As we enter into the Holiday Season Tournament time, some things to remember. These teams are playing, often, at many unusual times, their schedule is radically different from the school days. For some teams, these changes really disrupt their "routine" and the normal level of play. Some of the elite teams use these Holiday Tournaments as a springboard into the next level of play. Each coach has to evaluate carefully their approach to the practice and game schedule. Each squad has its own character. Some want a lot of basketball, some "not so much"-- yet all want to improve. Yes...I see those coaches walking the fine line right now!
Some Basketball teams who have jumped off to very strong beginnings.
On the boys side of the court, a familiar name to State Level Teams is the Ozark Tigers. Ozark beat Kickapoo for the 2nd time this year 64-56 on Friday to raise their record to 6-1. Isaiah Monroe and Thomas Ligon lead the way for the always tough Tigers.
Last year's 2nd place Class 5 team was the Rock Bridge Bruins. Starting at 5-1 (only loss to McCluer North-see last weeks blog), the Bruins are tall and talented. Often starting a lineup with everyone over 6-2, the Bruins can still run well. Ricky Kreklow. Recently Rock Bridge beat a strong Wichita Heights team 75-50 in the Jay-Vee Shootout. Kreklow had 25 in the win.
Two teams from the same Suburban South conference are very good yet take totally different approaches to the game. Webster Groves (5-0) under coach Jay Blossom has always played a high pressure, up and down court offense that maximizes the athleticism of his team. Currently, the Statesman are averaging 73 ppg as Derrick Dilworth, quickly making transition from QB on a State Championship team to the hardwood, leads the way with a 15 ppg average on a team that always spreads the scoring around!
Another style, yet equally effective, is utilized by veteran Coach Bill Sodemann at Parkway West. The Longhorns are also 5-0 with an airtight defense, ball movement offense that leads to high quality shots. Patrick Sodemann is the high scorer for this team that is only permitting 36.6 ppg defensively.
Moberly has sprinted off to a 5-1 start to 09-10 season. Again, a familiar name to post-season basketball, the Spartans are led by Brennan Hughes, who scored 32 in a 87-37 shellacking of Boonville over the weekend.
On the small school level, the talented Glasgow Yellowjackets (6-0) have reloaded this offense again this year. Ben Meyer , who leads this offense, scored 22 in a 61-36 romp over Westran this weekend.
Competing in the MCC where Chaminade is garnishing all the headlines, the CBC Cadets are 6-2. Their losses have been by 1 point to McCluer and in OT to the unbeaten Borgia Knights. Relying on the double figure foursome of Ryan Pierson (17ppg), Darian Rackley(14), Cory McCarthy (13 and Seth Jackson (12) this team should have enough high quality players and depth to beat any contender on any given night.
In the GAC South looms the Troy Trojans. The Troy program always seem to develop shooters. The only losses were to McCluer North and Hazelwood Central, the Trojans hung up an impressive win on Friday as they beat the St Charles West Warriors (see last week blog) 53-38. Cullen Devins and Neil Branham lead the offensive show. Combined they are 31 of 51 from beyond the arc for the season !
Folks, that's over 60% on 3-ball attempts !
Jefferson County has two teams off to 6-1 marks prior to Christmas Tournament time. The DeSoto Dragons have Jared White's 20ppg supplemented by Jeff Krodinger's double-double average of 16 points/15 rebounds per game ! The Crystal City Hornets are led by Taylor Boyd and Eli Sample, who are both dropping in 16+ppg.
Hillcrest went 3-0 as they tumbled Parkview (5-1) from the unbeaten ranks on Friday 53-43. The free throw line appeared to be the diference-Hillcrest went 19 of 26 (11 of 12 in 2nd half) while the VIkings were 6 of 20 (1 of 6 in 4th quarter).
So. Boone upped their mark to 5-1 with a 63-60 win over Harrisburg last weekend. The Eagles jumped ahead 25-11 but the Eagles fought back and the game was tied at 60-60 when Spencer Becker stole the ball and was fouled flagrantly. He knocked down the winning free throws and the Eagle went home happy. Meanwhile, Coach Steve Combs , who has taken this Harrisburg squad to four straight Final Four Appearances with Championships in 06 and 08, saw his team fall to a very unusual 1-6 record.
On the girls side of things....
S. Shelby sports a perfect 5-0 record after beating Clark County 66-47. Jenna Mueller led the Lady Birds with 17 points.
Brooke Taylor is leading the Bismarck High Indians to an unblemished 5-0 mark. Taylor is scoring at a 27 point per game clip!
St Pius X of Festus has shot off to a 7-0 record. Scoring 64 points per game while only permitting 29 a game has led to many one-sided victories (closest margin of victory has been 19 points!). Coach Aaron Portell has a trio of leading scorers. Tori Aubuchon (17), Gabrielle Moser (15) and Melissa Collins (11) are the leaders of the Lancers.
In the Southeastern part of the State, Kelly has gone 5-1 with a strong win at Malden 58-21. Look for this team to continue its winning ways.
Ft Zumwalt West Jaguars are now 7-0 with their 65-28 win over Notre Dame in the Visitation Tournament. A State Quarterfinalist last year, the Jags are led by the Swopshire sisters on the boards. Meanwhile, Kelsey Jones is the leading scorer on the team. The Jags will be in the Prepcasts Shootout on January 9 against Lafayette. Check the tab on page 1 for the great full schedule.
Last weeks' blog included spots about these boys teams-Branson, Chaminade, Nixa, Laquey, Hazelwood Central, St Francis Borgia, Carthage, St. Charles West, Clayton, McCluer North and Hillsboro.
The Girls teams featured were Hermann, St Joseph, Incarnate Word, Cor Jesu, Walnut Grove, Pacific, Webb City, St James and Eureka.
If you missed -- check it out.
Your thoughts on any of these teams or a different team, we're love to hear from each of you firstname.lastname@example.org