The Poplar Bluff Mules made the trip to St. Louis from Southeast Missouri to face the Ladue Rams on their home court Saturday. The game featured an entertaining matchup between two teams that boast a talented backcourt duo and a physical post player. For the Mules, it was the combination of junior Joseph Hardimon and senior Josiah Kilgore with the inside being manned by senior Luke Becker. For the Rams, senior Evan Schneider went to work on the inside while senior guards Jaylen Boyd and Henry McIntosh staffed the perimeter. 

After ending the first quarter with a lead of 14-13, Ladue was slowed by increased defensive pressure from the Mules who would take the lead for most of the second quarter. However, the Rams would pull even at 24 by halftime behind the playmaking of Boyd. Following the break, Boyd would pick up where he left off and the Mules would certainly keep it close but never lead again. Ladue won the contest 46-43. Here is my Fabulous Five. 

2020 6-1 Jaylen Boyd, Ladue
With Boyd on the sideline early in the second quarter, the Rams struggled to get the ball into the hands of the right players and their offense sputtered which allowed the Mules to build a lead. The Rams were held scoreless for about four minutes in the quarter, but then came Boyd. When Jaylen returned, he went to work like a man with unfinished business using slick passing, penetrating and kicking to shooters, creating his own shot and attacking downhill to score. Boyd’s playmaking gave his team wide open looks and for the most part, they delivered. Boyd finished with 17 points. 

2020 6-6 Evan Schneider, Ladue
The muscular forward is a physical post player that knows how to use his size to gain an advantage. He runs hard and is active around the basket. He keeps those long, muscular arms high near the basket and finishes in the same manner. He pursued rebounds with authority and gave defenders no chance at tipping it loose. Although the Mules sought to wear him down by rotating bodies off him, the effects were minimal. Although it may have limited his scoring, Schneider would use his skill as a passer to get the ball to cutters and locate shooters in the corners. 

2021 5-11 Joseph Hardimon, Popular Bluff
Hardimon is a strong, sturdy built guard that can punish the defense when he gets a full head of steam to the rim. When the athletic junior rips a rebound and pushes from baseline to baseline, he has the physique and a look in his eye almost dares to a defender to attempt to deny him a basket. Although he was at his best attacking downhill, he also showed off his ability to knock down the open jumper out to three off the bounce. Hardimon finished with a game high 18 points. 

2020 6-1 Josiah Kilgore, Poplar Bluff
Kilgore is a talented athlete with a nice feel for the game. He scores with efficiency and is an effective slasher. The athletic senior guard has a nonstop motor with great off-ball and on-ball instincts. His ability to disrupt on the defensive end was apparent as he harassed McIntosh and chased through screens to take away his open looks. 

2020 6-3 Henry McIntosh, Ladue
The senior guard has nice size and skill at the wing. He did a good job assisting Boyd with ball handling duties. McIntosh dialed up some timely threes moving well without the ball to free himself for wide open looks. He has good shooting mechanics and wastes little effort in getting the shot up and underway.