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Bulldogs thump 'Jackets in OC matchup

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ROLLA — One year after helping guide the Lebanon boys’ basketball team to a second place finish in the Ozark Conference, head coach Bill Brown was not on the bench for Friday’s contest against the Rolla Bulldogs, and it is unclear if he remains in the position.

According to multiple sources, Brown has resigned his position after a confrontation with a spectator during an open scrimmage at Carr Gymnasium on February 12. Assistant coach Zach Miller served as the team’s interim head coach for Friday’s game against the Bulldogs, a 57-25 loss at Rolla High School.

Lebanon activities director Will Christian could not comment on the matter, citing a pending review by the Lebanon R-3 School Board.

Brown was a standout player at Parkview High School, where he played for his father, the late Bobby Brown. He later played at both Missouri State and Tulsa before starting a coaching career that saw him make stops at the University of Minnesota and Richland High School before taking over the helm at Parkview. He guided the Vikings for 13 years before stepping down in 2015.

Brown took over at Lebanon in 2018-19, replacing former head coach Adam Thornhill and helped guide Lebanon to a 13-11 mark, followed by a 17-10 season in 2019-20 along with a 7-2 record in the Ozark Conference. That season was culminated with a win over Kickapoo in Springfield, which was the program's first win against the Chiefs on the road since 1983.

A young rebuilding Lebanon team was 2-16 this season under Brown prior to Friday’s loss to Rolla.

Things started slow for the ‘Jackets as Rolla opened the game on a 15-0 run in the first quarter before LHS got a layup from junior Bennett Schnitzer five minutes into the contest to get themselves on the board.

Rolla had a 30-11 lead heading into halftime, but Lebanon kept their heads high and came out in the third quarter and got a layup from junior Tristan Wilson and a three-pointer from senior Josh Napper to gain some momentum.

Unfortunately, the first half deficit was too much to overcome, and the Bulldogs got hot from beyond the arc and were able to keep the lead.

“They (Rolla) are a good team,” Miller said after the game. “Coach (Mark) Miller does a good job here, and they have been good for years. When they have talent, they’re good, and when they don’t have talent, they’re still good.

“They are a physical team and good on the defensive side. At the end of the day, we just didn’t hit shots. We only turned it over ten times which is a season-low for us, so if there is a good note, that’s the positive one.

“Our defense wasn’t terrible, but we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, and that was a big concern of mine going into the game. They value the basketball and finish.”

For more on this story see Wednesday's edition of the LCR.

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