ANDERSON — The McDonald County Mustangs opened their season Monday night with a 56-47 home loss against Joplin.
Joplin and McDonald County turn around to play each other in an opening round game Monday in the 71st annual Carthage Invitational. McDonald County and Joplin play in the late game, following Neosho and Seneca.
In the opener, Joplin surged out to a 30-15 halftime lead, outscoring McDonald County 14-5 alone in the second quarter.
The Mustangs outscored Joplin 18-6 in the third to make an interesting game in the fourth.
Joplin outscored McDonald County 20-14 in that final quarter.
Fouls eventually caught up with McDonald County, as leading scorer Blake Gravette fouled out and Peyton Barton, Boston Dowd, Cole DelosSantos, Cooper Reece, and Andrew Landers each finished with four personals.
Joplin scored 11 of its 20 points in the fourth at the stripe.
Gravette led all scorers with 18 points and a dozen of his points came from four 3-point shots. The Mustangs received all but two of their points from just five players — Reece added 10, Dowd and DelosSantos six each, and Barton five. Big man Tim Shields scored the other Mac County points.
Evan Guillory, projected by some pundits to be one of the breakout players in the area, led Joplin with 17 points, while Zach Taylor and Austin Higdon each had eight. Nine different Eagles reached the scoring column.
JOPLIN 56, McDONALD COUNTY
Joplin 16 14 6 20 — 56
McDonald County 10 5 18 14 — 47
JOPLIN (0-1) — Zach Taylor 8, Grant Guillory 2, Garrett Woods 3, Evan Guillory 17, Austin Higdon 8, Braeden Testerman 4, Ayush Patel 5, Zach Westmoreland 6, Kaiah Davis 3.
McDONALD COUNTY (1-0) — Blake Gravette 18, Peyton Barton 5, Boston Dowd 6, Cole DelosSantos 6, Cooper Reece 10, Tim Shields 2.