High school basketball in our area is over.
The season ended Saturday for our three remaining teams, Borgia’s boys and New Haven’s and Sullivan’s girls.
It was an impressive second half of the season for the Knights. They got hot at the Washington Tournament in the middle of January.
After losing in the first round to Howell Central, the light seemed to turn on. Borgia went 14-3 for the remainder of the season.
The Knights found ways to win games. St. Clair had them on the ropes in the district semifinals, but they pulled through.
Jordan Miller had a memorable buzzer beater to defeat Hillcrest in the sectional round.
Borgia trailed Republic by just one point after three quarters in the quarterfinal game, but a return trip to Columbia wasn’t meant to be.
Sullivan’s girls played good basketball throughout the season, finishing with just five losses.
For the second time this school year, Webb City stopped Sullivan in the Class 4 state quarterfinals, which also happened during the football campaign.
The two schools won’t meet in the baseball playoffs. Webb City is Class 5. Sullivan is Class 4.
New Haven’s girls lost to Crane, falling in the Class 2 state championship game for the second straight season.
Plenty of tears were shed after the game, but playing for a state title in two straight years is an incredible accomplishment.
Most high school basketball players never win a district championship, or even play in a district championship game, much less get a chance to play in a state championship contest two years in a row.
The Lady Shamrocks were more determined to win state this year. And they’ll be shooting for a third straight appearance next season.
“I definitely had more desire,” said New Haven junior guard Rachel Steinhoff. “It kind of eats away at you. Since last year, every day you’re thinking I want to get back there. And we did, and I’m proud of that. I’m glad I have another year. It’s going to be the same thing trying to get back.”
Steinhoff, the daughter of Ray Steinhoff (New Haven Boys Basketball Coach and Athletic Director), will be a determined player next season as a senior.
“My dad has won state three times in basketball and my brother (Ryan) won under my dad. I don’t want to miss out on that,” she said. “He’s proud. He’s happy I get to experience this. He knows how much I want it. He’s a nervous parent, that’s for sure. He said it’s harder to be a parent than to be a coach.”
The Lady Shamrocks, who always are battle-tested by playing in the Four Rivers Conference, had another memorable postseason.
“The Neelyville game (quarterfinals) was a really exciting game,” said New Haven senior Kierstin Monzyk. “When we played that game, I thought there was no way we’d face anyone better. But we came here and saw Crane.”
Not to be overlooked is St. James’ girls, who capture third-placed honors in Class 3 with a win Friday over North Tech.
The Class 4-5 boys and girls state tournament takes place this weekend in Columbia.
My prediction for state champions are Sikeston’s boys and Incarnate Word’s girls in Class 4 and DeSmet’s boys and Rock Bridge’s girls in Class 5.
The brackets for the NCAA Tournament will be unveiled Sunday.
Thankfully, Mizzou doesn’t have any more road games. Hopefully the Tigers will play better on neutral courts.
Phil Pressey is a good player and I hope he returns to Mizzou for his senior season. But by the way he’s performed at the end of some games, I’m sure there are some MU fans that hope he enters the NBA Draft.
I’m calling it right now. Mizzou will play either Kansas or Saint Louis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
What a season it’s been for the Billikens, who are the outright Atlantic 10 regular season champions and the top seed for this week’s conference tournament.
It’s a fitting tribute to their former coach, the late Rick Majerus.
The Billikens have a real shot to do some major damage in the NCAA Tournament.
Other teams I like to make a tournament run are Gonzaga, Duke, Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan State and Oklahoma State.
Teams that could exit earlier than expected are Indiana, Michigan, Miami, Kansas, Ohio State and Syracuse.