(Prepcasts.com) -- OK...we turn the calendar and here we are running full speed in the Prepcasts winter coverage. Let's take a quick peek at where we were the last time we wrote about HS winter sports...
....Class 4 Boys Basketball Champion last year was McCluer North. The NorthStars guided by Randy Reed had racked up back-back championships. Most everyone expected these Stars to fade this year (Coach Reed predicted only a 20 win season) but the depth of last year's team (led by Derek Holland) and transfer Rashad Lindsey quickly elevate the play (and hopes) of this traditionally strong program.
...Nixa lost the Class V title game to McCluer North 69-60 last year but Coach Jay Osborne has a forminable 1-2 punch again this year after finishing 30-2 last year! Austin Ruder, (6-3, 17.9ppg) and Jalen Norman (6-5, 16.5ppg, 10.6 reb/game) will be the main cogs in the Nixa offense. At least one publication listed the Eagles as the top program in MO for the upcoming season.
...CBC lost in the STATE Quarters last year to Marquette but return the core nucleus of the team. 6-7, Jr phenom, Jordan Bartnett (who has already been contacted by many big-time D-1 schools) returns for his 3rd year. Jr Patrick McCaw provides the perimeter skills needed and transfer Jr. Ray Doby is looked to be the "inside" force for the Cadets. A cast of speedy, talented players load up the bench and should provide the ability to mix & match as needed. CBC beat Chaminade in the Pattonville Championship on Friday. WATCH that replay!
...Coach Justin Tatum led the Soldan Tigers to the STATE title over Hillcrest last year 55-42. DGB couldn't stop this express that had knocked on the door in previous years. Off to a rugged 1-2 start while competing against top level opponents with a young team, most observers expect Soldan to "be there" at the end.
...The Class III Champions last year were the Charleston Bluejays. Seemingly, always in Columbia in mid-March, the Bluejays have a longstanding tradition that trains their talented athletes to perform.
...On the Girls Side, Rock Bridge Bruins beat Blue Springs 52-41 last year and return most of their key players. Rock Bridge will be in the Prepcasts Elite Girls Shootout this January. The Shootout has the Class 5 and Class 4 Girls Champion on the schedule! 8 of the 10 teams were in the STATE tournament last year!! Blue Springs, with Coach Mark Spigarelli at the helm, should also be counted on to be a contender.
....Other Boys teams to keep an eye on would be....
....DeSmet Spartans--the Spartans lost Butler-committed, Nolan Berry, who broke both arms in a tumble in a full court practice drill, for several weeks. General Jimmy Barton will direct the DeSmet offense with more variation until the return of the dominate player-Berry.
....Grandview (last year 22-7) has Tyrone Tayler, Nelson Nweke and Wesly Nosakhare as a tremendous trio to lead the team.
....Lee Summit West (finished 3rd in Class 4 last year) will be led by 6-7 Trevor Gregory (17 ppg and 12 reb/game last year)
Early season tournament champions are forgotton quickly by the casual fan. For some teams, it's a stepping stone, a means to learn more about your teams strengths and weaknesses, or a bench mark, or a goal to win these tournaments. Take a look at some early season champs across the state.
..Scott Country Central won its 5th straight Oran Invitational with 75-71 victory over Advance. In the last 4 years, the Braves have won by an average of 33 points in the championship game so this one was different!
..Truman (4-0) Girls used a stifling defense to defeat the host school at the Lee Summit North (3-1) tournament Championship 47-27. The Broncoes were held to a 8 of 47 shooting performance by the Patriots.
..Belleville West beat Ladue 52-51 to win the Vianney Championship. This breaks the Haz Central string of 5 straight titles.
..Republic(3-0) won the championship of the 48th annual Republic Boys Tournament by knocking off Hillcrest (2-1) 56-46
..CBC won Pattonville Tournament over Chaminade 60-56 by scoring last 4 points of the game in the final 9 seconds.
..St Vincent(Perryville) upended the host school and won Crystal City Boys Tournament by 39-31 score
..Ritenour Girls won the Northwest Tournament in OT as they edged Cape Central 35-33. Many feel that this is a first for the Huskie Girls Program as they take home a Tournament Championship Trophy. The Huskies made up a 7 point deficit at 24-17 midway in the 3rd to tie the game in regulation.
..SLUH wins the South Side Tournament as they beat St Marys 56-37
..Leopold Boys beat Scott City 55-37 to capture the Woodland Invitational Title.
..Nerinx Hall won the Girls Marquette Tournament as they topped the host school 59-55. Abbie Marshall led the Markers with 21 points.
..St Louis Christian defeated Washington 61-44 to take home the top prize in the Borgia Tournament. McCluer North topped Borgia for 3rd.
..Lafayette (St Joe) raised its recrod to 3-0 as they won the Boys Savannah Invitational for the first time since 1974 when they beat Winnetonka in a physical game 58-34. Both teams were in the FT bonus situation in the 1st quarter!
..Lutheran South beat DuBourg for the Girls South Side Tornament Championship by a 52-34 score. The Lady Lancers coasted in all 3 wins
..Strafford(3-0) Boys won its own Tournament by crunching Ash Grove 71-37. Strafford starts 3 soph and have 8 on the varsity roster!
..Crossroads College Prep(3-0) beat Principia(2-1) 56-55 to win the Valley Park Boys Tournament. Crossroads FT shooting (9 of 13) made the difference as the Panthers were 1 of 2...that's right 2 FT in the entire game!
..St Charles wins all 3 games of the St Charles Boys Round-Robin
..Parkway North Girls won all 3 of their games in the Gerald Linneman Round Robin that has all 4 Parkway Schools competing.
..IWA Girls won the St Dominic Tournament as they romped over the short-handed Eureka Wildcats 60-23. It was 27-5 after the 1st quarter.
Beyond the Prep Scores...
...Dalvin Warmack (Blue Spring Jr Running back) was named the Winner of Gatorade MIssouri Player of the Year and the Simone Award (Best Player in KC Area). Warmack rushed for 2281 yards, scored 40 running touchdowns, caught 19 passes for 256 yards and five more touchdowns (total 45 for the year!) Warmack is now eligible for the National Gatorade Player of the year.
..The passing of Rick Majerus, while not totally unexpected, is sad. Coach Majerus was a brilliant basketball coach. When faced with a "big" opponent, his strategy and in-game adjustments were at the highest level. Many of his SLU players mentioned after his death of the tremendous way that he helped them to elevate their lives, not just their game. We sure don't hear that much in College basketball any longer. He'll be missed.
...must every NFL player who misses a pass, turn around and ask for a flag? The players abused the replacement refs and now they have continued to think that they can officiate as well as play. Come on...give us a break and just go back to the huddle and play.
...remember all those high hopes for Detroit? The Lions dropped thier 3rd consecutive game after holding the lead at the 2:00 mark of the final quarter. Bye-bye playoff hopes...
...after hearing Frank Haith's evasive, vague answers on the Dixon ordeal, I wonder if he has ever been a politician?
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