Part of the lure of working in the sports journalism world is seeing the “moments.”
You know they’re special when they happen. Usually they’re not milestones or huge events. A lot of times, it’s the pleasure of seeing the unexpected or unusual happen.
This past weekend, I got to see two of those things take place.
Nobody knew how long it’s been since Warrenton won a boys basketball tournament title (seems the answer is Feb. 1, 2003), but the next time that question’s asked, the answer will be Jan. 5, 2013.
Warrenton overcame an 8-0 deficit to start the game on the way to beating Silex for the Clopton Tournament championship, 66-47.
Paced by the unstoppable TJ LaFaver (28 points), the Warriors turned the early deficit into an insurmountable advantage.
LaFaver hit four three-point baskets in quick succession to help Warrenton grab the lead. When the Warriors were looking to protect it, LaFaver went to the hoop with authority. Silex had no answer for him. Even after dragging him to the floor on a foul, LaFaver still got back up and hit free throws. He capped the performance with a one-handed dunk.
Another one of those moments came Sunday afternoon in St. Peters.
The MSVB Tournament, a 16s event, isn’t one of the big ones for St. Louis area club volleyball (St. Louis Power League has the big teams), but it yielded a huge moment for Washington-based Show Me Volleyball Academy.
The club is only in its second season and has just two teams, an increase from one last season. The 16 Royal team is the program’s second squad and was in its first event of the season.
The team, coached by Christin Hunt and Sam Walch (Warrenton, East Central College) features three Borgia players with Jordan Kriete, Allie Marquart and Maddie Toelke on the roster. During action, the team didn’t drop a single set while reaching the finals.
In the title match, SMVA 16 Royal faced H2 16 Cardinal, a much taller team. One could say that the H2 squad was intimidating. The girls communicated at the net in authoritative style. One knew they were there to win.
The first game went easily for H2 in a 25-15 win. SMVA 16 Royal struggled against the bigger block and taller hitters. Just when you thought it was over, something changed in the second game.
SMVA 16 Royal started to counter the advantages. Forced to adapt under pressure, the smaller team started to find openings in the H2 defense. Once the score increased in favor of SMVA, the chatter ceased from the other side of the court. At that point the psychological advantage was gone.
SMVA won the second game, 25-18, and had the edge at the side switch in the third game, 8-4.
H2 wasn’t done. It rallied to cut the gap to 12-11, but SMVA finished it out with a 15-12 victory to claim the title.
The three locals played key roles in the win. Kriete had five kills, two aces, two digs and a block. Marquart led the team with seven digs. Toelke was the assists leader with 13 while adding an ace.
Serving proved to be a key. SMVA recorded nine aces to one error. And despite a height disadvantage, the team stepped up to find ways to block and attack successfully.
Rachel Waller (Westminster Christian) recorded 11 kills while Katrina Aliano (Eureka) added eight from the edge. In the middle, Molly Fox (Marquette) recorded six solo blocks and two block assists. Libero Claire Harman (Lafayette) served four aces. Waller had two aces and five assists.
And the other two players, Ashley Nickolaison (Francis Howell) and Bailey Fischer (Timberland) made contributions which led to the victory.
It will be very interesting to see how this team comes together for the rest of the season.
As mentioned earlier, the St. Louis Power League is taking place with a lot of area players involved. It was nice to see several at Lafayette High School Sunday for the 18s event. I’m sure I’ll have the chance to pass along their good accomplishments as the season progresses.
One of those moments I wasn’t able to see, but wish I would have witnessed, came Friday night at Rosati-Kain. Borgia’s girls basketball team picked up a big win over the Kougars in Archdiocesan Athletic Association competition, 60-47.
Borgia received 48 points from a trio of girls who had played for the volleyball Lady Knights and lost there while playing in front of a large, loud home crowd. And a similar experience was in store for the Borgia girls basketball squad.
Those three, Janie Arand, Molly Arand and Katie Lindemann, combined to outscore Rosati-Kain by themselves, netting 48 points.
In overcoming a hostile road situation and avenging a past loss, this qualifies as one of those memorable moments.
Whether that’s the moment which propels Borgia to greatness for the rest of the season, or just ends up being a highlight of the season remains to be seen.