Monday, April 23, 2007

Missouri High School State Championship Preview

Being held in St. Louis again this year, the Missouri HS State Championship promises some pretty big question-marks and potential upsets. The braggin' rights are there for the taking this year, and it's my humble opinion that at least 3 teams have a legitimate shot to walk away as champion. There are a few out-of-state teams competing too, but we think we've found a way to give them some good games and still determine a clear State Champion.

Read below for an update/preview on the competition heating up out here in the heartland.

Lexington (1)—At 12-2-1, with lots of traveling and tournament experience, Lexington enters as the top seed in the tournament. Word is that they throw before school EVERY DAY. I saw them play a couple of years ago, and their handling on the field supports this rumor. Easily the #1 seed—no brainer. It’s a pleasure to host them for this tournament; they should be fun to watch.

CULT & Team ILL. (2 & 3, respectively)—Little is known about these teams, but they’re traveling from Minnesota and Illinois, respectively, and in our experience, these traveling teams generally perform better than local HS league teams. One tidbit, Team ILL appears to be a local HS league All-Star team. Should be fun to see how they fare against Lexington.

Desmet Jesuit (4)—Undefeated in the first six weeks of the St. Louis HS Spring League, Desmet is the favorite for the state championship this year. Last year, they settled for second, so look for them to get even hungrier in the tournament this year. Desmet brings intensity and an extremely streamlined offense to the field. I predict that they’ll dominate the rest of the state teams, as they have in the league this year. Yes, even Rockhurst. Pete's boys are playing VERY well right now.

Alacron (a.k.a. Rockhurst) (5)—Losing their school sponsorship has not prevented Rockhurst from attending Westerns this year, and they will very likely still be a force with which to be reckoned. They slid from dominance last year but still finished 3rd when Marquette refused to play the 3rd place match. Apparently, there were some pretty intense conflicts on the field and certain players’ spirit was called into question (on both sides of the disc). Personally, I’m hoping this year goes more smoothly for them. IMO, they’ve always been fun to play and always bring a skilled bunch of players.

SLUH (6)—Like Desmet, SLUH went undefeated in their division of St. Louis HS League play. I know very little about them, actually. I only saw them play our JV team, and they had about nine guys, some of who seemed to be wearing cargo pants and Doc Martens. But . . . 6-and-0 is 6-and-0, even if you’re wearing a chicken suit. I’ll be very interested to see how they match up against North Division leaders Desmet & Priory (who they haven't yet played this year), not to mention cross-state rivals Rockhurst.

Priory (7)—The Jeromans took their only loss this year from Desmet, and the score was 15-10. My preseason comments about their team were a bit off. Yes, they ARE a bunch of 6-foot Amazon giants. Yes, nearly every player on the team can handle pretty well. Yes, they fly around the field and layout with reckless abandon. But NO, they do not lack the knowledge of the game that I had supposed they lacked. A teacher at the school who also plays has taken them under his wing, and they have a whole new bag of tricks now. They still appear to rely on their athleticism defensively, but I can’t see many teams topping them in that category.

FHC (8)—We’ve lost 4 or 5 valuable varsity players to injuries over the past month or so, and so we’ll enter the tournament without as much depth as I’d like. Still, we’re getting smarter on offense each week, and I’ve always been pretty proud of our defense, so I’m predicting that we'll do well in pool play. Lacking the athleticism of a Desmet or Priory, we’ll have to play smarter than most teams to make a serious dent on Sunday. Not out of the question, but it will require a new level of focus and determination.

Kirkwood (9)—These guys can go on a tear when the mood suits them. They went down 5-0 in a game vs. Vashon this year, only to then score ten unanswered points and win the game (it was capped). A couple of the key players on their roster, however, players from other schools which do not have their own teams—I’m not sure if this disqualifies them for the HS State Championship or not. Anybody know?

The rest of the field is rounded out by the following teams:

(10) Marquette [3-3]—younger, and under new management
(11) Lindbergh [3-3]—spirited, fun team to play
(12) Clayton [3-3]—HUGE roster, very fun to play, smart coaches
(13) CBC [1-5]—also very deep, which should be to their advantage
(14) Vashon [1-5]—CRAZY defense! Nearly every game they’ve played this year has been


Anonymous said...

Alacron/Rockhurst should be #1 or #2 definately, and Team Ill should be lower by a couple spots.

Anonymous said...

when are the highlight reel prizes being announced?

McCabe said...

anonymous 2 - within the next day or two

anonymous 1 - any reasoning as to why you think those teams should be ranked differently. chances are ill never get to see these teams play so id love to hear as many different ideas/opinions as possible

Coach Becker said...

anonymous 1: Same questions as McCabe.

Anonymous said...

alacron did take first at the east invite and should be ranked higher. they have a really solid team this year.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous 1 and Alacron/Rockhurst is one of the most athletic youth teams in the nation. They graduated no players from last year, and although number 15 is their star player, they are pretty deep. I would have them seeded #1. I also play on Team ILL and we aren't good enough to be seeded 2/3, probably more like 4/5.

McCabe said...

alright, now we are talking. see now i know a little bit more about whats goin on.

thanks for the info!

Coach Becker said...

Well, since ILL and CULT have no entries in the SRT, we have no way of judging their strength except by the fact that they're willing to travel some distance to attend a tournament (more true of CULT than ILL, of course). By comparison and as far as I know, only one St. Louis team has traveled at all this year.

If it stays at 14 teams, we're going to have two pools of 7, anyhow (as laid out in the UPA handbook) . . . so seeding shouldn't be such an issue with such large pools.

Also, not knowing the quality of any of the St. Louis teams, I'm not sure how you could estimate your seed, either . . . ???

Ryan said...

Team Ill results:

Coach Becker said...

Ew . . . feelin' a little foolish now . . .

Who would've guessed that "Team" was part of their official name? Not me, obviously.

Anonymous said...

we (Team ILL)played a few st louis teams last year (2 or 3 I think) at the tournament hosted by Rockhurst last year.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanchezio said...

DeSmet was the only STL team at the Spring Premier last year. We had alot of fun playing Team Ill. They are a very spirited group of guys who have some serious skills. Heard they lost some studs from last years team, but they should be able to handle most of the STL teams. I just hope they bring the Steal Your Face Djembe to the Classic.
Did Lexington participate in the Spring Premier last year too?

Anonymous said...

unfortunately that player graduated, but we will be bringing plank, and from last year I remember Team ILL (Chicago), Rockhurst (Kansas City), DeSmet (St. Louis), Ames Top (Ames, Iowa), Woodward (Atlanta), Memorial (Madison), and there are two more who I am forgetting at the Spring Premier. It is true that we lost a lot of studs (exactly half our team, and many of the better players), and I hope we can keep up with the other teams.