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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11:00 am

Ready or not, the 60th Annual St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Cola Thanksgiving Tournament is here and starts Wednesday night.

The four-day event, marking its 60th playing, will run through Saturday evening at the Ray DeGreeff Memorial Gymnasium.

Eight teams are playing in this year’s event, an increase of two from last season. That means the tournament will go back to being a full bracket with winners moving forward while losers are relegated to a consolation bracket.

Two first-round games are scheduled for Wednesday night with two more set for Thursday night.

Friday will feature all four second-round games while all four event finals are scheduled for Saturday.

There are four local teams and four St. Louis city or county teams in this year’s event.

The tournament features two defending state champions, three district winners and a conference champion in the field.

The tournament tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with top-seeded McCluer North taking on No. 8 seed St. Clair.

McCluer North-St. Clair

Randy Reed’s McCluer North squad comes into the event having won the past two Class 5 state championships. The Stars were 28-1 last season with the lone loss coming to Borgia in the championship of the 59th Annual St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Cola Thanksgiving Tournament.

“I expect, as every year, that we will be very good,” Reed said. “We have some size, athleticism and skills to be as good as last year.”

Hit hard by graduation, McCluer North receives a big pickup in transfer Rashad Lindsey, a 5-11 junior point guard who moves over from MICDS. He averaged 12.7 points for the Rams last season.

Other key returners include junior swing player Dorian Holland, junior point guard Jordan Boone, junior forward Chris Busbee and senior guard Terrance Bush.

The Stars last won the Turkey Tournament title in 2010.

St. Clair features a new coach and a veteran lineup.

The Bulldogs went 9-19 last season, but return most of their depth from last season.

Casey Korn, a Northwest High School graduate, takes over as St. Clair’s head coach this season.

“We have to shoot the ball better than we did last year and find a way to win close games,” Korn said. “I think we have a great chance to be competitive this season with eight returning seniors, four returning starters and two all-conference players returning. Most of our scoring is back and our key injury from last year is healthy this season.”

Seniors Neyko Dominguez, Adam Brott, Brandon York and Evan Murphy are returning starters. Dominguez and Brott were the team’s leading scorers at 14.8 and 9.9 points per game, respectively. York missed much of last season due to injury.

Reno Jones, a junior guard, is expected to be a key newcomer to the team this season.

The Bulldogs have never won a Turkey Tournament title, but have finished second five times, most recently in the 2007 Gold Division (the last year of two divisions) to Washington.

St. Clair also finished second to Borgia in the inaugural tournament in 1953

Ritter-Washington

Wednesday’s second game features a 7:30 p.m. start between tournament newcomer Cardinal Ritter, the fourth seed, and fifth-seeded Washington.

A team with a lot of basketball tradition, Cardinal Ritter is new to the Turkey Tournament this season.

The Lions have won six MSHSAA state titles and won their district this past season while going 21-6.

Head Coach Marvin Neals has coached Cardinal Ritter to four of those state championships and a runner-up finish during his career.

“We will be small, but competitive,” Neals said. “We feature a pressing and fastbreak style of basketball.”

Junior forward Charles Jones and sophomore point guard Jahmouri Robinson are top returning players.

Another player to watch is junior forward Sean Clancey.

Chip Sodemann’s Washington Blue Jays are seeded fifth for this year’s event.

Washington went 10-15 last season, but return four starters for this year’s squad.

“We are looking for a competitive season,” Sodemann said. “We play a tough schedule and hope to keep improving heading into district play.”

Luke Schroepfer, a 6-3 swing player who has signed with Colorado School of Mines, is one of the team’s top returning players.

Junior swing player Ronnie Suggs has played varsity ball since his freshman season. Junior guard Brad Carpenter had an impressive 2011 tournament from the perimeter.

Senior Jared Walde has starting experience inside the paint. Additionally Sodemann has others with considerable playing experience including senior guard Luke Hasenjaeger and senior forward Trevor Lampkin.

Thursday’s action starts at 6 p.m. with second-seeded Borgia playing seventh-seeded Carnahan School of the Future.

Borgia-Carnahan

The host Knights open the tournament against Carnahan at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Borgia went 22-6 last season, winning a district title. The Knights also are the defending Turkey Tournament winners.

“The group has a chance to be a very strong team,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier stated.

Three seniors with starting experience, guards Jordan Miller and John Baumstark and forward Casey Kuchem, are back this season. They will be supplemented by a number of others, including some with varsity experience and some who move up from last year’s JV team.

Neier said the Knights will be a little smaller than last season with the tallest player being 6-5, but will have a solid squad.

Borgia has won a Turkey Tournament title 29 times, including last year over McCluer North, 48-46, and the first-ever tournament in 1953 over St. Clair, 48-39.

Neier is two wins away from reaching 600 victories for his career. The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association hall of fame member has won all of his head coaching victories at Borgia, his alma mater.

Carnahan School of the Future, the seventh seed, returns after a one-year hiatus.

The Cougars were 14-8 in 2011-12, including going 7-2 in the Public High League in St. Louis.

Head Coach Jonathan Griffin expects big things from his team this season.

“I believe my team can go all the way to state,” Griffin said. “The state of mind is we must work hard and intelligent every day when we get an opportunity.”

After upsetting Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Carnahan lost to Cardinal Ritter in the district championship game.

Griffin feels Steven Baynham, Kendall Brinson, Raymond Holmes, Matt Dobson, Imani Reid, Trevor Roberts, Dejon Shelton and Eric Williams are players who should lead the team. Of those Reid, Roberts and Baynham are expected to be key players.

“In comparison to last year’s team, I believe this team has a chance to be deeper and more talented,” Griffin said. “The reason is because we should have a rotation of players who can come in and have immediate impact off the bench. I believe because I have a year under my belt, I can prepare these players even better than I did last year.”

Brinson, Martez Joseph, Kortez Nobles, Emmanuel Primer and Mico Polk are newcomers expected to make an impact.

Christian-Pacific

St. Louis Christian (not to be confused with Archdiocesan Athletic Association member O’Fallon Christian) enters the tournament as a two-time Missouri Christian Schools Athletic Association state champion.

The Cougars were 19-11 last season while playing as a MSHSAA affiliate member. That included the consolation title at the Owensville Tournament.

Casey Autenrieth, a Christian graduate, is the team’s head coach.

“Our team this year is young,” Autenrieth said. “We have a lot of size and athleticism that I think if we can harness in the right way, will pay off as we get into the meat of our schedule. I expect to see a lot of growth from our young guys. We will play hard on both ends of the court. As they get more comfortable with each other and our system, I expect us to be a real force. We will need to be as our schedule has us going up against some of the top teams in the nation. Our hope is we can compete at the level we know we are capable.”

His team returns one starter, senior guard James Keaton.

Junior center Ikenna Okwanzarbi, senior forward Javier Martinez, sophomore forward Anthony Pratt and freshman point guard Jehvaun Faulder are players expected to step up this season.

Christian faces a team it didn’t see at the Owensville Tournament last year, event champion Pacific, in the first round at Borgia.

Pacific, last year’s Four Rivers Conference champion, is looking to improve upon last season’s 17-9 record.

The Indians are led by veteran Head Coach John VanLeer, who also played in the Turkey Tournament as a member of the Union Wildcats.

“We will be fairly athletic,” said VanLeer. “We should be a good defensive team that can score in a variety of ways.”

Pacific returns three varsity starters in 6-2 sophomore point guard Cullen VanLeer, 6-3 senior forward Zeth Boyer and 6-2 junior forward Jeffrey Hinkle.

VanLeer is expected to be the point of attack again. He led the Indians in scoring last year and made the all-tournament team at Borgia as a freshman.

Players expected to make bigger contributions this year include senior guards Neil DeBold and Brendan Jett-Kell and juniors Logan Armstrong, Tanner Brown and Zach Kraus. Armstrong is a forward and the other two are guards.

/

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

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