LCA boys grateful for MSHSAA opponents

By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Correspondent

Eager to test his skills against higher competition, Tanner Meyer longed to match up against MSHSAA opponents as a player for Liberty Christian. 

Now as the head coach, he finally has that opportunity. 

The Eagles have four MSHSAA schools on their schedule this year. While they have gone 0-2 in the first two of those meetings, the challenge has not been without benefit.

Liberty Christian lost by 52-47 to Clopton in November and dropped its most recent contest 54-46 during a road trip to Southern Missouri to face Cooter. 

“It’s awesome that we finally get the chance to play these teams,” said Meyer. “I think with us being able to compete with Wright City and Wellsville the past couple years, people are looking at us differently and realize we can make it a good game.”

It is those two MSHSAA opponents mentioned by Meyer that remain on the schedule for the Eagles, who are now 7-2. The past week has included a 60-51 win over Mid-Missouri Home School and a 56-50 loss to St. Louis Christian Home School. 

Against Cooter, senior Braydan Wilmsmeyer had a career-best 31 points to lead the Eagles.

“That was definitely the best game of his career,” said Meyer. “He was doing well on the boards and jumping out of the gym and finishing well around the rim.”

Junior point guard Cole Christian dislocated his finger during the first quarter but was able to continue en route to a 12-point performance. 

Christian’s ball handling has been pivotal for the Eagles’ this season.

“He had two games in a row with no turnovers, and he’s been dishing out a lot of assists,” said Meyer.

Liberty Christian jumped out to a 25-13 lead heading into the second period, during which Cooter outscored the Eagles 27-10.

The Eagles were able to win the fourth quarter but were unable to close the gap enough for a victory. 

Junior Caleb Schneider was helpful in the effort, contributing hustle in grabbing rebounds and scrambling for possessions.

“Caleb is helping out a lot with his defensive intensity,” said Meyer. “It doesn’t always show on the stats, but he’s got really good defense and hustles and brings intensity.”

Senior Josh Dames netted 21 points in the defeat.

Liberty Christian awaits a trip to Wellsville next Tuesday in hopes of claiming its first win over the Tigers. Meyer says the focus continues to be on improving dominance in the paint.

“The biggest thing we can work on is everybody boxing out,” said Meyer. “They’re all playing well and up to our competition, playing good defense and being able to hang in games that we probably have no business being in.”

Thus far, senior Dames is leading the Eagles with 22 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. 

Christian has added 17.6 points and 5.3 boards, while Wilmsmeyer is contributing 8.2 and 6 rebounds.

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