A pair of area coaches earned national honors from the National Federation of High Schools to highlight this past week of high school sports while the Mid-States Hockey Club started second-round action in their playoffs after a few key games on Monday. Plus, the annual Queen of Hearts tournament is underway with three of the top teams in the area advancing to the semifinals Friday evening.

Let’s see what happened this past week in today’s edition of the Friday Fast Break brought to you by Triad Bank.

Earlier this week, two of our outstanding coaches earned NFHS Section Coach of the Year. Our section includes the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Jim Layne from Fort Zumwalt South earned the Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year while Leslie Kehr from John Burroughs garnered the Boys’ Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year.

Photo Credit – Missouri State High School Activities Association


Layne led the Bulldogs to state championships in Class 3 in 2021 and 2022 and has always been in the mix for state titles since he took over the program. Kehr has been a constant on the deck for the Bombers for many years and helped many John Burroughs swimmers and divers move on to the college ranks.

In more coaching news, Ryan Nesbitt announced that he will be leaving Troy to take over the Jackson football program. Nesbitt has been at the helm for the Trojans since 2014 and is the program’s all-time winning coach in earning 43 victories and led Troy to the Class 6 semifinals in 2021. Nesbitt takes over for Brent Eckley, who is leaving Jackson to take over the Har-Ber football program in Springdale, Ark.

The first round of the Queen of Hearts tournament started at Villa Duchesne Wednesday evening with John Burroughs leading the teams into the semifinals that will take place Friday evening. 

The Bombers used their defense to race out to a 30-10 lead at the half and cruised to a 63-16 victory over Parkway Central in an opening-round contest. Celia Thayer paced the Bombers’ attack with 15 points while Alice Crowley added 11 markers in the win to help John Burroughs improve to 20-2 on the year.

St. Dominic needed three overtimes in the second opening-round game to defeat Lutheran North 52-47. Maren Hunt led the Crusaders with 18 points with Madison Lynch adding 12 points to help St. Dominic advance to the semifinals. Hunt also grabbed 16 rebounds in the winning effort.

Pattonville and Lift for Life won the final two quarterfinal contests to set up the second semifinal that will take place Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The second round of the Mid-States Club Hockey Association playoffs is underway as CBC and St. Louis University High School won their opening games to set up another possible instant classic in the winner’s bracket semifinal.

The Cadets entered the bracket play portion of the Challenge Cup as the top seed and used an outstanding second period to defeat Lindbergh 7-0 to move into the semifinals. CBC broke out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period as Walker Landy scored at the 4:54 mark to give the Cadets the lead. CBC’s offense exploded in the second period as Nicolas Puricelli, Carter Clemons, Luke Broadhead, and Landy all scored to push the advantage to 5-0. The Cadets added a pair of goals in the final stanza as Puricelli scored his second goal of the night with Brenden Korte adding an insurance goal to get the win.

The No. 4 seeded Jr. Bills used their defense early on to come away with a 6-1 win over Marquette in the second quarterfinal match of the tournament. Gavin Simon opened the scoring for the Jr. Bills late in the first period with an even-strength goal to give SLUH a 1-0 lead at the break. Logan Petlansky and Patrick Vogl each scored in the second period to put SLUH on top 3-0. The Jr. Bills added three more goals in the final stanza to set up the semifinal contest against CBC.

The final two games in the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup will take place Monday night at Queeny Park as No.2 seed Kirkwood will play No. 7 seed Parkway South at 6:30 p.m. while No. 3 seed De Smet will take on No. 6 seed Chaminade at 8:45 p.m.

There has been one game in the Wickenheiser Cup playoffs as top-seed Oakville opened their two games series with John Burroughs with a 5-3 victory Thursday evening. The Tigers scored a pair of goals in the latter stages of the first period with Joseph Daniels and Mason Andrew each finding the back of the net to give Oakville a 2-0 advantage. Teagan Lee extended the Oakville advantage to 3-0 just 79 seconds into the second period, but the Bombers cut into the deficit as Jacob Brown scored at the 9:54 mark to make the score 3-1. Grant Bader pushed the Oakville lead to 4-1 with a goal at the 12:55 mark to push the advantage to 4-1 at the end of the second period. Burroughs got to within a goal in the first five minutes of the third period as Nickolas Martin and Caden Asbach each found the net to get the Bombers to within a goal at 4-3. Andrew put the game out of reach in the waning stages of the contest with an empty net goal to give Oakville the win.

The rest of the Wickenheiser Cup first-round games will take place early next week as No. 2 MICDS will take on No. 7 seed Holt Monday with No. 3 seed Fort Zumwalt West playing No. 6 seed Fort Zumwalt South Tuesday and No. 4 seed Clayton taking on No. 5 seed Lafayette Monday.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association girls’ wrestling districts will take place this weekend as St. Clair and North Point will host two of the Class 1 district tournaments while Northwest and Holt will host a pair of the Class 2 district tournaments.

There are also a ton of big-time basketball matchups this weekend as teams are looking to clinch conference titles and improve their records as district seeding meetings are slated for next week.


Jim Powers
Jim Powers

Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at japowers2421@yahoo.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan