Tisdell, Haertling earn top honors at SEMO Conference basketball banquet

Thursday, March 22, 2012

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- There was lots of sharing at the 54th annual Poplar Bluff Letter Club Basketball Banquet.

Teams shared both the boys and girls titles in the SEMO Conference and there were co-winners of the top player awards.

Charleston's Greg Tucker and Central's T.J. Tisdell were given the John Gibbs Award, while the Bob Gray Award went to Jackson's Dru Haertling and Dexter's Brittany Harris.

"It's definitely been a real big week coming from winning a state championship to here," Tucker said.

The Bluejays won the Class 3 state title Saturday by beating Hogan Prep 79-73. They shared the conference crown with Central.

Jackson and Poplar Bluff shared the girls title. Both finished 4-1.

"I'm just really blessed to receive it," Haertling said. "Brittany played really, really well in the conference, too, so I was glad her and I both got it."

The only award on the program at the Black River Coliseum not shared was the conference coaches of the year.

Central's Drew Church was named the top boys coach after the Tigers finished 6-1 in conference play, while first-year Jackson coach Tyler Abernathy was named the top girls coach.

All four players took home another award with the conference scoring awards going to Tisdell and Harris, while Tucker and Haertling were given the free-throw awards.

"It was kind of surprising," Tisdell said. "I'm happy to share it with Greg."

Tisdell averaged 22.3 points during conference play and led the Tigers with 19.7 points and 12.6 rebounds per game while hitting 70 percent of his free throws. The 6-foot-6 senior helped Central to the Class 5 playoffs and a 21-7 record. He scored 18 points in a win over Charleston and 33 in an overtime win against Dexter that clinched a share of the title, Central's first since 1999. That's also the last time a Central player (Ross Connor) won the Gibbs Award.

"This is really an honor in itself to share the award knowing all the past players that have won this award," Tucker said.

Tucker became the 11th Bluejays player to win the award and first since Justin Clark in 2007, which also was the last time Charleston won a state title.

Tucker, who will play at Northern Colorado next season, averaged 20.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 81 percent from the free-throw line and 35 percent from 3-point range. The 6-2 senior scored 27 points and hit 15 of 19 free throws in the state championship game.

He scored a career-high 40 against Meridian, Ill. Charleston finished 31-2.

"He's a Division I player, that's an achievement," said Tisdell, who still is trying to find a college to play at. "Not a lot of people can say they played with a D-I player."

Haertling has signed to play at Southeast Missouri State after averaging 15.6 points, 2.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals this season. The 5-7 senior shot 82 percent from the free-throw line and helped Jackson reach the Class 5 state playoffs.

Jackson ended up 19-8 after losing in the first round of the Class 5 playoffs. The Indians beat Poplar Bluff 58-39 in the District 1 final to take the season series with the Mules, who won the conference matchup.

"I'm just really thankful," Haertling said. "I had a good season, and I loved my team."

Harris averaged 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during the season and 18 points in conference games.

Tom Hoover, who was named to the first all-conference team in 1958-59 and later served as a coach, principal and president in the conference, will have a lifetime achievement award named in his honor starting next year.


Boys -- x-Greg Tucker, Charleston, 6-2, sr.; x-T.J. Tisdell, Central, 6-6, sr.; Karson King, Jackson, 6-5, so.; John Meyer, Jackson, 6-9, sr.; Nathan Meystedt, Notre Dame, 5-10, sr.; Ryan Parham, Charleston, 5-10, jr.; Jake Lee, Dexter, 6-2, sr.; Terry Jamison, Sikeston, 5-9, sr.; Vashawn Ruffin, Sikeston, 5-10, jr.; Kendric McCain, Poplar Bluff, 6-0, sr.

Coach -- Drew Church, Central

Scoring leader -- Tisdell (22.5)

Free-throw leader -- Tucker (82 percent)

Standings -- Central (6-1), Charleston (6-1), Notre Dame (5-2), Sikeston (4-3), Jackson (2-5), New Madrid Central (2-5), Poplar Bluff (2-5).

Girls -- x-Dru Haertling, Jackson, 5-7, sr.; x-Brittany Harris, Dexter, 6-0, jr.; Brooke Bohnert, Notre Dame, 5-6, sr.; Summer Burger, Notre Dame, 5-2, sr.; Chelsea Vinson, Central, 5-11, jr.; Tyangela Gibson, Sikeston, 5-6, sr.; Connor King, Jackson, 6-2, sr.; Hannah Noe, Dexter, 5-7, so.; Marissa Webb, Poplar Bluff, 5-9, sr.; Sara Eyler, Poplar Bluff, 5-8, sr.

Coach -- Tyler Abernathy, Jackson

Scoring leader -- Harris (18.0)

Free-throw leader -- Haertling (82 percent)

Standings -- Poplar Bluff (4-1), Jackson (4-1), Notre Dame (3-2), Dexter (3-2), Central (1-4), Sikeston (0-5).

x-player of the year

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