Posted On: 12/29/17 10:58 AM

Prep Hoops Missouri spent the entire day at the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. The semifinals set for this evening with No. 1 seed St. Mary’s taking on Kirkwood and No. 2 Hazelwood Central vs. No. 3 Jennings. Here is look at what I witnessed throughout the day.

Top Player: Yuri Collins (St. Mary’s) – The 2019 point guard scored 13 points in the Dragons victory over McCluer North in the quarterfinals. The point totals only tell a part of the story. When the Dragons were struggling with the Stars in the fourth quarter, Collins cut loose and took over the game with a litany of drives, transition layups and nice dimes to open teammates to get his team going. He is the consummate pass-first point guard who gets his teammates involved, but can get buckets when the situation is needed.

The Shooters: Avery Taggert, a big-bodied 6’4″ 2019 wing from Eureka, made four 3-pointers in the victory over St. Charles West in the consolation bracket. Jonah McDowell, a long, lefty 6’4″ 2019 wing from Kirkwood, made three 3-pointers in the Pioneers’ 45-44 victory over SLUH in the quarterfinals.

The Dunkers: There was impressive dunking during the semifinals. With Hazelwood Central trailing early in the quarterfinal match-up with Ritenour, the Hawks got going with back-to-back-to-back dunks from 2018 guards Shaun Williams and Cameron Williams. Shaun Williams got it started with a steal and break-away dunk. Cameron Williams followed with a transition dunk off a turnover and an impressive baseline tomahawk dunk…….Jennings High 6’6″ 2018 forward Jordan Brown scored on an impressive baseline drive and dunk in the Warriors’ victory over Rockwood Marquette. He drove baseline and soared in for the dunk……Presley Ingram, a 6’3″ forward from Marquette, had a very nice tomahawk dunk in that same game against Jennings.

YaYa the Young Beast: 6’9″ 2021 forward YaYa Keita of DeSmet is fast emerging as one of the top freshmen in the state. Keita had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the Spartans’ victory over Lafayette in morning consolation action. Last week, Keita had 24 points in a loss to CBC. YaYa has excellent size, a good body and a motor that never stops. He is really starting to make things happen.

Role Player Extraordinaire: I was impressed with the play of Jack Kanzler, a burly 6’3″ 2018 forward from Kirkwood. He scored eight points in the Pioneers’ victory over SLUH, but he did so many other things to contribute to the victory and Kirkwood’s undefeated record. He rebounds, hustles for loose balls and always seems to be around the action. With SLUH looking for the game-winning shot in the closing seconds, Kirkwood got a the final stop for a 45-44 victory and Kanzler was in the middle of it with a block and steal to seal the victory. I made it point to talk to him later that evening.

Battle of Solid Bigs: In the consolation bracket game between Vianney and Parkway West, I enjoyed watching the battle between 6’7″ 2018 bigs Colin Braun of Vianney and Michael Akinwumi of Parkway West. Both players scored in double figures and were very physical throughout the contest and neither one was backing down. And the referees let them play, which was good.  It was fun to watch.