This was the fourth straight trip to the final four for the Cubs, with their last state title coming in 2004. Bell City also won a state title in 2002.
Can the Cubs make it five straight? Bell City will return four starters, losing 6-foot-10 senior Will Bogan as well as sixth man Austin Segers. The Cubs had five seniors in all.
"We're looking for a big year next year," Bell City coach Brian Brandtner said. "We have a lot of kids coming back, a good nucleus. I'm sure a lot of people will count us out without Will, but we'll try to prove them wrong."
Junior guard Nick Niemczyk led the Cubs with 26 points in the championship game and finished the final four with 45 points. It was quite a turn around for Niemczyk, who did not score in double digits in either final four game
(L.G. Patterson ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)
Niemczyk averaged close to 20 points a game and led the Cubs with more than 50 3-pointers.
"He's a stud," Brandtner said. "He's such a competitor. You build a team and not many coaches wouldn't take him with the first pick."
Fellow junior starters Phillip Gross, who averaged close to 10 points per game, and Marty Dames will return along with sophomore point guard Melvin Johnson.
Reserve guard Austin Bush will be back, and the Cubs should have Scott City transfer Ethan Watkins next year as well.
(Photos by L.G. Patterson for The Associated Press and exclusive tothe Southeast Missourian.)
"I was proud of the way Will played," Brandtner said. "He played hard all night long."