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Hollister senior Josh Barlow goes for a layup in traffic against Cabool in the Tigers’ home opener on Nov. 20. They won 70-49. The Tigers were 6-1 as of Dec. 14, only losing to Strafford in the finals of the Forsyth tournament.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced all class and district assignments on Friday, Dec. 11 for all winter sports. All area basketball teams remain in the same classes and districts except for Branson, which moved up to Class 6 from Class 5.

MSHSAA also announced changes to the postseason calendar. Dates have been set for all basketball postseason tournaments. Wrestling dates have not been confirmed due to site determination. Reeds Spring’s boys wrestling team is in Class 2, and the girls are in Class 1. Branson’s boys are in Class 3, and the girls are in Class 1.

Class 6

Branson High School is in the highest class this year, moving up from Class 5, and the boys and girls districts mirror each other. The Pirates and Lady Pirates are in District 11 with Glendale, Nixa and Ozark.

Last year, the Branson girls were led by McDonald’s All-American Priscilla Williams and ended with a 16-12 record and a loss to Kickapoo in the district tournament.

The Branson boys had a less impressive season, going 10-18. They had one win in the postseason over Central High School and then lost to Kickapoo in the Class 5 District 11 Tournament.

Class 4

Three Tri-Lakes area schools are in Class 3 this year, with Hollister and Forsyth in District 11 and Reeds Spring in District 12.

The Hollister and Forsyth boys met in the district tournament last year, and the Forsyth Panthers won 53-52. They then lost to Strafford 66-64 and ended with a 17-11 record. While the two have yet to play each other this year (they will on Jan. 19), the Panthers hosted the 60th Annual Forsyth Tournament where the Hollister Tigers placed second after a loss to Strafford. Forsyth placed fourth.

Hollister and Forsyth might not meet this year in districts, depending on placement. The boys’ district includes Ava, Liberty (Mountain View), Mountain Grove and Willow Springs.

Reeds Spring’s boys’ district includes Aurora, Cassville, East Newton, Mt. Vernon and Seneca. It will be head coach Austin Kendrick’s first year in a lower class. He was an assistant at Parkview High, which is in Class 6.

The Hollister and Forsyth girls’ district doesn’t vary much from the boys’ other than the inclusion of Springfield Catholic. The Springfield Catholic boys are in Class 5. The girls won’t play each other in the regular season until Jan. 11. Hollister is 5-0 with its closest win being a 15-point victory over Crane.

Forsyth placed third in the Blue Eye Invitational after defeating Glendale, which is in Class 6. Last year, Forsyth defeated Hollister in the district tournament but lost to Strafford in the finals.

Reeds Spring’s girls team has the exact same district as the boys. Reeds Spring lost its first game of the Class 4 District 11 Tournament last year and ended with a 6-18 record. This is the highest class head coach Jessica McNichols has coached in. During her years at Lockwood High School, she was in Class 1 and 2. As of mid-day Dec. 14, the Lady Wolves were 1-3.

Districts will be held from Feb. 27-March 6 for Classes 4-6. Boys sectionals will follow on March 9; girls will play on March 10. Quarterfinals are on March 9 and 13, respectively, with state running March 18-20 at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center in Springfield.

Class 2

Blue Eye remains in Class 2 for the 2020-21 season. District 11 includes Billings, Crane, Fordland, Galena, Marion C. Early (Morrisville), and New Covenant Academy.

The only difference between the boys and girls district group is Greenwood High School’s girls team is listed in Class 2 District 11. The Greenwood boys, who will have five-star recruit Aminu Mohammed until the end of the fall semester, are in Class 3.

Last year, the Blue Eye boys were just short of a 20-win season. The Bulldogs ended 19-7 with a 42-41 overtime loss to Crane in the Class 2 District 11 Tournament. As of Dec. 14, the Bulldogs were 0-3 with a senior-less squad.

The Lady Bulldogs, though, had their best season in school history.

They ended with a 27-5 record for the most wins in school history, and they finished third in the Class 2 State Tournament for the best finish in school history.

The Blue Eye girls are without Khonnar Patton, who went on to play at Evangel after her senior year last season, but they still have an impressive junior class with Kyla Warren, Makayla Johnson, Gracyn Fairchild, Skye Hobbs, and the Arnold twins, Avery and Riley.

Riley Arnold has taken over the point guard and team captain position Patton once held, and has led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring so far this season. As of mid-day Dec. 14, the Lady Bulldogs were 4-1 with four-straight wins.

Districts will be held from Feb. 20-27 for Classes 1-3. Boys sectionals will follow on March 2; girls will play on March 3. Quarterfinals are on March 5 and 6, respectively, with state running March 11-13 at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center in Springfield.

Class 1

School of the Ozarks, which announced on July 30 that no sports would happen in the fall semester, is in Class 1 District 4. There has not been an announcement regarding the spring semester that starts in January.

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