On Wednesday, I returned to MICDS for the second day of its holiday basketball tournament. I took in two more girls games and four boys games.
The day opened with a girls’ game between St. Charles and Westminster. St. Charles jumped on top early and raced to a 72-40 victory to improve its record to 8-2. The Pirates were led by senior guard Alexa Chairs, who scored a game-high 20 points. The 5’8″ Chairs is a strong guard who can handle the ball and get buckets. Very impressive. The Pirates also got 16 points and eight rebounds from senior forward Gabby Walker. The 6’0″ Walker is an excellent low post player who has already signed with Lindenwood University. As an alum of LU, that pleases me. Gabby has been a standout at St. Charles since her freshman year. Good get Tony.
In the second game, Whitfield defeated Pattonville 66-58 to run its record to 7-0. Coach Mike Slater has one heck of a young basketball team at Whitfield. In 6’0″ freshman Aijha Blackwell, she has a bonafide young star. Blackwell had 20 points, 13 rebounds and played a lot of point guard throughout the day. Her game is poised, polished and very advanced. I have heard a lot about her coming up through the ranks, but this was my first chance to see her live. Count me in as very impressed. I also liked the play of 5’10” sophomore Taylor Lawson-Hicks, who added 18 points and displayed scoring from 3-point range and off the bounce. She led Whitfield to a district title as a freshman last season. Another youngster who impressed was 5’9″ freshman Nia Griffin, who scored 15 points.
I have to give credit to Pattonville’s girls. At one point, they were trailing by 29 points in the third quarter and it looked very likely that there would be a running clock in the fourth quarter. Instead, the Pirates fought all the way back and cut the lead to six points late in the game. I was like, Wow. Pattonville also had some nice young players in freshman Niya Danfort and sophomore Tyra Brown. The 5’2″ Danfort scored 17 points while the 5’7″ Brown added 13 points.
The first boys game of the afternoon featured No. 2 seed Pattonville against Clayton. The Pirates advanced with a 71-61 victory over a game Clayton squad. The Pirates were led by 6’5″ junior forward Richard Henderson’s 25 points. One of the most explosive players in the area, Henderson (pictured) dominated the action in the paint, which included five dunks. Richard plays big. Very big. Junior guard Destan Williams added 16 points and displayed some all-around excellent point guard play, as he always does. More offense came from 6’4″ senior wing Jerrid Crosby, who scored 15 points. Crosby is a nice slashing wing player who can also shoot the 3-pointer.
Clayton did a nice job of hanging around thanks to its 3-point shooting. New coach Blake Ahearn has done a nice job of getting his kids to play hard and buying in to executing a game-plan. The victories are not there yet, but watch out down the road. Senior guard Josh Johnson scored 19 points in what was one of his best games of the season. The 6’0″ Johnson did a nice job attacking the basket and finishing. Guards Robert Hogan and Ben Littiken combined for 19 points and did a nice job shooting the 3-pointer.
In Game 2, Parkway Central took on Duchesne in a battle of two of the top physical point guards in Duchesne’s Ryan Briscoe and Parkway Central’s DeAndre Campbell. Parkway Central took a hard-fought 61-57 decision and both guards did not disappoint. Briscoe scored a game-high 25 points while Campbell scored 20 points. Both are very good for their teams on so many levels. The X factor of this game was sophomore forward Arther Green, who scored a career-high 21 points to lead Parkway Central. The 6’3″ Green scored 15 points in the second half and dominated inside with his activity and athleticism. He also nailed a couple of 3-pointers in the second half. It was an excellent performance. I must also toss come credit to senior forward Josh Konecek of Parkway Central, who came through with three great hustle plays, including two steals in the closing seconds to help preserve the victory. Duchesne has pair of promising 6’5″ sophomore forwards in Luke Lowenstein and Adam Moore. Lowenstein is a good low-post player while Moore is a stretch 4 who can knock down 3-pointers.
In Game 3, third-seeded Francis Howell had little trouble with Brentwood in coasting to a 77-40 victory. The Vikings raced to an early 18-2 lead and never looked back. Much of the early damage was done by 6’7″ senior forward Zach Bush, who finished with 17 points. Bush scored early and often in the paint for the Vikings. Senior forward Brett Elifritz added 15 points. The 6’5″ Elifritz is a fine all-purposed player who excels in many parts of the game. The Vikings are big and experienced and could accomplish some special things, not only in this tournament, but beyond.
The young Brentwood team had a couple of good young players in freshman Jordan Tate and Cade Jones. Tate is a slender 6’2″ wing who scored 12 points while the 6’2″ Jones has some knock-down ability from 3-point range. Junior guard Skylar Sappington checked in with 10 points. Sappington was the quarterback of Brentwood’s very good football team.
The finale provided the most drama as Parkway South defeated host MICDS 62-59. The Patriots led from start to finish and actually had an eight-point lead in the last two minutes before MICDS rallied to nearly pull it out. The Rams had two chances to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds, but could not get off a shot. The Patriots built an advantage throughout the game with its good ball movement and 3-point shooting. They ended up making nine 3-pointers.
Junior guard Connor McArthy led the Patriots with 16 points. McArthy is a solid floor leader who can really shoot the basketball and he does not make a lot of mistakes. His two older brothers were also excellent high school guards and Connor is following in that tradition. Junior guard Turner Weiss scored 14 points as he forms a good backcourt with McArthy. Sophomore forward A.J. Somer came through with 15 points. The 6’3″ Somer nailed three 3-pointers off the catch and also snared some key offensive rebounds. Another sophomore who played well was 6’5″ forward Jack Mullen, who scored eight points. Mullen is showing gradual improvement as a young post player.
MICDS was led by its dynamic duo of junior Alec Spence and sophomore Dominic Mitchell. The 6’5″ Spence scored a game-high 26 points as he displayed offense from all three levels. He can really scored. The 6’3″ Mitchell added 21 points, many coming on his old-school moves in the post and crafty drives to the basket. Sophomore point guard Austin Thompson added five points and a game-high seven assists, including a few highlight reel alley-oop passes to Spence for some crowd-pleasing dunks.
The quarterfinals for the MICDS Tournament are now set for Saturday with Ladue vs. St. Mary’s at 3:30 p.m.; Whitfield vs. Westminster at 5 p.m., Pattonville vs. Parkway Central at 6:30 and Francis Howell vs. Parkway South at 8 p.m. The girls semifinals will be next Tuesday with MICDS vs. Lafayette at 3 p.m. and St. Charles vs. Whitfield at 4:30. That should be a good one.
There were more good eats in the hospitality room. We had some very good pasta-broccoli dish that highlighted the menu. After two days of good grub, I’d give the MICDS Hospitality Room a four-basketball rating.
Overall, a good two days of hoops to begin the holiday season. The policy change may have yielded unintended effects, according to researchers from the consortium on https://homework-writer.com chicago school research, based at the university of chicago