Dora triumphs over defending state champion Eminence to take Class 1 District 3 title

Back-to-back district champs Members of the Class 1 District 3 champion Dora Falcons basketball team are, from left, (front row) manager Xavier Jewell, Dylan Martin, Mason Luna, Isaac Haney, Landon Luna, Evan Smith, Auston Luna, Robbie Luna, Trace Luna, manager Isaac Luna; (back row) assistant coach Joshua Strong, assistant coach Paxton Smith, Bo Collins, Cayden Peck, Colby Hoover, Waylon Masters, Korey Murphy, Bryson Luna, Jacob Freiman, Kyle Hambelton, head coach Rick Luna, manager Curtis Warren. Photo by Karla Smith

The Dora Falcons beat defending state champion Eminence Redwings 64-59 Friday, Feb. 23, to win the Class 1 District 3 championship. “I’m super proud of my team’s effort,” said Dora head coach Rick Luna. “Going up against the defending state champs was no easy task.”

The win marks back-to-back district titles for the young Dora team, whose starting lineup is made up of sophomores who hold a new school record for number of wins in a season with their overall record of 27-1.

Eminence, which defeated Dora in last year’s sectionals and went on to win the 2018 Class 1 state championship, jumped out to an early 20-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. “They did a great job spreading us out in our zone,” Luna said. “We started the second quarter in a man defense and tried to put more pressure on them.”

It worked. Dora came back and grabbed a 34-31 lead at the half behind Isaac Haney’s 23 first-half points. “The third quarter, we built our lead up to 9 but let it slip away right at the end of the quarter,” Luna said. “We didn’t do a good job executing once we got the lead. We were playing like we were 9 points down versus playing like we were 9 points in the lead.”

The Falcons and Redwings were tied up at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Mason Luna drained a 3-pointer from the corner, and from there, the Falcons never looked back. Eminence made another run late in the game, but Auston Luna took a charge under the basket to get the ball back for the Falcons. “Bryson Luna went 4 of 4 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, and Kyle Hambelton had 6 huge points off the bench,” Luna said. 

Isaac Haney was the game-high scorer with 38 points. Mason Luna scored 12, Kyle Hambelton 6, Bryson Luna 5 and Auston Luna 3.

The Falcons took on Chadwick (18-11) to battle for the sectional title at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Mountain Grove. Results of the game were unavailable at press time. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Risco vs. South Iron game at 1 p.m. Saturday in Van Buren.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423