It's going to be hard to top the thrilling first day of the 2022 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions but Friday night's action will try.
The semifinal round of the Tournament of Champions will take place Friday at JQH Arena starting at 4:30 p.m. with a consolation matchup.
Opening day saw all three local programs give some of the best teams in the country a scare. It also set up intriguing matchups for Friday night with local and national interest.
2022 BASS PRO TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS FIRST ROUND RESULTS
Whitney Young (Chicago) 57, New Madrid County Central 32
Sierra Canyon (California) 63, Parkview 46
Milton (Atlanta) 50, Nixa 49
Paul VI (Virginia) 60, Catholic 55
2022 BASS PRO TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE
4:30 p.m. — Parkview vs. New Madrid County Central
6 p.m. — Nixa vs. Catholic
7:30 p.m. — Sierra Canyon vs. Whitney Young (winner's bracket)
9:30 p.m. — Milton vs. Paul VI (winner's bracket)
Here's what we're looking forward to on Friday night:
Did the upset scare wake up Sierra Canyon?
It's no secret that Sierra Canyon didn't play up to its hype on Thursday and a lot of that had to do with how well Parkview played. The Trailblazers still won by 17 and advanced to the semifinals.
There's a scary thought that the close three quarters against Parkview might have woken up the beast.
Sierra Canyon will take on Whitney Young in the winner's bracket semifinals after the Dolphins cruised to a win over New Madrid County Central.
Sierra Canyon has the size inside to match up with Whitney Young's A.J. Casey — unlike what New Madrid County Central had on its roster. The Blazers still got an efficient game out of Amari Bailey as he made his return from an injury as he scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Sierra Canyon is one of those teams in which anyone can have a big game on any given night. Bronny James scored three points but he's perfectly capable of going for 20-plus the next night. Even a sophomore like Isaiah Elohim, who played 16 minutes off the bench, could be the Blazers' best on another night.
Don't count out Whitney Young as it put together a wire-to-wire win and was one of the more consistent teams of the night. Casey will still present some problems as he can stretch the floor and Dalen Davis is a junior guard to keep an eye on.
Milton, Paul VI features top-level guards
Both Milton and Paul VI held their breath against two local programs yet they find themselves in the semifinal round.
Milton needed an incredible shot from Bruce Thornton at the buzzer to advance while Paul VI held off a great performance from Catholic's Zach Howell.
Like Sierra Canyon, these teams will need to play better if they want to win a Tournament of Champions title.
Milton got 21 points out of Thornton and a relatively quiet game from four-star guard Kanaan Carlyle who recently committed to Stanford. It's unlikely the Top 25 junior will stay quiet for long after scoring just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Thornton, an Ohio State commit, looks like one who will bring it every night.
Paul VI has experience in the tournament and experience playing on semifinal Friday. The Panthers have a young roster and depended on freshmen late against Catholic but still came away with the big shots it ended. Michigan signee Dug McDaniel is a calming presence and DeShawn Harris-Smith looks like a player who is going to demand major attention as a junior.
No one would be surprised if both of these teams put on a show on Friday night. It has plenty of star power and should be a good one.
Bring on the Nixa vs. Catholic rematch
The best game at the 2021 Blue and Gold Tournament will see a rematch as Nixa and Catholic will run it back.
The possibility of this game caught a lot of attention when the two found themselves on the same side of the bracket after Catholic entered as a late addition.
Catholic defeated Nixa in a 49-48 thriller in the semifinal round on Dec. 29 at the Blue and Gold. In that game, Howell scored 33 points with five makes from deep. Nixa missed a floater at the buzzer and the Irish came away with the victory.
Howell rose to the occasion when his team needed him to the most. He went into halftime with only seven points before going off for 13 in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth.
Nixa will, no doubt, have a big ol' chip on its shoulder coming into this one as Catholic wants to show that the win was no fluke. Big games from Colin Ruffin and Kael Combs can lift the Eagles past the Irish — as long as Nixa hits its free throws.
Parkview is capable of beating anyone — including New Madrid County Central
We're guaranteed at least one local win on Friday with Catholic and Nixa matching up — but Parkview can make it two as it takes on New Madrid County Central.
The Vikings will be coming off a great performance against Sierra Canyon in which they played with intensity for the majority of the game that can, apparently, give some of the best teams in the country fits.
No player scored double-digits for the Vikings but there were plenty of players who showed how deep they're capable of being. Seven contributed big minutes in a balanced attack. Drury commit Elijah Whitley stood out with eight points and seven boards.
New Madrid County Central is coming off a tough loss against Whitney Young in which it never had the lead and was held to 29.8 percent from the field. Parkview doesn't have the length nor the athleticism that the Dolphins have and it could set up well for New Madrid County Central to show why it's considered one of the better teams in the state.
But if Parkview plays at the level we know it's capable of playing now, the rest of the state better take note because the Vikings' performance against Sierra Canyon should raise some eyebrows.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He's also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Tournament of Champions: What we're looking forward to in semifinals