Two Blue Eye High School graduates and several College of the Ozarks basketball signees will be in action on Saturday night, at the 25th annual Gerald A. Pilz and Friends All-Star Basketball Games.
The games will feature some of the top individual talents from throughout the region, with boys’ and girls’ players divided into three teams, playing in a round-robin format.
There will be three girls’ games, starting at 6 p.m., followed by three men’s games, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start, at Keeter Gymnasium on the C of O campus.
Each game will be about 20 minutes in length, and inductions into the Gerald A. Pilz and Friends All-Star Basketball Games Hall of Fame will take place at the conclusion of the second girls’ game.
Two of the big attractions for area high school basketball fans will be the presence of Blue Eye’s Andrew Mitchell and Taylor Arnold.
Mitchell was a two-time Tri-Lakes Player of the Year, leading Blue Eye to a 21-6 finish and Class 2 District 11 championship as a junior, then a 20-7 senior season that ended with a loss to eventual state champion Springfield Greenwood in the Class 2 District 10 title game.
Mitchell finished with averages of 17.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a senior, was a four-time all-Southwest Central League and all-district player, and scored 1,819 career points.
Some figures are tough to come by for the Blue Eye career record books, but Mitchell is believed to be the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Mitchell is one of the prized jewels in the Class of 2019 recruiting class for College of the Ozarks, where he will be headed as part of a recruiting class that includes Riley Oberbeck of Strafford, Dylan Massey of Mountain Grove, Trent McBride of Eminence, Ayden Stone of Thayer and Jake Farnsworth of Fordland.
Farnsworth was listed on a preliminary roster to play alongside Mitchell on the boys’ all-star squad.
The girls’ all-star roster includes Arnold, a 2019 graduate of Blue Eye who is headed to Evangel University to continue her basketball career.
Arnold moved into the Blue Eye district before her junior season, and provided an immediate boost to the entire girls’ athletic program at the school.
She helped the volleyball program win a district title her senior season, was on the state-championship track and field team last spring and was on two decorated basketball teams.
The Lady Bulldogs went 45-13 on the basketball court in her two seasons, reached the state quarterfinals in her junior season and won another district title her senior year.
Arnold averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a senior.
The roster of girls’ all-stars also includes Kayley Frank, a C of O signee who will be entering her freshman season with the Lady Bobcats this fall.
She is part of a recruiting class that includes Julie Stone of Thayer and Harper Little of Clever.
Frank – along with twin sister Hayley, who will be a freshman playing for the University of Missouri this fall – helped Strafford to four consecutive Class 3 state championships, a 129-3 record over the last four seasons and a 115-game winning streak.