Winter Sports Wrap-up
A record-setting hockey championship, continued dominance by a small-school wrestling squad and four teams in Final Four basketball highlighted the winter season for our high schools.
[ boys basketball ]
Two teams from the same conference competed against each other on the final day of the Class 5 state basketball tournament. Unfortunately, Chaminade’s 70-37 victory over St. Louis University High came in the third-place game instead of the championship contest.
Chaminade was considered the pre-tournament favorite, but the Red Devils were upset in the semifinals by Park Hill South, 53-50. Meanwhile, the Junior Bills also fell to a Kansas City area team, Blue Springs South, 61-52.
Chaminade finished the season with a 27-4 record, while SLUH was 19-13. The area boasts one of the top junior players in the country, and Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum did not disappoint. He led the entire area in scoring with a 26.5 average, and he brought the Red Devils to the Final Four in Class 5. Tatum struggled in the semifinals but capped off his season with 30 points as he connected on six of his seven 3-point attempts in the third-place game against the Junior Bills. Chaminade won the ultra-competitive conference, snagging all four of its league games.
A third MCC team, Vianney, also won a district championship. The Griffins fell to Jackson in a heartbreaker in the sectional round 59-57. Lafayette was the fourth area district champion in Class 5. The Lancers won the District 8 title, but then had the misfortune of coming up against Chaminade in the sectional round, falling 72-40. Westminster Christian and Maplewood were the other area district champions.
Westminster won the Class 4, District 4 title and then won its sectional game against Lutheran South 67-48 before falling one game short of the final four, losing to Cape Notre Dame 62-44. Maplewood won the Class 3, District 4 title before falling to Park Hills Central 45-40 in the sectional round.
The area featured a number of other conference champions. Westminster won the Metro League title with an 11-1 mark. Brentwood was 7-1 in capturing the South CAA title, while Webster Groves, led by conference Player of the Year Alex Floresca, won all five of its games in the Sub XIIS Conference. Lafayette added a conference title to its district championship. The Lancers were 9-0 in the Suburban West Conference and 24-4 overall. Parkway West won all four of its league games in capturing the Sub Central National title. Parkway Central’s Jarrett-Cox Bradley, who was second to Tatum in the entire area in scoring (25.3) per game, was named Player of the Year in the Sub Central National.
[ girls basketball ]
It was a big season for the girls on the hard courts as a pair of teams made it to the final four, while another missed out by a single point. Parkway North advanced for the first time in school history in Class 5. The Vikings won their district title and then defeated Francis Howell (69-50) in the sectional round and Washington (64-53) in the quarterfinals before losing on a last-second shot in the semifinals, 55-54 to Liberty.
Parkway North, which finished 25-6, closed the season with a victory, defeating Cor Jesu 67-54 in the third-place game. MICDS was dominant in Class 4 in advancing to the final four. The Rams won their first three post-season games by a combined 81 points, but fell to powerhouse Incarnate Word in the championship game 60-27. Incarnate Word, which won its record-tying seventh state championship, was led by superstar Napheesa Collier. The University of Connecticut-bound Collier put an exclamation point on her high school career with 30 points and 19 rebounds. The Red Knights shot more than 60 percent from the field, while MICDS easily had its poorest shooting game of the season, hitting just seven of its 45 attempts (15.6 percent). The loss should not detract from what was a super season by the Rams, who finished 26-3 overall, the most wins in school history, and MICDS’ first appearance in the Final Four. “We were down by just one point late in the game when we played in the regular season, but we just could not shoot it well this time,” MICDS coach Scott Small says. “It was a remarkable season, though. Five of our top nine players were new; we had some growing pains early, but we started to come together about eight or nine games into the season. We had four or five girls who could score, and they were willing to give up the ball for the good of the team.”
Kirkwood, which won the Sub XIIS Conference title and won 23 games overall, came as close as possible to joining Parkway North in the Class 5 semifinals. The Pioneers defeated Jackson (49-36) in the sectionals and then fell to Cor Jesu (44-43) in the quarterfinals.
Whitfield was the other area district champion in girls basketball. Then the Warriors were defeated in the sectional round in Class 3 by Park Hills Central (72-34). Brentwood, Marquette and Ladue also finished the season as conference champions. Brentwood was undefeated in eight games in winning the South Central AA, while Marquette won the Suburban West and Ladue captured the Suburban Central North.
[ hockey ]
The dominance of the CBC hockey team (pictured above) continued this winter as the Cadets captured their 14th Mid-State Hockey Association championship. That ties DeSmet for the most state titles of any school, their 10th win in the last 15 years. Amazingly, CBC has been in the Challenge Cup championship game each of the last 15 years. “The players obviously change through the years, but the kids we get are not only talented, but also quality kids,” CBC coach John Jost comments. The one constant through the years has been the coaching staff, as Jost and his assistants, Randy Staub and Nick Carolsello, have been together for the last 17 years. “We all have our roles,” Jost says, “and we do what we can to make CBC a successful team. It has certainly been a good ride.”
The Cadets had a pair of No. 1 goalies in Tom Nappier and Joe Bernadini. “Both guys had great years,” Jost notes. “And scoring was never an issue with this group. I think we became the team we ended up being when we improved defensively, especially in the second half of the season.” Jack Harrison led the team in scoring, with 15 goals and 23 assists. CBC beat rival St. Louis University High in the Challenge Cup championship game 5-1 as junior defenseman Donovan Psaris was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. CBC won all 21 of its league games and gave up about a goal a game (22), while scoring 141 itself.
Kirkwood and Clayton also had solid regular seasons, winning their divisions with undefeated marks. Kirkwood won the South Division with an 8-0-0 record, while Clayton won the Suburban Central with an 8-0-2 mark. Lafayette’s Brendan Duggan led all area players in goals with 49. Max Hunter of Clayton led the area in overall scoring with 40 goals and 28 assists.
[ girls swimming ]
Outstate teams finished in the top three at the state meet held in St. Peters’ Rec-Plex, with Rock Bridge winning followed by Springfield Glendale and Park Hill South. For the second year in a row, Marquette was the top St. Louis finisher, earning a team trophy. The Mustangs finished fourth this year after a second place finish in 2014. “I’m very proud of how the girls performed,” Marquette coach Joe Schoedel says. “After losing some key swimmers last year to graduation, these girls were anxious to show we could still compete with the best in the state.” Marquette certainly did that at the state meet, led by senior Raquel Porporis and sophomores Katiana Porporis, Alyssa Lemon, Anna Davis and Ashley Yarbrough. “I couldn’t be prouder of how the girls handled the pressure and expectations of the season,” Schoedel comments. “They are hardworking, competitive and really came together as a team.” Katiana Porporis had a second-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, while Parkway West junior Kristen Petersen had a pair of second-place finishes: the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.
The lone area champion came in the diving portion of the meet, as MICDS senior Kat Friese capped off an amazing career with her third consecutive state championship (Friese was third as a freshman). “For Kat to win three consecutive state titles is obviously quite an accomplishment,” MICDS coach Kristen Kaiser says. “She is confident, consistent, patient and I have yet to see anything faze her in terms of nerves. It is truly hard to quantify what she has meant to this team over the last four years.” Friese will take her talents next year to UCLA.
[ wrestling ]
Whitfield’s success on the mats continued this season, led by a senior and a couple of freshmen. The Warriors won the Class 1 championship in Columbia, Whitfield’s fifth state championship in the last eight years. They finished second in two of those other three years.
The Warriors had five wrestlers in Saturday’s wrestlebacks, while Seneca, which was leading the pack, had four in that round. Each wrestler had two matches, and Whitfield finished 7-3 in its 10 matches while Seneca was only 2-6 in its eight matches. The Warriors took the lead at that point and never gave it up as all three Whitfield wrestlers who competed in state championship matches won. “We ranked only 31st in returning points, and we had no state medalists returning from 2014,” Whitfield coach Charlie Sheretz says. “But I realized we had a lot of talent—it was just unproven talent. I have never been enamored of the term rebuilding. We just set out the week after state last year (when Whitfield finished second) and we were able to put it together and have another special season.”
Whitfield excelled in the lighter weights, winning state titles with freshmen at 106 and 113 pounds. Mike McAteer completed an undefeated season with a championship at 106 pounds. McAteer defeated another local wrestler, Ronald Stewart of Maplewood, with a first period fall in the championship match. McAteer finished his season with a perfect 49-0 record.
J.R. Ditter, also a freshman, captured the championship at 113 pounds, finishing the season with a 45-4 record. Senior Sky Darrah was the other Whitfield individual champion, capturing the title at 152 pounds to finish with a 43-4 record. Five other Warriors came home with individual medals (Kurtis Hahn was third at 160 pounds, Taylor Boyce was third at 182 pounds, Max Darrah was fourth at 195, Robert Hawkins was fourth at 285 and Dalton Schmidt was fifth at 138 pounds.)
Principia’s Caleb Kelly was the other area medalist in Class 1. Kelly finished third. No other area team finished in the top seven in any of the other three classes, but CBC had the best finish. The Cadets were eighth in Class 4. CBC had four medalists, including Malik Johnson, who won the championship at 106 pounds. Johnson finished with a 39-5 record. Charles McNeal (fourth at 120), D.J. Shannon (third at 148) and Jordan Davis (third at 220) were the other Cadet medalists.
Lafayette had a strong showing in Class 4 with three medalists: Chase Behrndt (second at 285); Brendan McKenna (fifth at 182) and Alex Weir (sixth at 145). The other area highlight in Class 4 was a state title and undefeated season for Michael Aldrich of Parkway South. Aldrich won the state championship at 182 pounds and finished the season with a 49-0 record. Things did not go as well for area teams in Class 2 and 3. There were no state champions in either of those classes. MICDS had the best area showing as a team in Class 2 as the Rams finished 13th, led by John Broughton, who was third at 138 and Nick Scherer, who was sixth at 160. Webster Groves was 13th in Class 3. The Statesmen were led by Lamont Wilson, who was the only area wrestler in Class 3 to compete for a championship. He finished second at 113 pounds, winning 50 of his 53 matches during the season. Teammate Tyler Lawson was third at 126 pounds.