The Christmas Holidays proved to be a productive time for both the Fort Zumwalt West and Fort Zumwalt South boys basketball teams.
Zumwalt West finished second in the 24th annual St. Dominic Christmas Tournament while Zumwalt South came in third in the three-day tournament held Dec. 27-29.
West opened the tournament solidly, as the Jaguars downed host St. Dominic 52-44 in the first round of play. Jake Hampton led the Jaguars with 24 points while Kalieb Bryant added 16 points. Hampton hit 9 of 21 shots from the floor while Bryant knocked down 6 of 11 shots.
In the semifinal round, Zumwalt West got past rival Zumwalt South for a 54-50 victory.
Spencer Strode paced West with 13 points and Hampton added 9 points.
EJ Bellinger led three South players in double figures, finishing with 21 points. JJ Schwepker and Jake Patton scored 15 and 12 points, respcetively.
Zumwalt South started the tourney with an easy 63-38 win over Timberland in its first round game.
Bellinger erupted for a game-high 29 points and 9 rebounds. Darious Thomas and Patton added 11 points and 10 points, respectively.
In the championship game, Zumwalt West took Sikeston down to the final minute before falling 68-66 to the always tough Bulldogs from Southeast Missouri.
Josh White had 12 points as the Jaguars had strong balance with five players scoring in double figures. Brendan Douglas and Hampton had solid nights with 11 points each. Spencer Strode and DJ Turner each had 10 points.
In the third place game, Zumwalt South rebounded with a 65-55 win over Holt to end the tournament on a positive note.
Patton, Schwepker and Bellinger did the heavy-lifting, scoring 15 points, 14 points and 13 points.
Anthony Jones led Holt with a game-high 31 points.
Hahn takes over at Francis Howell North
Francis Howell North girls basketball coach Jamal Thompson recently resigned due to family and health concerns.
Thompson, who coached the Knights the past four seasons, has been replaced by current assistant and former head coach Dawn Hahn.
Hahn was the team’s head coach from 2002-2010 and has been on the staff as an assistant since then. She went 86-121 during her previous stint as the Knights’ head coach. Hahn will be assisted by Matt Watson, who led the team from 2011-2014.
Howell North athletic director Mike Janes said that although Coach Thompson’s departure at this time was a big a shock, the transition has been smooth and that the Hahn and Watson should be able to bring stability to the program.
“Dawn will do a great job as Francis Howell North’s coach,” Janes said. “Our program is in great hands with her and Matt Watson taking over. They have coached together in the past and have very similar philosophies. Coach Thompson has left Howell North on good terms and we wish him the best of luck. Our kids have transitioned well with the new staff and I look forward to the remainder of the season.”
The Knights struggled early, stumbling to a 0-4 start; however, Hahn believes that the group has stabilized its attitude and will be able do some good things as the season moves into the second half.
“We have tried to focus on how do we move forward from here,” Hahn said. “We told them that we can either be a victim of our circumstances or we can decide then and there we’re going to define the moment and hopefully push forward. I think we owe it to our seniors and this group of girls to give it everything we can.”
High school football
There will be a familiar face back on the Lutheran St. Charles sidelines when football season rolls around next fall.
After spending this past fall in Florida coaching at IMG Academy, Arlen Harris will be coming home to St. Peters to coach the Lutheran St. Charles Cougars in 2018.
“When I moved my family down to Florida to work with IMG, it was a great experience but it wasn’t initially what I expected and I was torn because of the foundation we had built at Lutheran,” Harris said. “It has been hard not being there for the kids I had gotten over to that school.”
That conflict allowed Harris to look at other options and when the Cougars job opened up at the end of the 2017 season, Harris decided that he and his family wanted to be back in St. Charles County.
“We thought that going to Florida would be a good fit and we got it out of our system and now we are moving back and we plan on staying,” Harris said.
Harris said once he made the commitment to IMG he expected to be there a lot longer, but he also noted that he is one who marches to his own drum.
“I just like the community, the small atmosphere and the athletic director. Doug Kuhlmann has been a friend of mine since I retired with the Rams,” Harris said. He noted that in the St. Peters area “there is not another private school like it.”
Lin Hart Jr. and Mike McClean will join Harris on the Cougars coaching staff. Hart, who recently coached football and baseball at Timberland, will handle the offensive line and defensive backs. McClean will coach receivers and defensive backs.