Parity has become the operative buzzword in the Mid-States Club Hockey St. Charles Division as the New Year began.
Duchesne, Francis Howell, Fort Zumwalt East, Fort Zumwalt West and Timberland all entered January with winning records and a chance at the division title.
Duchesne leads the pack, with a 9-3-1 record at the start of the second half of the season. At press time, the Pioneers had won three of its last five games and won six of eight games to start the season. Sophomore forward Vinny Conti led the team with 14 goals. Junior Garrett Dryden and freshman Jack Boschert have been a solid tandem in goal and freshman Derek Cagle has been one of the Pioneers’ top playmakers with eight assists and nine points.
Francis Howell was second in the division at the beginning of January with a 7-2-3 record. The Vikings got out to a strong start, winning six of its first seven games. Led by balanced scoring, the Vikings had five players with four goals scored in the first half of the season.
In third at press time was Fort Zumwalt East with a first-half record of 6-2-5. The Lions reeled off three wins in four games just before the holiday break to keep themselves close to the top of the division. Senior Robert Bross and sophomore Andrew LaBeau drove the Lions early on with 22 goals each.
Zumwalt West was in fourth with a record of 6-3-2. Junior Logan Richey and sophomore Blake Nerney led the Jaguars’ scoring with 12 and nine goals, respectively. Ethan Karay has proven to be the team’s playmaker with 13 assists.
Timberland was fifth in the division at press time with 5-3-4. Senior forward Samir Abouelhana powered the offense with 27 assists and 34 points along with Logan Cuter, who racked up 20 goals and 27 points.
High School Boys Basketball
Fort Zumwalt West, Fort Zumwalt South and Timberland all enjoyed post-holiday success at the 23rd Annual St. Dominic Christmas Tournament. All three clubs were successful in their opening games on Dec. 27.
Fort Zumwalt West rolled past Holt 65-53 in its first-round game. The Jaguars raced to a 34-29 lead in the first half and never looked back. Jake Hampton paced Zumwalt West with 25 points and Marquis Majors added nine points.
Zumwalt South, which made the championship game last year, downed Parkway North 67-49 in its first-round game on Dec 27.
Timberland opened with host St. Dominic and breezed to a 60-47 victory.
Things did not go as well for Zumwalt West in the semifinals on Dec. 28 as the Jaguars got taken down 80-60 by Sikeston. However, Fort Zumwalt South kept going in the semifinal round, thanks to a 62-57 win over Timberland.
Lutheran St. Charles finished the tournament on a high note after splitting its first two games. The Cougars downed Parkway North 69-65 on Dec. 29 to take the consolation bracket title.
After falling in the semifinals, the Wolves bounced back nicely, beating Zumwalt West 50-40 for third place in the tourney.
Zumwalt South was primed after the semifinals and got a huge 28-point effort from sophomore guard EJ Bellinger in the championship game on Dec. 29. But even Bellinger’s effort was not enough as the Bulldogs fell to six-time tournament champ Sikeston, 68-61.
High School Girls Basketball
It was a good week for St. Charles area schools at the MICDS Holiday Tournament, which finished on Dec. 29.
Fort Zumwalt North finished second in the tournament while St. Charles finished in third place. Zumwalt North and St. Charles both advanced into the tournament semifinal round thanks to first round victories on Dec. 23.
The Panthers opened the tournament with an impressive 49-20 win over Ritenour in its first round game. Victoria Nesslage and Rachel Pudlowski led the way for the Panthers with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
St. Charles rolled past Pattonville for a 61-39 victory in its opening round game. Tyra Brown pumped in 15 points to lead the Pirates.
In the semifinals on Dec. 28, Zumwalt North kept its winning ways rolling with a 45-37 overtime victory over West County power Lafayette. The Panthers held a 28-19 lead after three quarters, but the Lancers came from behind in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to force a 35-35 tie at the end of regulation. Zumwalt North outscored Lafayette 10-2 to take the overtime period. Nesslage scored 16 points and Pudlowski added 15 points.
St. Charles came up just short in its semifinal contest, falling to MICDS 65-59. In the championship game on Dec. 29, the Panthers simply did not have enough to handle three-time defending champ MICDS as the Rams claimed the championship with a 48-30 victory.
St. Charles wrapped up third place with a 50-41 victory over Lafayette in the third-place game played earlier that day.