The Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs had plenty of youth, energy, and desire when they faced defending champion Webster Groves on Saturday.
Unfortunately, that was not nearly enough as the Statesmen, led by super recruits Courtney Ramey and Carte’Are Gordon.
The super tandem played above the rim all night, driving Webster Groves to a 78-45 Class 5 quarterfinal win over the Bulldogs at Hyland Performance Arena on the campus of Lindenwood University.
Defending champ Webster Groves (20-9) will face Liberty from Kansas City in a Class 5 semifinal on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Springfield.
“I picked him up today and you could just tell he (Ramey) was ready,” Webster Groves coach Jay Blossom said.
The Statesmen, who went back to back years to state in 1953 and 54, are going to back-to-back final fours for the second time in school history.
“It was our goal at the beginning of the season to get back to where we are heading Thursday,” Ramey said. “We have had laser focus the last couple of weeks.”
Ramey powered the Statesmen as they exploded on Fort Zumwalt South in the first eight minutes.
He scored a rebound bucket, fed Gordon on a dunk for another bucket, drilled a couple of three-balls and did pretty much whatever he wanted with the basketball.
The Bulldogs had no ways to stop him as Webster got up 12 points early, and ended the first quarter ahead 22-6.
“They kind of overwhelmed us early,” Fort Zumwalt South coach Bill Friedel said. “It was very difficult for us to guard them defensively, so we had to be more efficient offensively and our stuff more efficently and get better shots and we just weren’t.”
Gordon, who is St. Louis U. bound, was unstoppable around the basket as he poured in 21 points and snagged five rebounds.
Behind Gordon and Ramey’s offensive prowess, the Stateesmen rolled to 50-17 halftime bulge.
The prolific pair were sent to the bench with their night’s work done with 1:26 left in the third quarter.
Webster carried a 40-point lead into the fourth quarter.
“Our kids have been really dialed in these last few weeks,” Blossom said. “We knew coming we were ready, so we’re excited and hopefully we can keep it going another week.”
Ramey closed out his performance with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Webster junior post Steven Wright added 10 points and four rebounds.
Fort Zumwalt South, which finished at 24-5, got a team-high 15 points from senior point guard Darious Wright. Junior shooting guard EJ Bellinger struggled shooting 2 of 13 from the floor but finished with 10 points, thanks to going six of eight from the foul line.
The quarterfinal finish was far from pleasant for the Bulldogs. Still, the season was a strong one and with only three seniors graduating and a slew of juniors returning, the immediate future is promising.
‘”We has a great season overall and we were conference champions, district, champions and sectional champions,”Friedel said. “Started one senior and we’ve got a lot of young guys coming back, so we have a bright future, so hopefully we’ll get back here.”
Notes: In the girls Class 5 quarterfinal game played earlier in the evening session, Francis Howell Central saw its postseason run halted as Kirkwood defeated the Spartans 52-39.
Yaniah Curry paced Howell Central with 14 points.
Howell Central ended the season at 22-7.