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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Charleston seeks U-High title

Sunday, December 23, 2001

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The 57th Annual University High School Christmas Tournament will take place at the Show-Me Center Dec. 26 through 29. Here is a look at each team in this year's tournament, as seeded:

1. Charleston (3-4)

The major goal for Charleston this year is living up to the number one seed. The Bluejays were defeated by the number two seed of the tournament, Notre Dame, on Tuesday night.

The play of seniors Lezcano Dean (6-4, sr.) and Jordy Mixon (5-11, sr.) will greatly determine whether the Blue Jays will make it to the championship game. "I hope we can iron out our rough edges in this tournament," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. " I feel that we have improved every game that we have played this season and I hope to continue that trend. The No. 1 seed obviously puts pressure on us. I think Notre Dame or Jackson could have been the No. 1, but I do expect to win the tournament, no matter what our seed is."

2. Notre Dame (4-3)

The Bulldogs are expecting to use a balanced attack against Oak Ridge Wednesday night in their opening round bout.

"We've been pretty balanced in our scoring all season and I hope that continues," said Notre Dame coach Darrin Scott. "We are just hoping for some solid games in which we can take good shots, guard and rebound."

Travis Siebert (6-1, jr.) and Scott Wittenborn (6-1, sr.) should be the two leading the attack for Notre Dame in the tournament, as Siebert has been averaging 13 points a game and Wittenborn averaging 10. "Those two will be keys for us, but we are also going to need some guys to step up and make some shots on the perimeter," said Scott. "We will need to be able to hit inside and out to win in this tournament."

3. Jackson (2-4)

In his second year at the reigns, coach Mike Kiehne is looking at possibly repeating last year's run to the championship game.

"We are definitely not going to look past anyone, but I think that we have a real chance this season," said Kiehne. "We are going to depend heavily on our big guys to get us some scoring, but I believe that they are about ready to hit their stride."

Tyler Boyd (5-11, jr.) and Seth McDowell (6-2, sr.) are the leading post players for the Indians this season. McDowell is averaging 11.5 points per game, while Boyd is just under 9.0.

"I am also looking for some of our juniors to step up in this tournament," said Kiehne. "We are a team with a lot of depth and I plan on using all of it against Delta (in the first round) if I have to. We are also going to have to rebound well if we expect to win."

4. Oran (6-1)

The Eagles enter this year's tournament on a five game win streak, currently ranked No. 6 in Missouri 1A.

Standouts Nathan Seyer (6-2, jr.) and Ryne Wood (6-1, jr.) are both averaging around 20 points per game, and will lead the offensive attack for the Eagles.

Defensively, Oran is as good as any team in the tournament. In the first round they will take on Leopold at 1:30 p.m.

5. Bell City (6-2)

Senior Eric Henry (6-1, jr.) will be the major factor for the Cubs in the tournament, and coach David Heeb wants more than his 23 points per game.

"We need Eric to come out and play like he is the best player on the floor," said Heeb. "If we comes out with that attitude, I think we can put together some really good ball games."

Although they have won their last five in a row, Heeb is apprehensive of his team's opening round opponent -- No. 12 Scott City. "(Scott City) is are bigger and stronger than us," said Heeb. "I know that they don't like the way that they have started the season, and I know they feel like they have something to prove. It's not going to be your typical 5-12 (seed) game."

6. Advance (6-1)

Just like last season when they were seeded fifth, the Advance Hornets could make a case for the number one seed. The tournament championship this season, just like last year, could quite possibly go through Advance.

After destroying Kelly 76-44 on Tuesday night, the Hornets will again face the Hawks in the first round next Wednesday at 6 p.m.

"I don't like that," said Hornets coach Jim Hall. "I don't like playing teams back-to-back like that. We know what we need to work on for the tournament and they know what they need to do. I don't see why we can't win this thing again. We'll have to take it one game at a time and not overlook anyone, but I think we can do it."

The only downside for Advance is that center Aaron Cantrell (6-4, sr.) is still out with a broken foot and is not slated to return to the lineup until after the new year.

Swingman Andrew Jenkins (5-11, sr.) and guard Jared Ritter (5-11, jr.) will lead the attack for the Hornets.

7. Cape Central (1-6)

Many question marks surround the Tigers this season.

After losing their starting guard Willie Colon in the Sikeston Tournament, Cape Central just hasn't been the same team.

"We are hopeful that we can get him back for the beginning of the tournament," said Cape Central coach Derek McCord. "We don't know at this point, we will just have to wait and see."

Since the injury Cape has dropped four straight games, but part of that has to do with the inexperience of the Tigers.

"Right now we are basically playing a tough 4A schedule with a jayvee team," said McCord. "We are simply trying to lay a foundation of hard work and we are trying to improve every day."

8. Scott Central (6-1)

After going blow-to-blow with the number 12 seed in the tournament, the Braves are now on a six game winning streak and will look to continue their winning ways against upstart Meadow Heights in the first round Wednesday at 9 p.m.

"We expect a very competitive game," said Scott Central coach Steve Wells. "(Meadow Heights) is a very good team from what I have seen and our side of the bracket just gets tougher from then on, but we hope to win our first game to get on the winner's side."

Six-foot senior Terrance Williams is averaging around 24 points per game and is expected to lead the offensive attack for the Braves. "He's been a very good player for us this year," said Wells. "He's worked really hard and we expect big things from him this tournament. We have also had some other guys that have really stepped up and helped us out thus far this season," Other key contributors include Desmen Johnson (5-8, sr.), Chris Pullen (6-3, soph.) and Chris Johnson (5-10, sr.).

9. Meadow Heights (6-2)

The Panthers will come into the tournament one player short.

Star point guard Josh Mayfield (5-9, sr.) went down Tuesday night at Woodland and is not expected back until January.

"We are going to miss him, but we have some guys on this squad that can step up," said Meadow Heights coach Tom Brown. "He was our team leader, but now we are going to go to a more balanced attack and use all our weapons."

Mayfield's near 21 points per game will be a big loss for the Panthers, who have Scott Central in the first round.

"We set a goal at the start of the season to come home with a trophy in every tournament we play in," said Brown. "Now I'm not going to say that we are going to come home with the championship, because whoever wins our game will have the number one seed, but we think if we play up to our potential, we can still bring home some hardware."

10. Woodland (6-2)

The Cardinals will be looking to improve on last year's 1-2 record in the tournament.

Alex VanGennip (6-0, jr.) and Luke Johnson (6-2, jr.) are both averaging 14 points a game, and will lead the Cardinals' offense. Michael Owens (5-10, sr.) is another major contributor, averaging 12 a game. Woodland will face Cape Central in the first round Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

"Cape is big compared to us," said Woodland coach Jennings Wilkinson. "We are beginning to show some improvements. I think we play a pretty tough schedule, but the kids need the exposure for the other tournaments we play in. Right now we are simply trying to get better every game."

11. Kelly (1-5)

The tournament will be an uphill battle for the reeling Hawks the entire way, starting with their first round opponent.

Kelly took one on the chin last Tuesday against Advance, and will face them again on Wednesday night. "We have to work on passing and blocking out," said Kelly coach Nick Lanphier. "Tuesday night we didn't play well in the post nor did we rebound. We are really going to have to work to beat Advance."

Major Burger (5-9, jr.) and Barry Ziegler (6-3, sr.) will lead the Hawks on both ends of the floor.

12. Scott City (0-5)

The season has been a major disappointment for Scott City so far, who will look to turn things around in this year's tournament. A win over number five seeded Bell City in the first round Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. could provide that spark. The team is led by Chad Weatherspoon (6-5, jr.), Andy Beck (5-11, soph.) and D.J. Walton (6-1, jr.).

13. Leopold (1-7)

The Wildcats will only go as far as senior forward Scott VenGennip takes them in the tournament. Leopold, who is currently ranked at the bottom of the Mississippi Valley Conference, will take on Oran in the first round Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. To be successful, the Wildcats will need big games from guards Josh Vandeven (6-0, jr.) and Paul Hutchings (5-11, jr.).

14. Delta (2-6)

Although this team is not where they would like to be record-wise at this point in the season, the Bobcats could be a sleeper in this tournament.

Lance Kinder (5-10, sr.) and Craig Bock (6-2, sr.) will be two of the Bobcats' players to watch during the tournament. Delta will face Jackson in the first round Wednesday at noon.

15. Oak Ridge (3-4)

Before the season, Oak Ridge coach Paul Lynch felt getting off to a solid start would be important to the Blue Jays, who are nearly at .500 at this point. That is where Oak Ridge would like to stay.

The Bluejays will look to Adam Hahs (6-1, sr.) Jeff Cowen (6-1, sr.) and Clayton Ruesler (5-8, sr.) will lead the offense. Other key contributors include Zach Ruesler (5-11, jr.) and Ben Ponder (6-2, sr.). Oak Ridge will face Notre Dame in the first round Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

16. Chaffee (1-4)

In three of their four losses the Red Devils have lost by seven points or less. First-year coach David Mirly hopes his young team get over the hump in the tournament and turn those closes losses into victories. Chase Eskew (5-11, sr.) leads the offense, averaging 15 points per game. Andrew Horrell (5-6, sr.) has also been a productive scorer, providing a little over 10 a game.