FARMINGTON ---- The defending Class 5 state champion Poplar Bluff Mules opened defense of their title with a convincing 72-58 victory over sixth-
ranked Lafayette in front of a soldout crowd at the Farmington Civic Center.
McDonald's All-American Tyler Hansbrough hit a pair of 3-pointers and was 13-for-14 at the foul line en route to a game-high 31 points. He also had 16 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Ben Hansbrough added 23 for the Mules (25-4), who were 30-for-39 at the line.
Third-ranked Poplar Bluff took control early with an 11-0 run to end the first quarter that included a Tyler Hansbrough alley-oop slam from Brad Chronister. The Mules led 21-7 and eventually pushed their advantage to 21 midway through the second quarter.
Lafayette, which lost to Poplar Bluff in last year's state semifinals, cut the deficit to eight with 2:38 left, but Todd Tinsley hit a free throw and Hansbrough rejected consecutive shots to stave off the comeback.
University of Missouri recruit Matt Lawrence led the Lancers (24-5) with 18 points. Landon Shipley, an Austin Peay recruit, added 17.
The Mules face Webster Groves in the state quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Tierra Johnson scored 27 points as the Lady Mules reached the quarterfinal for the second straight year.
Johnson scored seven points during a 10-2 run to end the first half after the Lancers tied the game.
Poplar Bluff led 29-20 at halftime and scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to pull away.
Jenny Hillis scored nine while Lauren Shelton and Mac Nelson each chipped in eight for the Lady Mules (22-6).
PARK HILLS -- Class 4 boys basketball teams around the state better beware: The Bulldogs smell blood.
After a quiet 9-16 regular season, Notre Dame has won four straight to secure a spot in the state quarterfinals. The latest was a convincing 78-51 victory over Festus on Wednesday night at Mineral Area College.
The Bulldogs improved to 4-0 with Bryce Willen, who missed most of the year with an ACL injury, back in a vital role and scoring in double figures in each of those games.
Notre Dame will try to make it five straight when they face Salem (24-4) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at Farmington.
Jeremy Joffray and Brian Rosener of the SEMO News Service provided information for this report.