The holiday tournament season is over, and many teams emerged as squads to watch as we turn the calendar to 2023. There were a few surprises along the way last week as a pair of teams came away with titles while the winning streak on the girls’ side of basketball continued to roll on.
Time to get caught up on a busy week of hoops in today’s edition of the Monday Morning Wrap-Up.
The Don Maurer Holiday Invitational at MICDS featured a loaded field and Kirkwood came out of the field to win the title with a 52-44 victory over the top-seeded host Rams. The victory improved the Pioneers to 8-0 on the year. The No.3 seed is undefeated for the first time in many years under first-year head coach Sam Briscoe. With the tournament having to push back the start a few days due to weather, Kirkwood needed to win four games in five days and did it by racing out to an early lead and never looking back. Aidan Trawick paced the Pioneer attack with 17 points while Kellen Rhimes added 11 markers for Kirkwood in the win. One of the highlights of the tournament is the game that the West County Special Olympic players put on between the semifinal games and it did not disappoint. All of the proceeds from the Holiday Classic go towards Special Olympics.
At the Coaches vs Cancer Classic at Maryville University, No. 13 Lafayette stunned the area in winning the title over No. 2 seed Columbia Hickman 48-38 this past Friday evening. The Lancers entered the tournament with a 1-6 record and won four games in four days to improve their record to 5-6 on the year. In a game that was close throughout, Lafayette broke the game open in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Kewpies 17-8 to claim the title. Matt Haefner led Lafayette with 15 points while Cooper Williams added eight points in the win for the Lancers. The tournament is special as it continues to honor the organization that former Missouri Hall of Fame head coach Norm Stewart started over 30 years ago with all of the proceeds going to cancer research here in the St. Louis area.
On the girls’ side of action last week, Incarnate Word continued to roll as the Red Knights won their 75th consecutive game by taking the Visitation Holiday Classic title with a 64-37 victory over No. 2 seed John Burroughs. The top-seeded Red Knights led 16-8 after the first quarter and used their pressure defense to extend the lead to 32-18 at the break en route to the win. Nebraska recruit Natalie Potts paced the IWA attack with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Naveah Caffey chipped in with 11 markers in the win.
On the Illinois side, the Alton girls’ hoops team is making a lot of noise in the early season and showed many that they are a team to watch as the Redbirds defeated O’Fallon 52-51 in the title game of the Mascoutah tournament. After the Panthers grabbed an 18-11 lead in the first quarter, Alton battled back to take a 26-25 advantage at the half. The Redbirds extended the lead to 44-37 at the end of three quarters and held off an O’Fallon comeback effort in the final stanza to claim the tourney title. Alyssa Lewis led the way for the Redbirds with 15 points with Jarius Powers adding 12 markers and grabbing 10 boards to help Alton remain undefeated at 15-0 on the year.
This week will see another very good girls’ tournament take place as John Burroughs will host their annual get-together as they are the top seed while Visitation is the No. 2 seed. The Vivettes are coming off an outstanding showing at their tournament and will open play Monday afternoon against Rosati-Kain while the top-seeded Bombers will take on McCluer North to open tourney play Monday evening.
Lutheran South will also host its annual girls’ tournament as the Lancers will welcome Webster Groves, Parkway Central, Herculaneum, Washington, Union, and Fort Zumwalt West to their gym for a round-robin tournament starting Tuesday.
On the boys’ side of action on the hardwood, many teams will open conference action this week after all of the tournament action last week.
Many of the top wrestling teams will be in tournament action this weekend as CBC will host the All-Catholic Duals while Vianney will play host to its annual tournament.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan