Winter Sports Wrap-Up
Kirkwood versus Webster Groves is one of the biggest rivalries in the St. Louis area, especially when it comes to the annual Turkey Day football game. But both were winners on the biggest stage of high school sports this winter as they concluded the season with basketball championships. Webster Groves boys captured their third state title, and the Kirkwood girls followed with their first-ever state championship to highlight another amazing season for area teams.
Webster Groves won its last 23 games of the season, none more impressive than its 70-35 victory over Lee’s Summit West in the Class 5 championship at Mizzou Arena in Columbia March 18. Both teams came into the title game on a hot streak with just two losses each. But Webster dominated from start to finish, led by a pair of juniors who are Division I signees. Courtney Ramey, who has signed with Louisville, had 25 points, and Saint Louis University signee Carte’Are Gordon had 21 for the Statesmen, who finished the season with a 29-2 record. The 28th win (and 22nd in a row) provided the drama as Ramey scored on a three-point play with just seven seconds left, handing Webster the victory over Kickapoo, 58-57 in the semifinals. Webster advanced to the Final Four with a 76-57 triumph over CBC.
Webster was within a few points of a perfect season. Its losses came by one point to St. Louis University High and two points to Champaign Central. Chaminade joined Webster in the Class 5 Final Four. The Red Devils had an impressive 79-46 win over Jackson in the quarterfinals and lost twice in Columbia, falling to Lee’s Summit West 74-69 in the semifinals and Kickapoo 89-78 in the third-place game. They finished with a 24-7 record.
The Red Devils, like Webster, should be a force again next season, as they were led by juniors: 6-foot-7 Jerricole Hellems averaged 22 points a game, while 6-foot-6 Karrington Davis averaged 19.2 points per game.
Parkway Central had a memorable run to the Final Four in Class 4. The Colts, who finished with a 23-10 record, played their best basketball at the end of the season and crushed Jennings 66-48 in the quarterfinals. They would finish fourth at state, losing to Bolivar 63-41 in the semifinals, and Kearney 50-40 in the third-place game. They were led in scoring throughout the season by DeAndre Campbell, who averaged 21.9 points per game.
Whitfield made it to the championship game in Class 3 behind Torrence Watson, who led all St. Louis area scorers with a 27.9 average. The Warriors defeated Hogan Prep 79-70 in the semifinals but lost in the championship game to Northwest Academy 78-68.
Kirkwood won its first state championship (pictured above). It needed two overtimes to dispose of the Columbia Rock Bridge Bruins, 60-56, and followed that with a 43-36 win over Lee’s Summit in the Class 5 championship game. Kirkwood won its first eight games of the season and would lose just once the rest of the season, to Parkway North. They avenged the loss to Incarnate Word, the Class 4 champions.
The Pioneers were led by the duo of Lauryn Miller and Jayla Everett. Miller, a senior headed to UCLA in the fall, was selected as the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year. Everett, a junior, will be one of the state’s top players next year.
Parkway North actually won its conference over Kirkwood (the Vikings split against Kirkwood, winning the league game and losing in the Viz Tournament) and won 12 of its last 14 games to finish at 24-6. The Vikings had a rough draw in the post-season as they played Incarnate Word in the quarterfinals, losing 62-47.
The Whitfield girls joined the boys with a Final Four appearance in Class 3. The Warriors advanced to the title game with a 53-41 win over Trenton in the semifinals but lost in the championship game against powerhouse Strafford, 83-37. Sophomore Alijah Blackwell averaged more than 20 points a game for Whitfield.
It was a great state meet for area teams at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters. Lafayette won the state team title with 224 points. Rock Bridge, which led going into the final race, the 400-yard free relay, finished second with 220.5 points. Junior Franceska Petrosino, sophomore Cate Behl, junior Delaney Thomas and freshman Claire Vanbiljon were members of the first-place 400-free relay team. Thomas, Behl and Vanbiljon also were on the first-place 200-yard free relay team along with sophomore Katie Haefner.
Five area teams finished in the top 10, with Marquette bringing home third place. Kirkwood was seventh, Parkway Central eighth and Visitation ninth. Area athletes won two of the three relay events, four of the eight individual events, and the diving championship. Marquette’s Ashley Yarbrough won the diving competition, while Elle Christe of Lafayette finished second. St. Joseph’s Academy’s Anna Miller was one of the most dominant swimmers in the meet, winning both the 50-yard free and the 100-yard free. In the 200-yard free, Alyssa Lemon of Marquette won first, Ladue‘s Paige Mitchell finished second (she was also second in the 500-yard free), and Petrosino of Lafayette was third.
Parkway Central‘s Madison Brown was the other individual champion, winning the 100-yard backstroke. Petrosino won the maximum four medals from state. In addition to being on the champion 400-free relay team, she was third in the 200-medley relay team, third in the 200-free and fourth in the 100-butterfly.
The dominance of the Whitfield wrestling squad continued. The Warriors, who have finished either first or second the last seven seasons, won their fifth state title during the span by capturing the Class 1 team title. Whitfield finished with 174.5 points and closed out the meet impressively. They had five wrestlers advance to championship matches, and all five came home with the gold!
Chris Wilkes, who finished the season at 49-1, won at 125 pounds, winning his championship match over Troy Kyser of Knob Noster by technical fall, 24-9. Austin Smith won at 132 pounds, winning by a 3-2 decision over Keven Steeby of Mid-Buchanan in the finals. Smith finished the season with a 46-6 mark.
The Hahn brothers each won championships. Rodney Hahn, who finished at 46-3, won at 145 pounds. William Hahn won the 152-pound title. The win was the 50th of the season by William Hahn, who has lost just five times. Ethan Sheretz was the other Warrior individual champion, and he did it with a pin in the title match at 182 pounds over Jake Riggs of Maysville. Sheretz finished the season with a 42-3 record.
Three state champions were not quite enough for CBC to come away with a team championship in Class 4. But it was a great meet and season for the Cadets, who finished second to Staley. Malik Johnson, Joshua Saunders and D.J. Shannon all won state titles for the Cadets. Shannon’s title at 160 pounds capped off a perfect season. He won by a 7-4 decision over Cory Peterson of DeSmet in the finals. It was Shannon’s 48th victory without a loss.
Johnson lost just once in 34 matches in capturing the title at 120 pounds. He won by an 8-3 decision over Cameron Fusco of Seckman in the championship match. Saunders, who finished at 36-5, had one of the biggest wins in the state meet.
Chaminade‘s Danny Conley was the other Class 4 individual champion. He lost just one of his 50 matches this season. Lafayette finished fourth as a team, led by Austin Stofer, who finished second at 170 pounds. He was 49-4 for the season.
Parkway South’s Garrett Kloeppel was undefeated until the title match at 126. He finished 43-1.
CBC did not dominate the regular season in the Mid-States Club Hockey Association, as it has in the recent past, but shined in the playoffs, culminating in their fourth straight championship and their 12th in the last 17 years.
St. Louis University High, which had defeated CBC twice during the season, was the top seed entering play in the Challenge Cup (the top teams in the league). The Junior Bills, who finished 24-4, made it to the championship game at the Scottrade Center on March 8, but they fell short to CBC, 4-1. The Cadets finished 23-5, with goalkeeper Jack Caruso named Most Valuable Player in the title game.
Westminster Christian won its first-ever hockey championship, capturing the Wickenheiser Cup at Scottrade Center on March 8. The Wildcats defeated Ladue 3-2 in the title game, and Jason Kelly was named Most Valuable Player. Westminster finished the season with a 16-9-5 mark, while Ladue wound up 24-4.