The prep sports scene heated up this week as Incarnate Word faced its toughest opponent of the year to extend its winning streak. On the mat, the Class 1 and Class 2 boys with the class 1 girls’ took the mats at Mizzou Arena for the 2023 State Championships. With this all going on, the Mid-States Hockey Club Association played their next rounds of the playoffs with a major upset Thursday night in the Challenge Cup.

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

On the court in girls’ action, the top two teams in the area hit the court as Incarnate Word needed to battle for a 53-43 win over John Burroughs in a battle of two of the top two teams in the state. The Red Knights, who are the top team in the latest MBCA Class 6 poll are on a 94-game winning streak but pushed for the first time this year as the Bombers, who are the NO.2 team in the coaches’ poll gave IWA all they that wanted. Natalie Potts paced the Red Knights with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the win while Brooke Coffey added 13 markers and eight boards in the win. Allie Turner led the Bombers with 19 points in the loss as the Bombers fell to 23-3 on the year with two of those losses coming to IWA.

On the mat in the MSHSAA Class 1 Wrestling Finals at Mizzou Arena, Brentwood grabbed a piece of 31st place with 11 points to lead the locals while Lift For Life and Roosevelt earned 39th place with 4 points in the meet.

In Class 2, St. Clair finished eighth in the championship with 70.5 points St. Charles earned a piece of 21st place with 27.5 points. Ryan Meek paced the Bulldogs with a championship in the 120 lb. class with a 15-0 tech fall in the title match. Brock Woodcock added to the St. Clair point total with a major decision victory in the 157 lb. weight class.

In the girls’ Class 1 wrestling championship, Festus was the top local squad with a 14th-place finish as the Tigers earned 46 points in the meet. North Point was the next local team in the meet with a 21st-place finish with 35 points. Cassidy Benwell wrapped up a perfect year in the 120 lb. class with a major decision to finish the season with a 27-0 record.

Things are heating up in the Mid-States Hockey Club playoffs as the Challenge Cup is down to the final four after action Thursday night with one of the mainstays in the playoffs getting knocked out of the tournament.

The No. 3 seed De Smet moved on in the losers’ bracket with a 4-2 victory over Marquette to advance to the next round. Dillen Grupe opens the scoring for the Spartans in the first period with a goal to give Ce Smet a 1-0 lead. The Mustangs evened the count at 1-1 as Thomas Vodnansky scored on a power play late in the period to pull Marquette even. De Smet exploded in the second period as Cole Heffington scored two goals while Nicholas Salthouse added a short-handed goal to make the score 4-1. Marquette added a goal from Colin Farrell early in the third period to cut the Spartans’ lead to 4-2, but that is as close as Marquette would get as De Smet used their outstanding defense to keep the Mustangs at bay.

On the other side of the losers’ bracket, one of the biggest upsets in the Challenge Cup took place as No. 6 seed Chaminade knocked out the top seed in the playoffs CBC 2-1. The Cadets grabbed an early lead as Carter Clemons scored on a power play at the 5:45 mark of the first period to give CBC an early 1-0 lead. Henry Kittner evened the score at 1-1 as he scored on an even-strength goal at the 13:03 mark of the period to tie the contest. Eric Ewing Jr. gave the Red Devils the lead for good at the 4:13 mark of the second period with an even-strength goal that made the score 2-1. Chaminade then leaned on goaltender Julius Kolari to earn the upset win as he finished the night with 25 saves to earn the win.

Action in the Challenge Cup continues Friday evening at Centene Ice Center as De Smet will take on Chaminade at 8:45 p.m. while in the winner’s bracket, No. 2 seed Kirkwood will play No. 4 seed SLUH. In the loser’s bracket, De Smet will play Chaminade at 7:30 p.m.

In the Wickenheiser Cup playoffs, semifinal action will start Friday evening at Centene as No.1 seed Oakville will open their two-game series against No. 5 seed Lafayette at 7 p.m. while No.2 seed MICDS will take on No.3 seed Fort Zumwalt West at 9:10 p.m. to open their two-game series.

In a busy weekend on the prep sports scene, state wrestling will take center stage.

Hillsboro and Whitfield lead the Class 3 squads as the Warriors will look to repeat as Class 3 champions and will attempt to win their 12th state title. The Hawks will have depth on their side as they qualified all 11 wrestlers to the championship meet after districts last weekend. Griffin Ray will lead the charge for Hillsboro as he will compete in the 165 lb. class with a record of 40-3 and he will be joined by Jackson Tucker who will wrestle in the 132 lb. class with an outstanding record of 39-1. Whitfield has 10 wrestlers vying for titles in the meet as they will be led by Porter Matecki who will wrestle in the 126 lb. class with a record of 37-2. Jackson Bassett will also look to help the Warriors as he will lead things off in the 106 lb. division with a record of 37-5.

The Class 4 championship meet will be up for grabs as Seckman will look to improve on their runner-up finish from a year ago while Howell Central looks to compete for a spot on the podium this weekend. The Jaguars have nine wrestlers heading to Columbia and will be led by Xander Harris in the 113 lb. class with a record of 21-8 while John Bamvakais will compete in the 157 lb. class with a record of 41-7. All-State football player Cole Ruble will also be counted on in the Seckman lineup as he will wrestle in the 190 lb. division with a record of 34-7. The Spartans will also send nine wrestlers to the state meet as Aiden Hernandez will lead the way for Howell Central in the 165 lb. class with a record of 25-1. Thomas Stuhlman will also be a key to Howell Central’s success as he will wrestle in the 157 lb. class with a mark of 13-2.

On the girls’ side on the mats, It is a loaded field in Class 2 as Howell Central putting 10 wrestlers through while Holt is sending eight wrestlers to the meet while Washington will have seven ladies participating this weekend. The Blue Jays won their district and will count on Kendra Bliss to continue her outstanding season in the 125 lb. class as she enters the weekend with a 45-3 record. Julia Donnelly will also be someone to watch for Washington as she will be in the 110 lb. class with a record of 30-3. Howell Central also won their district and will have Kailey Benson leading the charge in the 115 lb. class with a record of 39-4. Dana Thee Sanchez will add depth to the Howell Central lineup as she will be in the lb. cla1ss with a mark of 28-8. Holt was the runner-up in the district and has Marissa Sanabria pacing them as she will look to remain undefeated in the 130 lb. class as she takes a 43-0 record into the meet. Lily Steigerwald will lead things off for Holt as she is in the 120 lb. class and has a mark of 27-4 on the year.


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 Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan