HIGHLAND - With a 53-48 victory over host Highland last Friday night, coach Mike Uppena and his Potosi varsity boys’ basketball team took sole possession of this year’s Six Rivers West conference championship.
For coach Uppena and the Chieftains, it’s been a long time coming, as the 11-year coach has finally collected his first conference title, and the program’s first since the 2001-02 season.
The Chieftains wrapped up the regular season with a league record of 11-1, and an overall mark of 17-4. Their only conference loss came on Dec. 14 at Cassville, when the Comets handed them a 58-44 loss.
Cassville, who finished second in the league standings, went 10-2 in conference play and 19-3 overall. They were handed a one-point loss (59-58) by River Ridge on Jan. 11, then a 54-49 loss by Potosi on Feb. 5.
The Chieftains clinched a share of this year’s conference crown two weeks ago with a 60-46 victory over host Benton, and secured sole possession with last Friday night’s win over Highland.
Against the Cardinals, coach Uppena’s squad held a slim lead of 36-32 going into the fourth quarter, but then outscored their opponent, 17-14, in the final eight minutes.
With only three minutes to play in Friday night’s contest, the two teams were tied at 47-47.
Two made free throws by Alex Wright gave Potosi a 49-47 lead, and after switching to a zone defense, the Chieftains closed out the game on a 6-1 scoring run.
Hunter Leibfried led the Chieftains to victory with 15 points, while Spencer Hawes was close behind with 14, and Mitch Langkamp added 11.
Langkamp also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds, while Spencer Hawes dished out a team-high four assists.
As a team, Potosi was 8-of-30 (27%) on 2-point field goals and 9-of-22 (41%) on 3-pointers. They were 10-of-18 (55.5%) from the free throw line, committed nine turnovers and came away with seven team steals.
In Division 5 regional action this past Tuesday night, the third seeded Chieftains hosted No. 14 Benton in a regional quarterfinal contest. The winner moves on to Friday night’s regional semifinal action.
Potosi 53, Highland 48
(from Friday, Feb. 15)
Potosi 9 18 9 17 - 53
Highland 9 11 12 14 - 48
Potosi - Logan Udelhofen 3, Hunter Leibfried 15, Chase Kruser 3, Spencer Hawes 14, Mitch Langkamp 11, Alex Wright 7. Totals - 17 10-18 53.
Highland - Pierick 25, Linscheid 2, Wolfe 4, McGuire 2, Bodentstein 9, Yager 4, Riley 2. Totals - 18 9-16 53.
3-point goals - P: Udelhofen 1, Leibfried 3, Kruser 1, Hawes 4, H: Pierick 3. Team fouls - P: 15, H: 14. Fouled out - Wolfe (H).