On Monday night, I made my annual trek out to Washington, Mo. to take in the first night of action at the Pepsi St. Francis Borgia Thanksgiving Tournament. The Turkey Tourney has been going strong for 63 years now.
In the first game, McCluer North took on Washington. The Stars are in a bit of rebuilding stage, but they still had a strong group of athletes that were on display as they overwhelmed Washington 64-40. The Blue Jays hung around for a quarter, but McCluer North blew it open with a 17-0 run to begin the second quarter with its pressure defense.
McCluer North was led in scoring by 6’3″ senior Harry Ballard with 23 points. A Division I football recruit, Ballard is playing basketball this season after not playing in 2015. One of the top athletes in the area, Ballard dominated the game with his mid-range shooting and slashing, making seven of eight from the field in the first half to score 14 of his 23 points. Ballard got plenty of help inside from 6’4″ junior Cameron Lockett, who scored 17 points. Senior forward Urics King added nine points. The 6’6″ King displayed some nifty passing skills in the second half.
Washington was led by 6’1″ senior guard Isaiah West’s 16 points. West is a nifty guard who can handle the ball and take it to the basket with a number of creative drives. I liked him.
Cardinal Ritter took on Normandy in the second game of the evening. The bigger, more athletic Ritter squad was the heavy favorite, but someone forgot to tell Normandy, who used its quickness to scrap to an early eight-point lead. The smaller Vikings just outplayed and outhustled Cardinal Ritter for much of the first half and trailed just 32-27 at the halftime. Normandy employed a sagging 2-3 zone defense to take away Ritter’s 6’7″ senior Brandon Jackson. The zone and overall scrappy play of Normandy worked for much of the half as they stayed competitive.
The second half was a different story as Ritter’s size, athleticism and pressure defense came to the forefront as it came away with a 78-57 victory. The Lions created turnovers and wowed the audience with several crowd-pleasing dunks along the way. Senior guard Sterling Wooten (pictured) enjoyed an excellent all-around performance with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The 6’3″ Wooten has developed throughout his career and should have a big breakout senior year. His performance on Monday night was a small taste of what he should do all season. Ritter also got 18 points from 6’2″ senior Alvin Thompson. One of the top athletes in town, Thompson is a state champion jumper in track and field. He displayed that boing boing with a spectacular full court rush with a tomahawk dunk on the end. After a scoreless first half, Jackson finished with 10 points, including three impressive dunks.
Normandy was led by sophomore Lorenz Hamilton with 12 points. The 5’7″ Hamilton is a crafty ball handler who did a nice job scoring in the lane and in transition. Junior guard Christian Binder added eight points for the Vikings. Very impressed with how hard Normandy played throughout the game. They should gain some reinforcements in January when they get some bigger kids eligible.
In the finale, the host Borgia Knights took on Fatima High from Mid-Missouri. Fatima played competitive basketball with the Knights for a half as they trailed 37-31, but Borgia broke it open in the second half to take an 85-58 victory. In the first half, Fatima employed a triangle and two defense in which they matched up with Borgia standouts Walton Eckelkamp and Luke Deline man to man while the other three Comets players were in a zone. The defense was effective as it held Eckelkamp and Deline to a combined seven points in the first half. But, in the words of Shaquille O’Neal, “The Others” stepped up big for Borgia as junior center Alex Movilla and senior point guard Jack Hellebusch got to eat.
The 6’7″ Movilla found many openings inside to score a game-high 21 points. The 5’7″ Hellebusch, a soccer standout, found the openings on the perimeter much to his liking as he scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Junior guard Gus Kleekamp added 10 points.
Despite the loss, I liked what I saw from Fatima. They have a nice senior forward in Nolan Huot, a 6’4″ shooter who scored 17 points. Huot was cold from the field early, but he started to find the range late in the first half. He can score. Senior guard Will Robinson scored 14 points, including 10 in the first quarter. Robinson is a strong 6’3″ senior lefty who can get to the basket with nice moves off the dribble. He is a baseball standout who is headed to Creighton. Senior forward James Rakestraw added 11 points. He is a solid 6’5″ post.
I enjoyed some solid eats in the hospitality room. On opening night, you could get some pizza and pasta, plus some nice pastries, including cookies and pies. Overall, it was a good first night at Borgia. Saw many of the basketball regulars in the house, including Ronald “Mr. G” Golden, Tom “Swish” Meyer and former area basketball coach Dennis Kruse. Did not see my man Squeaky at the game. I usually see him every time I get to Borgia. I always enjoyed getting out to Borgia to open the season. The folks treat me very well out there and I always have a good time. Also be sure to check out civilization iv the complete https://www.topspying.com edition for $39