The streak is over and the Class 5 Champs are still the Poplar Bluff Mules. Vashon, which had a 60 game winning streak on the line and the number one ranking in the nation according to USA Today, was beaten 72-56 Saturday night.
The competition, despite the score, was fierce. So competitive, in fact, that the competitive nature of the game spilled into the stands. In the third quarter, Poplar Bluff fans started the wave. The Vashon section refused to participate, creating a dead space in the popular fan activity. They were loudly booed. That’s the kind electricity in the air at Mizzou Arena Saturday night.
Poplar Bluff led by as many as seven in the first half, but the Wolverines were able to cut that advantage to three points by the half and trailed the Mules 32-29 at the break. In the third, Vashon trailed 34-31 and Poplar Bluff responded with a 16-6 run to round out the quarter and took a 50-37 advantage to start the fourth. Vashon opened the fourth by scoring the first six points and cutting the lead to seven, but Poplar Bluff outscored the Wolverines 22-13 the rest of the way.
Vashon’s Leon Powell was expected to pound Poplar Bluff senior Tyler Hansbrough as hard as he could, as long as he could, but Powell got his fourth foul in the third quarter. Hansbrough finished with 29 points and several crowd-pleasing dunks. His younger brother Ben, finished with 17. Vashon was paced by Johnny Hill, who had 24 points in the losing effort. The Wolverines were denied their 11th state title, while Poplar Bluff won their second in school history.