816 North notebook: Kearney boys basketball coach leaving for SJ Benton

04/08/2014 1:21 PM

04/08/2014 1:21 PM

After nine years as the Kearney High School boys basketball coach, Gary Belcher is moving on.

Belcher resigned from his post last week and accepted the same role at St. Joseph Benton, a short drive from his alma mater, St. Joseph Central.

“I know a lot of people are going to say I’m going home, and I am,” Belcher said. “But it’s an opportunity for me to go to a basketball program that interests me. It’s an opportunity for me, from a financial standpoint, to better myself in that regard.”

Belcher’s nine-year run at Kearney began with a three-win season. It ends with 137 victories and a Missouri Class 4 state championship in 2010. Kearney also reached the state championship game in 2009 but lost to St. Francis Borgia of Washington.

“It was a great run,” Belcher said. “We had great support, great administration, great kids. It was very difficult decision (to leave).”

In 15 years as a head coach, Belcher owns a career record of 252-156, including 137-110 with the Bulldogs.

Fort Osage defeated Kearney 49-43 in last month’s Missouri Class 5, District 14 championship game. The Bulldogs finished Belcher’s final season 15-12.

Park Hill girls soccer

In his second year as the Park Hill girls soccer coach, Brandt Bell says he’s hoping a veteran team — complemented by talented underclassmen — can improve on last season’s nine-win total.

The Trojans are already more than half way there.

Backed up a stingy defense, Park Hill had a 5-1 record entering Tuesday’s match against unbeaten Kearney, which handed the Trojans their only loss two weeks ago.

Park Hill earned its latest victory last Friday against previously-unbeaten Winnetonka, a 1-0 win on a goal from Jenna Winebrenner, who also had a hat trick last Thursday in a 4-0 conquest of St. Joseph Central.

Park Hill goalkeeper Claudia Fonseca has recorded shutouts in each of the team’s five victories. She posted nine shutouts last season.

All-star hoops

The top girls and boys basketball players from both sides of the state line will square off in the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association (GKCBCA) All-Star Challenge on Friday.

The girls and boys games, which pit Missouri players against Kansas players, will be played at Shawnee Mission South. The girls game is scheduled to tip of at 6 p.m. with the boys game to follow.

Liberty North forward Brinkley Jolly, Smithville guard Brock Mick, West Platte forward Adam Roe, Kearney forward Dray Starzl, Liberty guard Kellan Turner and Park Hill South guard Hudson Welty will be part of the Missouri boys squad. Richmond senior Reid Summers was also selected to the team but will sit out because ofh an injury.

Smithville forward Paige Imhoff, Kearney sharpshooter Meagan Paul, Staley guard Monique Townson and North Kansas City wing Aries Washington will play for Missouri side in the girls game.

Kearney girls soccer

After a disappointing finish marred a potentially historic 2013 season, the Kearney girls soccer team is right back where it was at this point last season.

Undefeated.

Staying that way, however, will be a challenge as the Bulldogs prepare for the Heart of America Classic, which runs Thursday through Saturday at St. Thomas Aquinas in Overland Park.

Kearney, 6-0-1 entering Tuesday, is part of an eight-team field that includes some of the top teams from Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma.

Kearney is trying to duplicate its regular season success from a year ago, when it was 26-0 before falling in overtime in the Missouri Class 2 semifinals.

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