Pirate boys seeded number one, Lady Pirates are seeded third

Hannibal High School will be hosting the district boys and girls basketball tournament for the third time in four years.

The Class 4, District 8 tournament kicks off Monday in Korf Gymnasium. Teams in the district field have the opportunity to express an interest in hosting the tourney, said Clint Graham, activities director for the Hannibal School District #60.

"We were lucky enough that the other schools in the district voted for us to host again this year," he said.

The host school is responsible for lining up officials and finding workers for an assortment of jobs. "It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun at the same time," Graham said.

Making this year's tournament even more exciting, both Hannibal teams are high seeds.

"I am not sure the last time Hannibal (boys team) was seeded number one in the district, but that's pretty exciting," Graham said. "The (HHS) girls are seeded third, so they are high seed as well."

Graham said it should benefit both Hannibal teams playing at home. "It's always better when you get to play at home and don't have to travel," he said. "It's always good to be playing at home and in front of the home fans."

In the boys bracket following the 17-4 Pirates in order of their seed are Saint Francis Borgia, Moberly, Kirksville, Mexico and Warrenton.

In the girls bracket, the top seed belongs to Saint Francis Borgia. Moberly is the number two seed followed in order by Hannibal, Warrenton, Mexico and Kirksville.

"There is a lot of good competition in this district, so it should be a lot of fun," Graham said.

Four first-round games will be played in Korf Gym on Monday, Feb. 25.

The 11-12 Hannibal's girls will take on Kirksville, 3-21, at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Pirates are 2-0 against the Lady Tigers this season, winning 51-40 on Dec. 20 in Hannibal and 44-36 on Feb. 1 in Kirksville.

Monday's other girls game, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will pit Warrenton and Mexico. In boys play Monday, it will be Moberly against Warrenton at 6 p.m. and Kirksville taking on Mexico at 9 p.m.

Four semifinal games will be played Tuesday, Feb. 26. Hannibal's boys will meet the winner of the Kirksville-Mexico matchup at 6 p.m. It could be an interesting contest. Hannibal's last loss (65-61) was at the hands of Kirksville on Feb. 1 in Kirksville. The Pirates had to overcome a seven-point deficit to win (68-67) on Feb. 19 in Mexico.

Pirates boys basketball, which owns a six-game winning streak entering the district, had an easier time against those teams when they met in Hannibal early in the season. Hannibal dispatched Mexico 77-52 on Dec. 14 and then defeated Kirksville 63-56 on Dec. 20.

The girls district championship game will tip off at 6 p.m. Friday, March 1. The boys title game will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Admission will be $5 per person, 6 years old and older.

"I'd love to see Korf gymnasium packed," Graham said.

danny.henley@courierpost.com