District 5 – Fort Zumwalt West, Francis Howell, Holt, Timberland, *Troy
Much like district 1, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch these teams this year, with the exception of fifth seeded Troy. I could try to throw together some poorly written, uneducated preview of these teams, but it would be just that. District 5 is the weakest district by record of any in the state. I’m forced to assume that Zumwalt West is the favorite given that they are the one seed. Look for the Jaguars to advance to the sectional round.
Winner: Fort Zumwalt West
District 6 – Fort Zumwalt South, Fort Zumwalt North, Francis Howell North, Francis Howell Central, *Fort Zumwalt East
This is a very interesting district. A two horse race between district rivals Zumwalt South (20-4) and Zumwalt North (16-8), look forward to a competitive championship. The two teams met twice in the regular season, splitting the series. On February 6th, South walked away with a 72-67 victory, behind a 26 point performance from their leading scorer Preston Whitfield. However, North got their revenge on February 21st, winning a tight one 58-55. Whitfield was held to his season average of 19 in that contest, while brothers Chaz and Zach Glotta combined for 35.
The Glotta brothers will be the difference in the game in the rematch. On the season they combine to average nearly 40 points/game. If allowed to reach that mark in the district finals, North will surely come away with a victory. The other question is how much Marshawn Blackmon (15 ppg) and the rest of South’s supporting cast can step up around Whitfield. In South’s victory over North, the supporting cast scored 46 points, compared to only 36 in their loss. The Glotta’s scoring ability, and North’s prowess from long range will eventually be too much though, and the Panthers should come away with a victory.
Winner: Fort Zumwalt North
Players to Watch: Chaz Glotta (Zumwalt North), Preston Whitfield (Zumwalt South), James Gleeson (Howell North)
District 7 – *Hazelwood Central, McCluer North, Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West, McCluer
Year after year, this district is one of the most competitive in the state and this year should be no different. Ultra talented Hazelwood Central (21-5) should be considered the favorite, but also has a history of postseason failure under highly scrutinized coach Josh Martin. Central is loaded with size, and has plenty of talented guard play to match. There is no “star” on the court for the Hawks, there are five of them.
On the contrary, the Hawks biggest competition, the McCluer North Stars (18-7), feature one of the top “stars” in the area (pun intended). Rashad Lindsey averages over 21 points/game for North, and has fellow double digit scorer Demarco Owens helping him out. The Stars fell to Central by 6 earlier in the season, but this is the post season. If history tells us anything it’s that North is a force to be reckoned with come March while Central will likely underachieve. History repeats itself, which is why I have the Stars advancing to the sectional round.
Winner: McCluer North
Players to Watch: Rashad Lindsey (McCluer North), Jimmy Jones (Hazelwood East), Xavier Sneed (Hazelwood Central)
District 8 – Chaminade, Ladue, *SLUH, Ritenour, Riverview Gardens
If you have paid any sort of attention to high school hoops over the past two years, you’ve heard the name time and time again. Jayson Tatum is the best player in the state of Missouri, and one of the best in the country, making Chaminade (23-2) a heavy favorite. Tatum’s stat line is awe inspiring averaging 26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals per game while playing the point guard position at a towering 6’7. Grant Hollander, Mike Lewis, Damon Patterson, and Tyler Cook round the most complete team in the area. Losing only to CBC and McCluer North, there may be no stopping the Red Devils of Chaminade.
That is not to say that this district isn’t full of talent because it is. Ladue (21-4) is as entertaining and talented a team as you could ask for. Senior point guard Cornell Johnston is an absolute pleasure to watch. Short in stature (5’7) but certainly not in talent (17 points, 9.8 assists, 3 steals per game), Johnston put Tatum and Chaminade on the ropes in last year’s district final. Andrew Maddock averages just under 12 points and 10 rebounds per game to help out Cornell. SLUH (15-11) has been plagued by a tough schedule that they hope has prepared them for a run into the postseason. Austin Sottile (17 ppg) will try to carry SLUH into the sectional round, but it will be a daunting task having gone 0-4 combined against Ladue and Chaminade this year.
Players to Watch: Jayson Tatum (Chaminade), Cornell Johnston (Ladue), Austin Sottile (SLUH)
Strap in hoops fans, the postseason is filled with talent. I will be making my way down to SLUH on Tuesday night for the District 8 semifinals and will hopefully have a recap, as always thanks for reading.
It’s not crazy, it’s sports