High-SchoolMissouri: Rock Bridge

Missouri Week 12 hoops rankings: McCluer North enters FAB 50

February, 28, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 26

Following several surprising district round developments, the Sweet 16 kicks off for the remaining Class 4 and 5 teams this Wednesday.

McCluer North kept up its winning ways, holding off McCluer in the Class 5, District 8 finals behind Jordon Granger's 25 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to vault to No. 45 in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings. The Stars will continue their trek to defend their state title against Fort Zumwalt South on Wednesday. But get this — should the Stars win, it could mean a quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 Vianney, which meets Troy Buchanan on Wednesday.

A similarly huge quarterfinal matchup could take place on the other side of the Class 5 bracket should the seeds hold true. A win for Nixa and Rock Bridge would mean a rematch of their season opener, when Rock Bridge handed Nixa its lone loss of the season.

One Class 5 team to watch out for is CBC. The Cadets knocked off Webster Groves in last week's district final and have played Vianney in each of their three regular-season matchups.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. McCluer North (Florissant) 24-1 (1)
Stars continue to roll, stretching their win streak to 22 games by holding off rival McCluer in the Class 5, District 8 final. The drive to defend their state title begins Wednesday against Fort Zumwalt South.

2. Vianney (Kirkwood) 26-1 (2)
Golden Griffins took care of business en route to the Class 5, District 5 tournament crown. A first-round win against Troy-Buchanan on Wednesday could mean a huge quarterfinal matchup with top-ranked McCluer North on Saturday.

3. Nixa 27-1 (3)
Eagles breezed through the Class 5, District 11 tournament. They face the Webb City in Wednesday's sectional round and a win could mean a quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 Rock Bridge, the only team to beat Nixa this season.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Missouri hoops rankings.
After games on Sunday, Feb. 5

With about two weeks of regular-season play, the Missouri high school basketball scene is entering a critical stretch. Momentum is always key entering the playoffs — just ask the New York Giants, or even defending Class 5 champ McCluer North. That's why several key matchups this week could prove critical in March.

McCluer, which moved to the No. 5 spot in this week's rankings, will look to gain some steam when it faces No. 7 Soldan on Friday. The Comets are riding a five-game win streak, but Soldan has been battle-tested of late, downing East St. Louis (Ill.) and CBC, which beat McCluer, before barely losing to a talented Whitney Young (Ill.) squad.

Rock Bridge welcomed back Travis Jorgenson last week after the star junior guard missed a month with a hand injury. But the Bruins lost in Jorgenson's first game back, as Raytown South's Earl Peterson went off for 31 points to send Rock Bridge to its second loss in four games. Whether the Bruins can reestablish their chemistry with Jorgenson and get back on track will be key come playoff time.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. McCluer North (Florissant) 19-1 (1)
Stars pushed win streak to 17 games with big win against Hazelwood Central. Next up: Riverview Gardens on Thursday.

2. Vianney (Kirkwood) 21-1 (2)
Golden Griffins downed Borgia and Washington on consecutive days. Tough stretch continues with Friday's contest against Nolan Berry and DeSmet.

3. Nixa 20-1 (3)
After blowing out Neosho by 40, the Eagles travel to Carthage on Tuesday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Missouri basketball rankings.

Vianney is new No. 1 in Missouri Week 4 hoops rankings

January, 3, 2012
After games ending Jan. 2

Last season, Vianney began its season with five losses in its first six games. So far this year, defeat is a foreign subject to the Golden Griffins.

Off to their best start in at least six years, Vianney used a big win against previously undefeated Webster Groves and the first loss of the season for previous No. 1 McCluer to take over this week's top spot in Missouri. Tony Cochran and George Suggs have led the charge, with Cochran pacing the Golden Griffins with 17.4 points per game and Suggs holding things down on defense with team highs in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and blocks (2.3 bpg).

Also noteworthy are the efforts of Soldan and CBC. Soldan may not have won the Normandy Holiday Invitational, but the Tigers hold their own against national No. 16 Memphis Ridgeway in the title game, pushing the Tennessee power to double overtime after the Roadrunners had routed their previous opponents. As for CBC, the Cadets enter the rankings after handing McCluer its first loss of the season and and playing Vianney close in the Meramec tournament.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Vianney (Kirkwood) 11-0 (2)
Golden Griffins move into top spot after winning the Meramec Holiday Festival. Title run included a big victory against No. 4 Webster Groves. Next up: SLUH on Tuesday.

2. McCluer North (Florissant) 10-1 (7)
Defending Class 5 champs were victorious at the Collinsville Schnucks Tournament in Illinois and have won eight in a row.

3. Rock Bridge (Columbia) 10-1 (3)
Bruins won Great 8 Classic despite playing without star guard Travis Jorgenson (thumb injury).

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Missouri basketball rankings.

Webster Groves debuts in Missouri Week 3 hoops rankings

December, 27, 2011
McCluer and Vianney continued their undefeated starts to the season, but another team is making noise with an unblemished start: Webster Groves.

The Statesmen were supposed to be in rebuilding mode this year, but instead they have shot up to No. 4 in the rankings behind the trio of Demetrius Robinson (15.4 ppg), Peter Fairbanks (14.6 ppg) and Rayshawn Simmons (13.0 ppg). They will start the new year off with a major test against 6-1 Marquette.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. McCluer 6-0 (1)
After two-week layoff, Comets keep hold on top spot with Monday's win against Washington.

2. Vianney 7-0 (2)
Golden Griffins take undefeated record into Tuesday's game against Parkway West. Tony Cochran leads the way, averaging 16.7 points.

3. Rock Bridge 7-1 (4)
Bruins lost to out-of-state foe Basehor-Linwood (Kan.) before downing Raymore-Peculiar.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Missouri basketball rankings.

Lee's Summit West vaults into new Missouri hoops rankings

December, 14, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

After a later start to its season, Lee's Summit West is off to type of start most expected from a team starring a trio like Shaq Harrison, Austin Panko and Nathan Jackson. The Titans easily handled a solid Raymore-Peculiar squad, 68-40, before holding off Rockhurst by two points on Monday.

The rest of the top five stood pat, as McCluer, Vianney, Soldan and Rock Bridge extended their undefeated starts. But watch out for Webster Groves, which is 3-0 and knocking on the top 10 door.

Here's how this week's rankings shake out (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. McCluer (Florissant) 5-0 (1)
The Comets survived a scare before rallying for an overtime win against Hyde Park (Ill.). Demetrius Floyd scored 31 points in the victory.

2. Vianney (Kirkwood) 5-0 (2)
The Golden Griffins squeaked by CBC, 59-56.

3. Soldan (St. Louis) 4-0 (3)
The Tigers beat Morgan Park (Ill.) 59-44 in the Midwest Showdown Shootout.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Missouri hoops rankings

Fall postseason update

November, 17, 2011
After a banner fall season last year, much of the discussion of preseason championship favorites centered around Rockhurst.

The Hawklets swim team lived up to its dynamic billing, winning a record eighth straight swim title last week. Reigning Gatorade State Runner of the Year Zach Herriott earned success as well, shaking off a 13th-place finish at this year's state meet to qualify for the prestigious Nike Cross National meet in Oregon next month.

The football and soccer teams weren't so fortunate. Rockhurst's bid to defend its gridiron title fell short after a 28-7 loss to Blue Springs South in the Class 6 quarterfinals. Likewise, the Hawklets' soccer team lost 2-1 in double overtime to Lee's Summit West in the district playoff championship.

Since then, Lee's Summit West has advanced to the Class 3 semifinals, where they will face a strong DeSmet squad led by All-State player Louis Berra. Oakville will take on Rock Bridge in the other semifinal on Friday.

In Class 2 soccer, St. Louis Priory is chasing history — and itself. Heading into Friday's semifinal versus Helias, the 25-0 Rebels are looking to become just the second team in the state to ever go undefeated without a loss or tie. The first? The 2005 Priory squad that went 26-0 en route to the state crown. The Rebels are certainly the favorite, boasting a defense that's posted 22 shutouts and an offense that's outscored opponents 104-5 this season. They are currently ranked No. 14 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and would face either Trinity or Smithville should they win.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Wilfong dethrones Herriott for Class 4 cross country crown

November, 9, 2011
As good of friends as Caleb Wilfong and Zach Herriott are off the cross country course, Wilfong had a score to settle at this past weekend's Class 4 state meet.

Last year, multiple injuries sabotaged Wilfong's push for the state crown, allowing the dominant Herriott to become the first individual champ and Gatorade state runner of the year in Rockhurst's history.

Earlier this season, Herriott outdistanced Wilfong in a a race at Forest Park. But on Saturday, the Rock Bridge senior finally came out on top. Wilfong used a late surge to pass Heriott and win the coveted crown in a time of 15:54.13, more than seven seconds ahead of Kolton Sheldon of Lee's Summit North. Herriott finished 13th with a mark of 16:34.26.

The effort of both runners allowed Rock Bridge to take home the team title and Rockhurst finished second for its first piece of hardware at the state meet.

Other meet highlights included:

*Drew White nearly went wire to wire in his Class 3 win. About a half mile into the race, the Festus senior burst forward for the lead and never let up until he crossed the finish line with a time of 16:05.71.

*Herculaneum swept both the boys and girls crowns in Class 2, marking the fifth time the dominant program has completed the double dip.

Click here for more coverage of the Missouri state meet by Dyestat.

Records, rest are the focus in Week 9 Missouri football

October, 27, 2011
Dorial Green-Beckham began his career with 37 catches and 801 yards as a freshman wideout at Hillcrest. Notable? Yes. But his numbers didn't exactly glow with greatness — especially when you consider what's at stake during the Hornets' regular-season finale against Republic on Thursday.

Sixty-two yards separate Green-Beckham from all-time career receiving leader Abram Booty (Evangel Christian/Shreveport, La.) and high school immortality. DGB currently sits at second with 5,806 career yards and a source close to the team tells me that the plan is to gain the golden yards (and maybe more) on the first play. In other words, don't blink or arrive late because you might miss history.

What's more, Hillcrest, which is having its best season in DGB's career, has a chance to wrap up the district title with a win and gain a high seed in next week's Class 4 playoffs.

I'll be tweeting live updates from the game, so follow me @brandoncparker and check out ESPNHS.com for updated news and content throughout the night.

In some ways, records are the focus for most other teams in Missouri this week. With the sectional playoffs starting next week and most seeds already decided, all but one of the top 10 teams are playing squads with records below or one game above .500. That makes it likely that most starters will get pulled by halftime or perhaps not play at all in an attempt to rest. The lone exception is...

No. 10 Blue Springs (7-2) at Rock Bridge (6-3)
Last year, after needing just one victory in their last two games to advance to the sectional playoffs, Rock Bridge couldn't find the winning formula.

Last week, needing just one more win to advance to the sectional playoffs and after pulling within one point on a fourth-quarter touchdown, Rock Bridge had its extra point blocked to shift the momentum in Blue Springs South's favor and open up a 35-20 defeat.

This week, it's do-or-die once again for Rock Bridge, as it hosts Blue Springs for another chance at making the sectional playoffs for the first time since 2005. A victory won't be easy for the Bruins, who face an emerging Blue Springs squad that knocked off rival Blue Springs South earlier this year.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Kirkwood, Jefferson City continue to impress in Week 5 MO rankings

September, 26, 2011
All of the top 10 teams are who we thought they were last week, easily defeating their opponents. Along the way, Kirkwood and Jefferson City put up major shutouts. Wideout Mike McHugh continued his recent tear for Kirkwood, snagging five passes for 209 yards in a 41-0 win against Parkway North, while Jefferson City RB Devon Moore scored two more touchdowns in the Jays' 42-0 rout of Park Hill.

Oh and I remember when I said don't forget the name "Trent Hosick?" Well, here's why. Hosick has quite an arm, but in Staley coach Fred Bouchard's offense, Hosick's rushing prowess has been on full display. Fast forward to a little past the midway point of this KC Metro Sports video for a dose of Hosick's incredible athletic ability. And stay tuned to this spot for more on the junior quarterback.

Nationally, Rockhurst moved up to No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50 after beating Rock Bridge last week.

And without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 5-0 (1)
The Hawklets' defense held Rock Bridge to 169 total yards of offense in a 35-6 win. Next up: Hickman.

2. CBC (St. Louis) 5-0 (2)
The Cadets took advantage of the absence of Howell QB Eric Siebenshuh and rode their own gunslinger to a 47-26 victory. Dalton Demos finished 369 passing yards and four touchdowns, giving the Cadets momentum before they face Vianney.

3. Staley (Kansas City North) 5-0 (3)
The Falcons cemented their claim as the new top team in Class 5, riding Trent Hosick's two touchdowns to a 22-10 win against Kearney. A road game against Grandview is next.

Click here for the full POWERADE Missouri weekly football rankings.

CBC, Staley face tough tests in Week 4 Missouri football

September, 23, 2011
This weekend could give us a glimpse of which teams will be the last ones standing come championship team. Rockhurst, CBC and Staley all face formidable foes while Jefferson City is out to prove its 4-0 is no fluke.

Francis Howell (3-1) at No. 2 CBC (4-0)
No team has found an answer for CBC's explosive offense so far this season. Quarterback Dalton Demos is nearing the 1,000-yard mark and the tailback duo of Antonio Brown and Jonathan Parker has scored 15 touchdowns. But the Cadets could find themselves in a shootout against a tough Howell squad. The Vikings lost but were able to hang with the high-scoring Fort Zumwalt West last week, as quarterback Eric Siebenshuh has found a chemistry with wideout Corey King. In other words, defense will be the key. The Cadets gave up 49 points to Fort Zumwalt West while Howell surrendered 34, but CBC has shown its mettle in a win against DeSmet.
My Pick: CBC 35, Howell 28

Kearney (3-1) at No. 3 Staley (4-0)
Running — and running well — has become a habit for Staley, which is averaging more than 400 rushing yards per game. Morgan Steward and Trent Hosick account for most of that production, presenting quite the task for the Bulldog defense. Kearney isn't as explosive on offense, and quarterback Cole Davis will have lineman Nathaneal Lohn pursuing him all night. The key for Kearney is if it can dictate the flow of the game.
My pick: Staley 31, Kearney 21

Rock Bridge (3-1) at No. 1 Rockhurst (4-0)
Rock Bridge will look to bounce back from last week's loss to Jefferson City, but Rockhurst isn't exactly the team you want to be facing after defeat. Especially now. The Hawklets welcome back offensive lineman Christian Eatherly, who missed the last two games with injury, and Jordan Walker is ready to go after sitting out part of last week's win. Plus, their experienced defense is coming around, giving up just 17 points in the last two games. Rock Bridge will have to execute early and often to have a chance here, but yes, I'm saying there's a chance.
My pick: Rockhurst 28, Rock Bridge 14

No. 8 Jefferson City (4-0) at Park Hill (3-1)
It's been quite the start for Jefferson City, outscoring opponents by the count of 140-35. Much of the credit goes to running back Devon Moore, who reached paydirt four times last week and has been on a tear this season. Park Hill's defense is solid, giving up just 23 points through four games, but the Trojans offense must capitalize on stops if they want to pull off the upset.
My pick: Jefferson City 24, Park Hill 10

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Blue Springs South re-enters MO rankings after upset of Lee’s Summit West

September, 19, 2011
They did it again. For the second straight year, the Blue Springs South Jaguars upset Lee's Summit West, this time by the score of 28-14.

In easily their biggest test of the season thus far, the Titans struck first on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Luke Knott to Shaq Harrison. But the Jaguars reeled off the next 21 points, taking a decisive lead on two touchdown throws by Connor Harris and a Steve Sullivan 22-yard score. Sullivan finished the night with 194 rushing yards and two TDs. With the win, the Jaguars re-enter the rankings at No. 10 and have a good chance of moving up. Their only loss on a brutal schedule is a 16-3 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Rockhurst.

As for the Titans, there is a silver lining. They played without All-State offensive lineman Evan Boehm (concussion), and remember what happened the last time the Titans lost to the Jags: a Class 5 championship. But it's safe to say the Titans, who rolled to easy wins in three contests against teams with one combined win, will take this as a wake-up call.

One team that doesn't need waking up is Kirkwood. Point much of the credit to Mike McHugh, who earned ESPNHS Southwest Region Player of the Week honors with 214 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The senior wideout and Northwestern commit also returned an interception 98 yards for a score in the Pioneers' 47-0 win against Hazelwood Central.

Here's how the state rankings shake out this week:

1. Rockhurst (Kansas City) 4-0 (1)
Hawklets keep on rolling, beating Liberty 34-14. Top OL Christian Eatherly has missed the last couple of weeks and tailback Jordan Walker missed much of last week's win after banging up his leg. But both are expected in uniform when the nation's No. 38 squad takes on Rock Bridge this week.

2. CBC (St. Louis) 4-0 (3)
Cadets put together a complete effort in 34-7 win against SLUH. QB Dalton Demos threw for 224 yards and two scores, Antonio Brown rushed for 105 scores and two more touchdowns and Marcus Wheat racked up 112 receiving yards and a TD. Next up: Howell.

3. Staley (Kansas City North) 4-0 (4)
Falcons rolled past Liberty North, 42-6, behind Morgan Steward's four touchdowns. A battle against Kearney is next on the schedule.

Click here for the full POWERADE Missouri weekly rankings.

Missouri cross country preview

August, 25, 2011
Today we'll branch out to cross country — you know, the sport that makes most of us look ridiculously out of shape.

Many of the main players from 2010 are back for more this season, starting with defending Gatorade State Runner of the Year, Zach Herriott from Rockhurst. Rock Bridge senior Caleb Wilfong is also one to watch now that his health problems of last year are behind him. Here's what DyeStat's Marc Bloom has to say about the upcoming season:
Unheralded Rock Bridge of Columbia is just sitting there with all 5 scorers back from its state Class 4 runner-up squad. Led by 4:12.89 1600 man Caleb Wilfong, the team’s quintet spread only 25 seconds last fall while coming within 23 points of victorious Lee’s Summit North. LSN loses 3 of 5.

St. Louis U., 3rd, is very deep and should be a threat. Rockhurst, led by individual defender Zach Herriott, 9:16.15 for 3200, is also strong. Another contender is Drew Cargill of all-time state leader West Plains, a dark horse this fall. Cargill was state 3200 runner-up in 9:14.11.

Click here to get the cross country scoop on all 50 states and here to get an idea of how the girls competition could shake out.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.