Winter Sports Wrap-Up 2016
Jayson Tatum’s high school basketball career rivals anyone’s in the history of St. Louis. The Chaminade senior was a McDonald’s All-American and a Gatorade Player of the Year, and he played in numerous showcase tournaments against the best players in the country, of which he was certainly one.
The forward was the No. 2 ranked player nationally in the ESPN 100. But one thing was missing from Tatum’s glorious resume—and that was a high school state championship.
That changed March 18 as Tatum scored 40 points to help the Red Devils defeat Kickapoo 72-49 at the Mizzou Arena in Columbia. That put an exclamation point on Tatum’s stellar high school career and gave Chaminade its second straight title. The Red Devils also won in 2009.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” Chaminade coach Frank Bennett says. “We had a ton of talented guys, but they all were selfless and played for the better of the team. They put aside their egos and pride, and it resulted in a state title. It was a very tough road, and we played against some of the best coaches and teams around the country. We saw a lot of different defenses, and I think that helped prepare us for the state tournament.”
The Red Devils certainly had a talented and athletic roster. A handful will continue their basketball careers in college, one player will play Division I football and another, Division I baseball.
But Tatum was the player in the spotlight, and he shined when the stage was brightest. He led the St. Louis area in scoring, with almost 30 points a game, but he saved his best for last, which included the 40-point championship game and a 45-point effort in a quarterfinal win against CBC. “Jayson is certainly special,” Bennett says. “Most of it is God-given talent, but he also works his tail off. Every single day, and I mean every day, he would get to the gym about 6:15 a.m., before school and put up shots for an hour or so. He would go to class, practice and shoot again after practice. When you combine the talent and the work ethic, you can see why he is so great. And I think he is just going to get better under Coach K at Duke. He is going to be even more special at Duke and beyond.”
Tatum broke the school career-scoring record at the final four, and that’s quite an accomplishment, as the previous record was held by Bradley Beal, who is currently a standout in the NBA with the Washington Wizards. “I was fortunate to be on the staff when Bradley played here,” Bennett says. “Bradley was a monster, so it is unreal that someone could break his mark.”
Chaminade finished with a 27-5 record. Its five losses came by a combined 23 points, and all came against national powers such as Dematha and Oak Hill Academy.
The 2015-16 season was also special for other area basketball teams, both on the boys and girls side. Saint Louis University High, which, like Chaminade, plays in the Metro Catholic Conference, reached the final four in Class 5. The Junior Bills lost to Chaminade in the semifinals but came back to capture third place with a 70-67 win over Lee’s Summit. SLUH had five players score in double figures in that game, which was symbolic of the season. SLUH finished 21-10 and was led in scoring by Brandon McKissic, who averaged more than 15 points per game.
CBC, another MCC team, reached the Class 5 quarterfinals before falling to Chaminade. Parkway West had the farthest run in Class 4. The Longhorns, who finished 23-5, advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Sikeston.
Whitfield played in the craziest game of the year and made the final four in Class 3. The Warriors, who finished 25-7, defeated Caruthersville in a Class 3 quarterfinal game. It featured a tying 3-point bucket at the buzzer and switching courts at the last minute—literally. The game began at Jefferson College but had to be moved to Hillsboro High School when there was a power outage with less than a minute left in the game. Whitfield would lose at state to Fr. Tolton and Mountain Grove, but it can always remember the game that advanced it to Columbia.
A pair of area girl’s schools advanced to championship games in Columbia. Kirkwood advanced in Class 5 and won its semifinal game against Francis Howell before falling to Kickapoo in the finals. Kickapoo attempted 53 free throws (making 37) in its 10-point victory. Jordan Roundtree averaged more than 17 points to lead the Pioneers, who finished 26-5.
MICDS made it to the final game in Class 4, and in the process defeated nemesis Incarnate Word in the semifinals. The Rams had lost their previous 11 games against the perennial powerhouse. The Rams fell in the championship game to undefeated St. Joseph Benton in double overtime and finished with a 25-4 record. Two of the losses came against Incarnate Word, another to Kirkwood and the fourth to Brentwood Academy in Tennessee.
Senior Taylor Baur finished her high school career in style, averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. She was named the Missouri Girls Gatorade Player of the Year.
“Taylor’s year is certainly impressive on the strength of stats and import to our program on their own merit,” MICDS coach Scott Small says. “But when you factor in the fact that she lost her entire junior season to an ACL injury, it only further highlights how remarkable her season has been. She is a great kid, and her hustle is unrivaled.”
The area did not have any team champions this winter, but Whitfield finished second in Class 1. The Warriors have been in the top two the past six years, winning state three times, including 2015. But they fell in what proved to be a battle to the wire with Seneca, which ended with 160 points. Whitfield had 154.5 points, well ahead of third place Marceline, which had 109.5.
“We actually had more points than last year when we won,” Whitfield coach Charlie Sherertz says. “We knew coming into state that we had no margin for error after we lost defending champion J.R. Ditter to a broken arm. We still had our chances throughout the tournament. We had four guys in championship matches, and so did Seneca. We won three of them, but Seneca won all four. They had quite a finish and deserved to win. I was more impressed with Seneca than anything, but we were still disappointed. We were in it to win.”
Whitfield did have three individual champions. Senior Kurtis Hahn won his third state title. He handed Corbin Menke of Lawson his only loss of the season in the title match at 160, winning 10-4. Hahn finished 46-4 on the season. Sophomores Mike McAteer and Max Darrah were the other Whitfield state champs. McAteer, who finished 44-5, won his second straight title. He defeated Ronald Stewart (46-5) of Maplewood at 113 points in an all-area championship match. Darrah (48-3) won by a 3-2 decision in the finals against Sam Hasekamp of Centralia at 220 pounds.
Maplewood, which finished eighth as a team in Class 1, had the other area champion in the class as Romelle Person (46-3) won by a major decision over Clayton Stallo of Marceline at 126 pounds.
No area teams finished in the top 10 in either Class 2 or 3, although there was one champion, with Westminster Christian Academy’s Alex Hopkins capping off an undefeated season with a title at 170 pounds in Class 3. Hopkins won by a 6-4 decision over Ottis Peeler of Raytown South in the finals.
A pair of CBC sophomores won state titles in Class 4. Malik Johnson (37-5) won his second title. He won by injury default over Cameron Fusco of Seckman in the finals at 113 pounds. D.J. Shannon, who finished third last year, was the 152-pound champion. Shannon (37-4) won by a 2-1 decision over Jesse Jeffries of Fort Osage in the finals. CBC finished eighth as a team in Class 4. Lafayette was the top local team, finishing in sixth place.
A state record by Parkway West’s Gabriela Vieira highlighted another spectacular showing by area teams during the state meet at the St. Peters Rec-Plex. Vieira, a senior who will swim next year at Tulane University, broke the state record in winning the 100-yard butterfly. She was also state champion in the 100-yard backstroke and was part of two Longhorn relay teams that finished second. Vieira was named the Swimmer of the Meet.
“She has in club the past three years, and we finally got her to come out and represent her high school team this year,” Parkway West coach Allison Wallace says. “Gabi is an unbelievably hard worker, great teammate and a pleasure to coach.”
Vieira’s teammate, Kristen Petersen, finished second in the 50-yard free and third in the 100-yard free, helping Parkway West win a trophy with its fourth-place team finish. Lafayette had the best showing locally. The Lancers finished second. Rock Bridge defended its title, winning with 260 points. Lafayette was second with 236 points. “Getting second at state was amazing, and we are very proud of the season,” Lancer coach Todd Gabel says.
The strength for the Lancers was their depth, which was evident in the relay events. Katie Haefner, Cate Behl, Katherine Lucken and Delaney Thomas were state champs in the 200-yard free relay, while Francesko Petrosino, Behl, Kendall Hansen and Thomas closed the meet with a championship in the 400-yard free relay. Petrosino also finished third in the 200-free. Marquette, which finished sixth as a team, had the diving champion in Ashley Yarbrough. Katiana Porporis was third individually in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard breaststroke ,and Alyssa Lemon was second in the 500-yard free. Kirkwood also had a top 10 team finish; the Pioneers were eighth.
A perennial power and a first-time champion highlighted area teams in the Mid-States Hockey Association.
CBC continued its dominance in winning the Challenge Cup. The Cadets, who finished 36-3, defeated Saint Louis University High 5-2 in the championship game at Scottrade Center. It was the third straight championship for the Cadets, who have won 11 of the last 16 championships. CBC has 15 titles overall, which is more than any other school.
Marquette won its first Mid-States championship by capturing the Wickenheiser Cup. Zachary Schade scored a pair of goals to lead the Mustangs to a 4-2 win over Francis Howell Central in the title game. The Mustangs finished the season with a 19-8-2 record. John Burroughs made it a clean sweep for local teams as the Bombers won the Founders Cup. Burroughs tied Francis Howell North 4-4 in the championship game and won the mini-game 1-0.
Pictured: Jayson Tatum