The Neosho seventh grade boys basketball team closed out their season by toppling top-seeded Webb City 39-34 in the Tri-County Tournament championship game on Thursday.
The Wildcats previously defeated Joplin South (52-21), and Nevada (37-25) en route to the title game.
Webb City opened the game on an 8-2 run before Neosho (13-3, and seeded No. 2) switched to a press-defense and held the Cardinals to just two points the rest of the quarter. Meanwhile, Neosho's Zach Jennings buried a clutch 3-pointer at the end of the quarter to give the Wildcats a 12-10 advantage.
With five players scoring in the first quarter, and Yeej Lee and Brady Wise combining for seven and six points, respectively, in the second quarter, the Wildcats closed the half with a 27-17 lead.
"Gavin (Kelley) and Hank (Selig) came through defensively," Wildcats coach Tony Branscum said. "They shut down the Webb post game late in the first and early in the second."
The Cardinals tried climbing back in it in the third quarter, scoring on eight free throws to cut the deficit to 35-27.
The Wildcats, however, stepped up and held them off despite Lee's early foul trouble.
"The third quarter was a gut check for us," Branscum said. "Keilan (Moore) and Jarvis (Funk) both scored big baskets in that quarter. I was proud of the way our guys fought through Yeej's foul trouble. Keilan and Hank fought hard for us on the boards."
The Cardinals never recovered as the Wildcats kept them at arms length the remainder of the way.
Wise finished with 13 points, four assists and three steals for the Wildcats, while Lee tallied 10 points, Jennings had five points and three assists.
Funk added four points, Moore had four points, five rebounds and two steals, Selig tossed in two points and pulled down five boards, and Gavin Kelley added four boards and two steals.
"Brady did a good job tonight leading the team," Branscum said. "He took care of the ball and had four nice assists. Yeej played with the same intensity that he always plays with — it rubs off on our team."
The Wildcats previously finished third in the Central Ozark Conference.