With their teams gearing up for a Missouri class 5 sectional showdown, we talk to a few of our athletes as they prepare for battle.
Anton Brookshire and Elijah Bridgers play for perhaps Springfield, MO’s most prominent basketball school - Kickapoo High. They are also players that we have had the privilege of working with at The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law. Drew McMillin is another one, but he plays for a Republic squad that has exceeded expectations and finds themselves squaring off with the above Kickapoo duo in sectionals.
Kickapoo won their district title in dramatic fashion and are now hoping to go on a run. Following a workout at The Basketball Movement, we chatted with Brookshire and Bridgers to get a feel for their mindset as the stage continues to get bigger and brighter.
Perhaps no player in the state has made the splash to this point that Kickapoo’s Anton Brookshire has. That splash being a game-winning three pointer to take the district title over Nixa.
During the final play of of the district championship game, Anton Brookshire’s adrenaline was pumping. “It was a dream come true. I knew that I would take the shot, but I also knew that I would make the shot.” Despite having such a huge moment already, Anton is poised to raise his stock, even as a sophomore as Kickapoo prepares for sectionals.
Brookshire says they have already watched a lot of film and will continue to scout Republic. He says that the team’s chemistry and bonding these last few weeks has grown exponentially and that they will be ready.
Another Kickapoo player, junior Elijah Bridgers can confirm that the team is focused, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. “We approach every game the same way, but this time of year, you have to turn it up,” Bridgers said.
If they play the right way, Elijah says they can beat anyone. He pointed out that they have already beaten plenty of good teams this season. Asked about takeaways from Rob and Yanders Law, Bridgers said that the intensity will translate well into March basketball. Every time you take the floor for Yanders Law, you need to bring your A-game. The same will certainly apply at sectionals as well.
On the other side of things, we had the opportunity to chat with Republic’s Drew McMillin before Thursday’s big tilt. In his time with Yanders Law and The Basketball Movement, Drew said that he has learned how to deal with almost all possible situations on the basketball court. This experience will help as Republic locks in on the Kickapoo Chiefs; he says that their coach has stressed the importance of staying in the moment and focusing on taking this run one game at a time.
McMillan says that as they buckle down to face the stiffer competition that the offense has a renewed focus on getting smart shots as opposed to free-flowing ball that could lead to mistakes.
Asked about the biggest moment of the season, Drew believes the win over Ozark to seal the conference championship takes it so far. “We had lost several games before that win and it really helped us to come together,” he said.
A win over Kickapoo in the sectionals may be sweeter, but he’ll have to go through Brookshire, Bridgers, and company to do it.
Good luck to these and all area athletes as high school ball nears its conclusion. Keep and eye out as we talk with more of our successful athletes soon about their quest for a state championship.