Posted On: 12/9/17 7:04 AM
After winning the Class 5 state championship in 2017, the Webster Groves Statesmen opened their new season with a couple of wins over Maplewood and Lee’s Summit North to advance to the championship game of their own Webster Classic today against Northwest Academy.
The Statesmen will be without their five-star 2018 point guard Courtney Ramey until sometime in January while he is one the mend from a broken wrist. His loss is big on so many levels from his scoring, rebounding, defense, playmaking and overall team leadership.
Here are five takeaways from the Statesmen so far.
Jacobi Banks gets on the job training: Starting at point guard in Ramey’s absence is 6’0″ 2020 Jacobi Banks. He is a talented kid who get a good education as the Statesmen embark on its national schedule, beginning next week. He is physically strong and a solid ball handler with the potential to be a good defender. He will have his moments of struggle as a young guard, but he should be well battle-tested come late season when the Statesmen start playing for high stakes.
Carte’are Gordon is a beast: The 6’8″ Saint Louis U. recruit was a dominant force on Friday night against Lee’s Summit North with 18 points, eight rebounds a game-high seven assists. His passing was the highlight of the evening as he constantly found open teammates from the high post for easy buckets. He also brought the ball up the court, which he is fully capable of doing. With Ramey out and Banks learning on the job, Gordon’s playmaking ability will come to the forefront as the team can run offense through him.
The Statesmen can shoot: With Gordon being the focal point of the offense, the immediate inclination for opposing teams is to surround him with a zone defense. Do it at your own risk. The Statesmen have a number of young men who can ring the bell from long distance. 2018 guard R.J. Wright scored 14 points and knocked down four 3-pointers against Lee’s Summit North. In the opening victory against Maplewood, 2019 guard Ray Adams scored 18 points on six 3-pointers. These two young men have excellent range and a lot of confidence.
There is firepower off the bench: The Statesmen have a couple of capable offensive players coming off the bench in 2019 guards Dallas King and Amorey Womack. They combined for 15 points against Lee’s Summit North on Friday. Both are also good 3-point shooters who aren’t shy about letting it fly. They can also keep the pressure off on Gordon with their scoring prowess.
Overall outlook: If Ramey makes the full recovery as expected, the Statesmen will be fully equipped to make another run at a state championship. They have a lot of offensive weapons, but can they replicate the defensive intensity that was lost with the graduation of gritty players such as Cam Potts, Kevin Butler, Donovan Daniels and Isaiah Ford. And make no mistake, it’s the defensive end where coach Jay Blossom likes to hang his hat. Their mettle will be tested mightily by this national schedule without their leader, but it could all pay off come late February and early March.