Kirkwood High School was the odd-man out. The three other teams in this year’s Class 5 MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown—Vashon, Rockhurst and their opponent, Kickapoo—were also there in 2005. The Pioneers, who were making their first trip to the semifinals, were responsible for knocking out the fourth team from last year—Poplar Bluffs. They beat the Mules in the sectionals.
As it turned out they were odd-man out again, after falling 56-46 to Kickapoo in the semifinals.
Kickapoo jumped out to a 14-4 lead and it looked like they may run away with the game. But Kirkwood steadily fought back and cut the Chiefs’ lead to 25-23 at the half.
When the third quarter began, the Pioneers tied it quickly thanks to a bucket from Mike McNeill to tie it at 25. Kickapoo head coach Roy Green took an immediate timeout to regroup. Kyle Kirk broke that lead with a quick lay up.
The Chiefs never trailed again.
Four players finished in double-figures for KHS: Kyle Vaughan and Dusty Allen had 13 apiece, while Kirk and Alex Bernskoetter both scored 12. McNeill led Kirkwood with 16.
Kirkwood bowed out of the playoffs with a 22-6 record, while Kickapoo improved to 27-4. Last year, the Chiefs were knocked out of the semifinals by Vashon.