By JASON STRICKLAND
(ROLLA, Mo., digitalBURG) – The Warrensburg Tigers led Waynesville 17-11 in the second quarter of the Rolla Holiday Invitational Tournament championship game, but it was all Waynesville after that as it beat Warrensburg 57-42 Saturday night.
Junior Dakota Jones led Warrensburg with 24 points, but Waynesville had a trio of double-digit scorers in freshman Joe Johnson, sophomore Juwan Morgan and senior Donald Hargrow. They got 12, 13 and 13, respectively.
Fatigue and turnovers were an issue against a bigger and faster Waynesville team.
“We ran out of gas a little bit,” said coach Chris Nimmo. “They scored more, but they scored more off our mistakes…We turned the ball over too many times.”
Jones was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while junior Kye Denker made the All-Tournament team. Jones averaged 21 points per game for the tournament, while Denker averaged nearly 14.
Warrensburg (6-4, 0-1 WCC) began the tournament with a 56-42 win over Fulton on Thursday. Jones and Denker led the Tigers with 23 points and 14 points, respectively. On Friday, Denker hit a game-winning buzzer-beater to beat Rogers (Ark.) 59-58. Denker led the Tigers in scoring with 24 in that game.
Warrensburg is back in action on Jan. 5 for the Lotspeich Motors Central Missouri Shootout against Oak Grove. The game will begin after the Lady Tigers play Oak Grove at 7 p.m.
Nimmo will give the team a New Year’s break and returns for practice mid-week.
“They need a little time off just to be kids,” he said. “We had time off for Christmas and so forth, but that’s not necessarily time for them to be kids. Three days off and we will be back at it on the third, a couple of practices before Oak Grove on the fifth, and regroup and see if we can’t keep getting better.”