Paul McRoberts dove onto Norm Stewart Court on the floor of Mizzou Arena and erupted into a cheering, screaming, hugging mess. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound McRoberts’ greatest wish had just been granted, and he was letting it out. He let out all his frustration of coming so close the last two years. He let out his anger at being doubted. But, mostly, he let out his joy of finally reaching the mountaintop.
Courtney Powell tried to delay the inevitable. A senior guard for the Westminster girls’ basketball team, Powell walked into school Monday with her uniform in her bag and her heart broken into a million pieces. Monday was when it all came to an end. When Powell, 18 handed in her uniform, it would be the last time she’d hold her Wildcats jersey in her hands—the last time she would have a tangible piece of the program she loves so dearly in her possession. “I just want to hold onto a piece of the season,” the 5-foot-7 Powell says. “It’s going to be hard giving it back.”
The talk all weekend on the sidelines of Mizzou Arena was centered around one thing—What is wrong with St. Louis basketball? For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, St. Louis had a team playing in each of the girls’ and boys’ Class 4 and 5 state semifinals.
Paul McRoberts (23) of Soldan puts up a shot between Hillcrest's Dorial Green-Beckham (32) and Austin Petry during the Class 4 state championship game Saturday at Mizzou Arena. (Paul Kopsky | STLhighschoolsports.com)
Shane Matzen stood surrounded by 300 of his closest friends. The Marquette boys’ basketball coach was inundated by hugs, handshakes, well wishes, thanks-yous and attaboys. Matzen’s back was raw from all the slaps it took. While he worked his way around the crowd, those who couldn’t be there shared their joy and appreciation by blowing up his phone with text messages, emails, Tweets and calls. His pocket was vibrating so much it looked like his hip had a twitch.
FRIDAY, MARCH 9
Austin Smith saw this scene before, only from a different angle. Before the championship matches of the state wrestling tournament commence, the participants are paraded out onto the floor of the Mizzou Arena and introduced to the crowd. It’s an incredible spectacle. The atmosphere crackles with anticipation and excitement.
Charlie Sherertz has always been tough. He was tough as a high school wrestler at Columbus High School in Nebraska. Sherertz compiled a 94-2 record, won two state championships, was a first-team prep All-American and a freestyle national champion in 1985.
I’m going to peer into my crystal ball and take a stab at what we might see in the local sports world over the next 12 months. I preface this by saying I’m terrible at predicting anything, let alone the future.
Steve Stipanovich is one of the most decorated basketball players our town has ever had. At De Smet, he won back-to-back state titles and was a part of a team that won 60 games in a row. He was recruited by almost every college basketball power in America. The most famous coaches in the country—Richard ‘Digger’ Phelps, Joe B. Hall, Norm Stewart—would come to Ballas Road every Wednesday just to watch Stipo practice. He went to Mizzou and won four Big 8 titles and 100 games. Stipanovich was the second pick in the 1983 NBA draft, and he enjoyed a successful 5-year NBA career. He had a triple-double one night against the Boston Celtics, and scored 30 one evening against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
When…Ladue School District collected more than 3,000 canned and non-perishable food items for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry and the St. Patrick Center for the homeless? The ‘Fill the Bus’ campaign, in its third year, allowed students and faculty to bring in items or cash donations, which totaled $370.