Championship season continues this weekend as the small school classes travel to Springfield, Mo., for the first weekend of the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown while a pair of metro-east teams head to Champaign, Ill. with dreams of bringing home the top trophy in the state. The MSHSAA quarterfinal round will also take place this weekend with many big games on the slate as teams will look to advance to Springfield next weekend.
Let’s get ready for a bunch of hoops in this week’s edition of the Friday Fast Break sponsored by Triad Bank.
The Illinois High School Association boys’ state semifinals started Thursday evening with some local flavor as Gibault Catholic out of Waterloo advanced to the Class 1A championship game with a convincing 70-46 victory over Cornerstone Christian at State Farm Arena in Champaign. This is the third appearance in the state final four for the Hawks as they attempt to win their first basketball state title. Gibault grabbed the lead late in the first quarter, finishing the period with a 9-2 run that put them on top 17-8. The Hawks took a 29-19 advantage into the halftime locker room before their offense exploded in the third stanza as they outscored Cornerstone 23-12, giving Gibault a 52-31 lead. They never looked back as they punched their ticket to the title game. Kaden Augustine led a trio of Hawks in double figures with a game-high 20 points, Kameron Hanvy scored 16 points, and Gavin Kesler added 14 markers in the win. Gibault will face off against Scales Mound Saturday at 11 a.m.
East St. Louis will open play in the IHSA Class 3A semifinals Friday morning as the Flyers will take on Metamora at 11:45 a.m. East St. Louis needed to work overtime to defeat Sacred Heart-Griffin Tuesday night as the Flyers advanced with a 59-56 double-overtime win over the Blazers. Sacred Heart took a 23-19 lead to the break as the Flyers chipped away at the lead and were able to even the game 45-45 at the end of regulation. After both teams scored six points apiece in the first extra session, they were able to finally break free by outscoring Sacred Heart 8-5 in the second overtime to gain the win. Macaleab Rich led the Flyers with a double-double scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while D’Necco Rucker added 11 points for the Flyers who are looking for their second state basketball title in five years as they won the crown in 2019.
Principia and Lutheran North will represent the area at the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown this weekend at Great Southern Bank Arena and Hammons Student Center as the Panthers will take on Plattsburg in the Class 2 semifinals Friday at 2 p.m. while the Crusaders will play Thayer in the Class 3 semifinals at noon Friday.
Principia advanced to the semifinals by defeating Cooter 49-46 in overtime this past Friday and will enter the weekend with a 24-6 record. The Panthers are led by senior Stephen Okoro who is averaging 13 points per game and grabbing 13 rebounds per contest. Jaylen Edwards is the leading scorer for Principia with an average of 16.1 points per game while freshman Ben Okoro has dished out 110 assists on the year. The Panthers are looking to win their first state basketball title in school history.
Lutheran North will enter the state semifinals with a record of 19-10 after they defeated Cole Camp in the quarterfinals by a score of 41-28. Bryce Spiller paces the Crusaders’ offense with a scoring average of 19 points a game and he has also dished out 53 assists. Davell Long is second on the team in scoring with a 10.6-points-per-game average while grabbing five rebounds per contest while AJ Newton has grabbed seven rebounds per game to lead Lutheran North in that category. The Crusaders have won a pair of state titles with the last one being back in 2005.
The quarterfinals in Classes Four through Six will take place this weekend as the boys will take the floor Friday night while the girls will play Saturday afternoon.
In Class 4 boys’ action, MICDS will take on Park Hills Central Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Jefferson College while Vashon will meet up with Lutheran St. Charles Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Lindenwood.
The Class 4 girls will see Lift for Life taking on Park Hills Central Saturday at noon at Jefferson College while Vashon will take on Moberly Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lindenwood.
Cardinal Ritter will kick off Class 5 boys action Friday evening as they will play Sikeston at Jefferson College starting at 6:15 p.m. In another Class 5 quarterfinal, Ladue will meet up with Westminster Friday at Lindenwood starting at 5:45 p.m.
The Class 5 girls will play Saturday with John Burroughs taking on Cape Notre Dame at Jefferson College starting at 1:45 p.m. while upstart Whitfield will play Lutheran St. Charles Saturday at 5:45 p.m. at Lindenwood.
The Class 6 boys will see Eureka playing Jackson Friday at Jefferson College starting at 8 p.m. while Chaminade Troy will hook up Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Lindenwood.
Incarnate Word will lead the Class 6 field as they will take on Troy Saturday at Lindenwood starting at 7:30 p.m. while Eureka will travel to Jefferson College to take on Jackson Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan