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Sports Briefs: Dec. 13

By: Jonathan Duncan


Francis Howell is looking toward an exciting season from both the varsity and JV wrestling teams.

High school wrestling

The Francis Howell varsity wrestling program had a dominant performance in its first tournament of the season by taking home the Parkway South Patriot Classic crown. The Howell junior varsity wrestling team also claimed a first-place finish in the Parkway South Patriot Classic.

High school hockey

So far in the 2017-18 campaign, it has been a virtual feeding frenzy when the Fort Zumwalt East hockey team scores goals.

The Lions started the season as the team to beat in the Mid-States Hockey Association St. Charles division, thanks to a blistering 8-0-1 start. East outscored opponents 57-20 during the team’s blazing start.

“We are a high-powered, high-octane offense and it goes in spurts,” Lions coach Denny Klaesner said. “We get one, we get two, we get three, we get four and they come in bunches.”

Averaging 6.3 goals per game, Zumwalt East has made a habit of getting on top of opposing teams early in the game and being relentless with shots on goal.

In the Lions’ 11-1 victory over Francis Howell Central on Nov. 27, East exploded for four goals in the first 11 minutes, setting the tone for the night.

“It’s a lot of throwing the puck to the net, trying to get to the dirty areas, burying some chances and trying to get some rebounds,” Lions junior forward James Taylor said.

Taylor, along with senior forward Tanner Larsen, have been the two big guns for Zumwalt East with 12 goals each heading into mid-December. Junior forward Andrew LaBeau also has been making noise with 10 goals so far.

Taylor leads the club in assists and points as well.

Zumwalt East has a big edge in goal thanks to the always-strong work between the pipes of senior goalie Anthony Willis. Early in the season, he had allowed 2.14 goals per game and had a gaudy .920 save percentage.

Klaesner said the experienced lineup, featuring six three-year seniors, is definitely on pace to be the best team that East has had in the program’s 10-year existence.

“This has really been a fun start for us and we’re on a roll. This is an experienced team that we think could really do something special this year,” Klaesner said.

High school girls basketball

The Fort Zumwalt West and Francis Howell girls basketball teams got their season rolling during the final week of November, with an appearance in the Marquette Tournament at Marquette High in West St. Louis County.

Zumwalt West and Howell were two of the clubs in the eight-team field.

The Jaguars had a good run in the tournament going 2-1. Zumwalt West defeated Nerinx Hall [62-57] in the first round, and then, in the semifinals posted a 60-48 victory over host Marquette.

In the semifinal win over Marquette, three players scored in double figures as Mikayla Rodgers led the club with 15 points. Janae Taylor and Lillie Pickett added 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Rodgers also came up big in the championship game with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Katie Pauk added 10 points and Brooklyn Palmer added 10 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Jaguars lost a 49-46 nail-biter to Sullivan in the championship game on Dec. 1.

Francis Howell also had a solid showing in the tourney as the Vikings went 2-1 in three games. Following a loss to Sullivan [47-27] in a first round game, the Vikings rebounded nicely with a consolation semifinal wins over Summit [51-45] and a 47-36 win over Nerinx Hall to take the consolation championship.

Tionne Taylor and Taylor Russell led the Vikings with 20 points and 13 points against Summit. Lexi Pellegrini provided strong board work in the paint with 8 rebounds.

In the consolation championship, Taylor and Russell got the job done with 22 and 16 points, respectively.

Boys high school basketball

Three St. Charles area basketball teams made their presence felt in the recent Winfield Classic Tournament up in Winfield, Missouri.

Fort Zumwalt East and O’Fallon Christian both made it into the championship game on Dec. 2. Timberland advanced to the third place game in the 8-team field.

O’Fallon Christian took home the tournament trophy thanks to a 64-39 victory in the title game over Zumwalt East.

Four players led the way with double-figure scoring for the Eagles as Chevy Brenson and Zach Harding scored 12 points each. Sharrod Alexander and Zach Niemeyer also provided timely scoring with 10 points apiece. Brenson had a strong floor game with 7 assists.

O’Fallon Christian defeated Elsberry [54-31] in the first round and then rolled past Warrenton [63-53] in the semifinals to claim a spot in the championship game.

Harding and Niemeyer powered the Eagles semifinal win with 21 points and 16 points.

O’Fallon Christian went 3-0 in the week-long tournament.

Despite bowing to the Eagles in the title game, Zumwalt East had a solid showing with a 2-1 mark.

The Lions opened tournament play in the first round with a 55-33 rout of host Winfield, and then, blasted Timberland 57-39 in the semifinal round.

Lucas Staley led the Lions with 22 points against Winfield. Tre Payne and Staley provided the offense against Timberland, combining for 35 points. Zac Bonney added 11 points.

Timberland finished the tournament with a 1-2 slate. The Wolves beat the Blue Knights 72-56 in first-round action.

Shyamal Patel, Jackson Lamb and Cole Martin led the Wolves with 22, 14 and 11 points, respectively.

The Wolves fell to Zumwalt East in the semifinals, and then, dropped a 53-46 decision to Warrenton in the third-place game.

High school boys soccer

Ten St. Charles area soccer players recently were named to the Missouri Soccer Coaches Class 4 All-State Team.

First-team selections included Francis Howell senior defender Caden Castello, Francis Howell senior forward Jake Totty, Fort Zumwalt West senior midfielder Travis Hunt and Timberland senior midfielder Drew Domaleski.

Castello also was named Co-Defensive Player of The Year along with Jack Edwards of CBC.

Making the cut on the second team were Francis Howell North senior defender Richie Taylor, Francis Howell junior forward Tommy Naumann and Francis Howell Central senior midfielder Joe Mueller.

Senior midfielder Kurtis Ralston of Francis Howell Central and Holt senior midfielder Sam Rowan were honorable mention selections to the squad.

Francis Howell, a Class 4 quarterfinalist, finished the season ranked fourth in the final team rankings.

The Vikings went 22-5-1 in their 2017 campaign.

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