simpson gave the Wildcats their first lead, 5-4, with a twisting ace. After a three-point Nevada run, the Wildcats went ahead once more. They scored their first point when Nevada's serve drifted wide.
Kristen Hicks bombarded the Tiger defense with a pair of floater aces to make it 8-7. Diamond continued to hold one-point leads, thanks to botched Tiger serves. Jolene Topham propelled the home team to its biggest advantage with two aces, sandwiched around another point to put Diamond up 13-9.


Senior Seth Bingman's ended his final home cross country meet in style Thursday, placing fourth to help Coach Larry Cunningham's Wildcats to a win. Bingman's time of 19:00 was the second best on the Wildcat squad. Matt Harp took second with a time of 18:22.
Others placing for Diamond in the varsity meet included: 5. Kent Patrick, 19:03; 6. Justin Lane, 19:15; 20. Deke Beckett, 20:31; 29, Kyle Bridges, 21:29; and 34. Matt Sutherland 22:11.
Diamond runners placing in the junior varsity meet included: 5. Josh Beckett, 21:09; 10. Casey Crane, 22:37; 11. Shawn Buzzard, 22:47; 12. Tracy Killion 22:47; 13. senior Chris Jinks 22:57; 14. Zach Billings, 23:20; 19. Elliott Sutherland, 25:10; and 20. Jordan Macy, 27:21.

The eight-member Diamond Middle School Academic team was announced today after three days of tryouts last week.
Those selected were: Greg Dodson, Luke Hockman, Casey Patterson, Zach Towers, Chase Sexson, Daniel Stone, Alicia Bradley and Nick Long.


By Randy Turner
Local students can play a part in helping the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Diamond High School Student Council President Seth Bingman told high school and middle school students during an assembly Friday in the Marlin Pinnell Gymnasium.
"There are things students can do to help them in their time of need," Bingman said. "We can donate blood, we can donate blankets, clothing or money." He added that students can send flowers or e-mail or mail to the people who have lost their loved ones as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Bingman suggested that students could fly the American flag, wear red, white and blue or learn CPR.
We need to send the message that "you can bend us, but you won't break us," Bingman said. "The most important thing you can do is pray. Pray for the people who are missing family and friends."
The Student Council is already playing a role. At the conclusion of the assembly, sponsor Ron Badley said a collection drive is being held for teddy bears. High school students with teddy bears can leave them at the high school office. Middle school students can leave their teddy bears at the middle school office and elementary students can leave theirs at the elementary office.
The assembly also included the reading of a poem, "The Morning Star," about Tuesday's tragedy by its author, student Nathan Getz , the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ryan Green and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," led by the high school choir under the direction of Mrs. Billie Jo Hardy.
At noon, a moment of silence was held.


By Lauren Fetters and Darci Price
Most Diamond Middle School teachers left the TVs on Tuesday and some of Wednesday. All the teachers thought that the terrorist attack was an important issue, but not all of them thought it should be discussed in depth with their students.
"It's important that the students know what's going on in the world today,and that it's explained to them properly. This is something that means a lot to all of us," said Mr. Randy Turner.
In classes Tuesday, Mr. Grant Reed explained to his students that we, as a country, are safe and that it's important that we realize what happened and no matter what we shouldn't let this tragedy turn into a prejudice issue. Mr. Reed also said that "the issue shouldn't be overdiscussed in the classrooms."
"It's absolutely important for the students to know about this issue," said Ms. Renee Houk. Ms. Houk did try to explain all of this to her students, but she said it was hard to explain the first couple of hours because along with everyone else, she didn't know what was going on.
"The kids were as amazed as I was, they wanted to watch it but honestly, I don't think they understood it fully. The kids don't understand the importance or the seriousness of this. I wanted them to form their own opinions before I tried to explain it to them,"said Mrs. Ann Patrick.
"We were all shocked and I think we need to talk about it in school and the kids need to talk about it with their parents. It's very devastating for everyone. I didn't know myself enough to try to explain in depth," Mrs. Nancy Berry said.
As we walked into Mr. Joe Douglas's, he was discussing the issue with his class " You caught me in midstream," he said. " Yes, it is very important for the kids to know."
Mr. Larry Augustine had a different opinion." We shouldn't go into depth on this issue in the classrooms for the sake of the younger kids. We have undue fears and it will be dealt with fine."

By Lauren Fetters
The candidates nervously waited Friday night to see who would be crowned Diamond High School Football Homecoming queen for the year 2001 during halftime ceremonies. After a brief pause, senior Heather Leake's name was called and she danced around excitedly and hugged last year's queen, Carrie Foster, after receiving her flowers.
"When they said my name, the first thing that went through my mind was 'Rock on!' " Heather said a short while after ceremonies. " I had a very busy and hectic day, but being crowned queen is a great memory to look back on a couple years from now. It was all so much fun, I really enjoyed it, and the car ride was awesome."
Senior Skyler Powers did a little victory dance and pumped his fist in the air when his name was called as homecoming king. The other royalty candidates were: Jenny Ferguson and Denton Jones for the senior class; Junior-Rachelle' Gilliam and Kyle Kelso; Sophomore- Dezi Powers and Jake VanLue; Freshman- Megan Atkins and Anthony Shipman.
Heather had been a candidate before, during basketball homecoming her sophomore year. Andrew Whitehead and Bonita Taylor were crowned king and queen that year.

Diamond Middle School students will be among the band members playing during the Football Homecoming pep rally 7th Hour Friday.
Band members include: Alex Chavana, Ryan Clouse, Kacie Cooper, Lee Ann Dardenne, Greg Dodson, Jake Edge, Charles Forest, Scott Gill, Cameron Harrington, Paul Holland, Michael Lane, Nicholas Long, Clinton Myers, Jessica Sawyers, Alyssa Simpson, Spencer Snow, Daniel Stone and Casey Welch.
The band is under the direction of Mr. Rob Lundien.
Students in Randy Turner's Current Issues classes recently completed their first opinion papers of the 2001-2002 school year. Students who receive A grades on their papers have their papers placed on the Wall of Fame in the classroom and later will have them put on the Internet on Wildcat Central's Wall of Fame page.
Those making As in first hour eighth grade were: Ryan Baker, Michelle Darr, Lauren Fetters, Jeff Morris and Amanda McKee. Others making As were:
Second hour eighth grade- Liz Arnold, John Gossard and Brandi Johnson.
Third hour eighth grade- None
Fourth hour seventh grade- Amanda Brashear, Stacia Martens, Lydia O'Donnell and Leanne Ross.
Fifth hour sixth grade- Lacey Carneal
The eighth graders were writing papers about The First Amendment while seventh and sixth graders were writing about their concept of the ideal school.


Diamond High School students scored higher on the ACT than students from Neosho, East Newton and Seneca high schools, according to information released this week by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Diamond posted a composite score (total on English, math, reading and science exams) of 21.6 out of a possible 36.0, compared to 21.5 for Neosho, 21.5 for East Newton and 20.3 for Seneca. Diamond posted its highest score, 22.2 in reading. The local school scored 21.9 in science, 20.9 in English and 20.9 in math.
Neosho scored 21.0 in English 19.8 in Math, 22.7 in reading and 22.2 in science. East Newton scored 21.3 in English, 20.3 in math, 22.6 in reading and 21.8 in science. Seneca scored 20.3 in English, 19.4 in math, 20.3 in reading and 20.6 in science.
Diamond's composite ACT scores were also higher than the statewide average of 21.4 and the national average of 21.0 and higher than the scores posted by Carthage 21.2, Sarcoxie 20.6, McDonald County 20.2, Pierce City 19.9, Nevada 21.1, Miller 20.5, Aurora 21.0, Webb City 20.8, and Cassville 21.1. The only southwest Missouri schools to top Diamond, according to an article in the Sunday Joplin Globe were: Jasper 23.5, Joplin 22.0, and Carl Junction 21.7.

Cheerleaders for the 2001-2002 school year at Diamond Middle School are: Kacee Baldwin, Amanda Brashear, Alex Chavana, Nicki Dame, Stacia Martens, Michelle Nickolaisen, Alicia Bradley, Casey Welch, Thia Wiggins and Brittany Barwick.


Homecoming will come early for the Diamond High School football team when it plays host to Fair Grove 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.
Homecoming royalty candidates have been selected. Senior king candidates are Skyler Powers and Denton Jones. Queen candidates are Jennie Ferguson and Heather Leake.
Their attendants are:
Juniors- Rachelle Gilliam and Kody Kelso
Sophomores- Dezi Powers and Jake VanLue
Freshmen- Megan Atkins and Anthony Shipman


Diamond Middle School Student Council members discussed the back-to-school dance, the Middle School Library book drive and the ambassador program Friday during TA.
No date has been set for the first dance. The Student Council is responsible for all middle school dances. Council members learned that approximately 3,100 books have been donated for the middle school library, which will open its doors at the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year, when middle school students will have already moved into the present high school building.
The Ambassador Program, which has new students at DMS greeted and shown around the school by STUCO members, was discussed. Council member Lauren Fetters has already showed one new student around. The purpose of the program is make the newcomers feel at home at DMS. STUCO members also eat lunch with the new students and let them know that they already have friends here.
No date has been scheduled for the next meeting.
Michelle Darr is student council president. Other officers and members are: Kacie Cooper, vice president; Leann Ross, treasurer; Darci Price, secretary; Jeff Morris, Lauren Fetters, eighth grade representatives; Clint Myers, Leann Dardenne, seventh grade representatives; Colter Jones and Kaci Scribner, sixth grade representatives.
Student Council sponsors are Renee Houk and Randy Turner.


A successful first day of classes was held Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Diamond Middle School. An assembly was held first hour in which new Principal Mark Mayo introduced himself and told the students he was looking forward to a great year.
New members of the DMS faculty are: Nancy Berry, middle school math, formerly elementary school; Joe Douglas, middle school science; Rachael Madden, social studies; Connie Martin, FACS; Teresa Rogers, keyboarding; and Bobbie Sweet, special education.
The new middle school secretary is Missy Snow.
Returning faculty members include: Larry Augustine, math; Merri Brummett, English; Larry Cunningham, health; Frank Esposito, physical education; Billie Jo Hardy, vocal music; Jim Hettinger, industrial arts; Tim Higginson, at-risk; Brad Hocker, physical education; Renee Houk, English; Rob Lundien, instrumental music; Dustin Miller, art; Kay Graves, art; Ann Patrick, science; Grant Reed, social studies and Randy Turner, current issues.

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