By this time, I’m certain many of you have finally run out of Thanksgiving leftovers.
I’m down to cranberry sauce, but only because I ended up with a good portion of it following the family meal.
But this isn’t about those leftovers.
It’s about the final conversation concerning this year’s 66th Annual St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Tournament.
Host Borgia won the eight-team boys basketball tournament over Pacific Saturday night, 49-37. While the championship game wasn’t as high scoring or as exciting as some of the other games, it did serve to cap off a pretty good event.
Nobody would blame Borgia or Pacific for being tired. Borgia survived an overtime game against Normandy, getting the tying three-point basket from Trent Strubberg late in overtime. Strubberg then intercepted a long inbounds pass and hit a shot from past the half-court stripe to give Borgia the win.
The shot ranks up there with Josh Hotz’s game winner against Charleston in the 1995 Class 3A quarterfinals and was a much longer score.
As Trent told Arron Hustead of our staff, “Apparently, it’s going down in Borgia history.”
Pacific went even longer, needing double overtime to beat Ft. Zumwalt North in the other semifinal game.
A common theme between Pacific and Borgia is pride in the traditions. It doesn’t matter how many outstanding players graduate, the next group is always ready to step up and take their place. That’s a credit to the kids for working so hard to prepare and the coaches for overseeing that preparation.
The two teams which played for third place, Normandy and Ft. Zumwalt North, were the surprise teams. They were rated fifth and sixth, respectively, coming into the event and they pushed the top teams to the limit.
This was the best Normandy team we’ve seen at the Turkey Tournament and the Vikings displayed a measure of discipline as well as hard work and hot shooting. Normandy easily was the deepest team in the tournament and got it done as a group.
Mike Uffmann’s team drove by his parents’ house on the way to the game. The Washington High School graduate who grew up just down the road from Borgia also had depth on his team. It was very difficult to select the all-tournament picks for the Panthers.
I think Union and Washington both showed growth during the tournament. Union has all five starters back this season, but struggled early in the tournament. Washington had trouble finding guards to handle Normandy’s pressure, but seems to have good depth following the tournament.
The final two teams, Owensville and North Tech, will need a little longer to come together. The Dutchmen were seeded eighth and played well enough to take home seventh. Owensville has some nice outside shooters and could upset someone in the Four Rivers Conference if it keeps improving.
North Tech had good runs in games, but needs to be more consistent.
You can find the all-tournament team elsewhere in this section. There were several others deserving of recognition as well.
Alex Brinkmann averaged just under 10 points per game for the champions while doing a lot of other things necessary for a team to have success. He averaged seven rebounds, two assists and 1.7 steals per game during the tournament.
Max Meyers did a lot of the ballhandling and was only listed with two turnovers during the three games. He also was a defensive thorn in the side of opposing teams.
Pacific’s Dylan Myers, James Iliff and Jacob Sauvage were solid performers.
Myers averaged nine points per game as well as 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Sauvage dished out three assists per game along with 6.3 points, three rebounds and one steal per contest. Iliff averaged seven points per game and was a capable outside scoring threat.
Mujtaba Alkhaldi of Ft. Zumwalt North was a force in the middle. He made a massive difference especially in the Union game in helping the Panthers to stun Union in the opener. Alkhaldi was able to grab a number of offensive rebounds and put back the shots for points at crucial times during the game.
The Panthers have some other good players and sophomore KJ Lee could be one to watch in the future. The thing which impressed me about the team is that the players filled their roles and that’s what’s necessary for a positive season.
Normandy had so many players contribute to the team’s success that it would be hard to select another one. Freshman Jamod Robinson was mentioned in discussions however.
Union’s Jacob Towell was solid when he got the ball and his teammate, Wil Strubberg, got better as the event went on.
Washington’s Brigham Broadbent stepped up and helped to carry the load at a crucial time, something which showed maturity beyond his sophomore status.
Justin Garner showed he’s going to be a force for Owensville. At 6-4 with good shooting range, he’s going to be a mismatch for many teams.
Bryson Fraction, who wore a whole number, should be a positive for North Tech moving forward.
And that’s what we’ll do with the winter season, even though not all of the fall has been concluded.
You could call it the Warson War.
Of all of the Class 4 football teams across the state, the title will be determined by two schools just a mile and a half apart.
Ladue and MICDS share Warson Road as an address and they share Rams as their mascot. My nephew has to go past the latter to get to the former school. What are the odds this matchup would happen for the state title?
It’s too bad MSHSAA is making them go to Columbia to determine the title. Why not just move this one to the Dome at America’s Center? Heck, make it a doubleheader with the Class 3 game which pits Trinity Catholic against Cardinal Ritter. Those schools used to be in the same division of the Archdiocesan Athletic Association before this season.
I think the fans would be much happier with the game indoors rather than out in the conditions which seem to change by the hour these days.
It’s refreshing that there are going to be all-St. Louis area matchups for the state titles in two classes. But, is that what should be happening? Should two teams less than two miles apart be headed in different directions for the state playoffs?
There’s certain to be grumbling and I would expect it to be from those on the western side of the state. They enjoyed a nearly exclusive run in Class 4 with Webb City leading the way. Ladue had to go through Webb City and won there. Not many teams have done that in the last 20-plus years. The Ladue Rams also shut out West Plains, a team many considered to be a prime contender.
I don’t know much about Smithville, the team MICDS beat to reach the title contest, but they were solid. The same can be said for the team MICDS beat in the quarterfinals, Hannibal. The Pirates knocked out Ft. Zumwalt North and that was quite an accomplishment.
No matter what happens, there really needs to be a look at the MSHSAA gerrymandering which pit local rivals against each other in state title games rather than at the district level. There really can’t be an excuse for sending schools that close together to opposite ends of the state.