Posted On: 03/5/18 10:08 AM
Prep Hoops takes a look at the upper half of the Class 5 Bracket and makes a few predictions on how some of the teams will do. We will also see who might be a sleeper and who has a great chance of advancing to the Final 4. This year’s State Tournament is loaded with talent and great competition from top to bottom. Because I am around the Kansas City area, I have watched the KC teams a little more, but have seen a little bit of everyone this year. The Bracket will also be shown below.
Hazelwood Central vs Poplar Bluff
We are going to take Hazelwood Central in this matchup. These two teams met earlier in the year in which Hazelwood Central came away with a close one. Poplar Bluff has a few solid kids on their team especially with a great scoring guard in Tyler Cline. The kid can shoot from anywhere on the court, but with the length, speed, and athleticism from Hazelwood Central, it’s going to be tough to get good looks. Xander Martin and Carlton McDonald have the ability to knock it down from deep as well, and in order for Poplar Bluff to make this a game, they will really have to have it going. Shaun Williams and Cameron Williams are probably one of the best if not the best duo guard combo in the state of Missouri. Both can play way above the rim and can score from anywhere on the court. Shaun Williams does it all on both ends of the ball, and I’m not sure he can be stopped. Poplar Bluff will also struggle with size. Although they have a solid big man in Nik Rowland, it’s going to be difficult when Hazelwood Central brings size all around, plus big man Xavier Ball has been playing some of his basketball as of late. My pick is going to be Hazelwood Central in this matchup and for them to make it all the way to the Championship game.
Chaminade vs Francis Howell
Francis Howell is a very good basketball team who all play together as a team. They all share the ball very well and on any given night, any of their starters can take over. With that being said, they are going to have a tough first round matchup against one of the best in Missouri. The awesome thing about Francis Howell is that they have a great shot at being back in this position next season as well. Like I said above, they are a very balanced and well sharing team, although they have a stud guard in Daylan Dalton who can score with the best of them. He’s not the biggest on the court, but the kid shows a lot of grit and heart. Forward Matt Schark is usually pretty efficient on the offensive end and is highly relied on when it comes to the defensive end. Chaminade on the other hand has scorers all over especially in the NC State signee Jericole Hellems. This kid is an absolute beast and is nearly impossible to stop. He has great size and can rise above anyone to get his shot off. He’s a strong player who knows the game of basketball better than almost everyone. The Red Devils also Point Guard Jadis White and guard Keyyaun Batchman who both have the ability to get 20 on any given night. These two can flat out shoot the rock. Sophomore Big Man Luke Kasubke is key for this Red Devils team. He might be the reason for this team to make a Championship run when it comes down to it. He’s really been playing great as of lately, and he knows how to work hard and muscle the other bigs in the paint. I’m going to take Chaminade to take down Francis Howell in this game, but lose a tough battle against Hazelwood Central in the second round.
Rock Bridge vs Willard
This in my opinion could end up being a lopsided matchup, but because these are still the best of the best, you never really know. Rock Bridge also a Junior filled team will probably be in the same spot a year from now, but that’s not going to stop them from trying to win a State Championship. Rock Bridge with only one loss isn’t very accustomed to losing, and have 3 big time players who are a big reason why. Isaiah Mosley is one of the better 2019 players in the class of Missouri and is the leader of this team. He can play in the paint or he can knock it down from the outside. He’s a smart basketball player who knows how to score, and his goal is to lead his team to a Title. Dajuan Harris is another guy that this Bruins team relies on. He’s a very smart and lengthy point guard who does what he needs to in order to help his team win. He can get 25 for you if needed, or he can dish out 10 dimes. His length really helps him out on the defensive end. He gets a lot of deflections and steals which in turns leads to breakaway scores and usually dunks if Harris has any say in it. Jamonta Black has really put together a pretty solid Junior campaign as well. He’s more a knock down shooter. With his great size, he’s able to get good looks almost whenever he wants. If all 3 of these guys all have it going, they will be tough to stop. Willard High School will really need to step it up if they want to come out and pull off the upset. They do have a couple of big guys that Rock Bridge could have trouble with defending. Daniel Abreu and Isaac Davis are both young and solid bigs who could cause a little havoc. Because of their youth, I’m not sure if they will be able to take full advantage of their size. They will also need Sophomore Point Guard Maurice Grayer to step up his game and knock down some big shots when needed. It’s going to be a tough game for this Willard team. I think Rock Bridge will be able to make it to the Final Four where they will run into Hazelwood Central and lose a tough one with them.
Parkview vs Joplin
Parkview and Joplin has the potential to be one of the better games in the first round. Parkview had to upset the two top seeded teams in their district to make into the State Tournament, and they did so thanks to their star player Tyem Freeman. The very fast rising 2019 guard/wing has been making a lot of noise his Junior year. This is his first year for Parkview and he’s made it a memorable one. He’s what keeps this team going. He is pretty quick, he can shoot it from the outside, he can block your shot, and he can Jam it with the best of them. He’s a high flyer, and if he has a say, they will make some noise in the State Tournament. They will need others to step up though. Guards Dontae Taylor, Daru Elliot, and Damarcus Mason are going to have to put together some good performances if they want to win some games. They are all 3 pretty scrappy guards and have the ability to shoot form the outside if needed, but it’s not where they excel from. They like to turn their defense into offense. Big man Latre Morrison will also have to put together some of his best performances on both ends of the ball. Joplin on the other end does have some 3 point shooters and they can score the ball. Where Joplin really lacks is their size, they aren’t the biggest team out there, and that could hurt them. Luckily Parkview isn’t huge either, so their size won’t be a big factor in the first game. Joplin is led by Senior Guard Austin Higdon. Higdon is the heart and soul of this team, and he will need to keep is great season going if they want to beat Parkview. Higdon enjoys playing on both sides of the ball, but he really excels at scoring the ball. He has a solid stroke, but can score from anywhere on the court. Zac Mooreland isn’t the biggest guy on the court, but he has a great ability at finishing at the rim. He’s a hard worker and will get on the floor for loose balls. Guards Braeden Testerman and Evan Guillory will have hit their shots in order for this team to move on. Both of these guys can really stroke the ball when left open, and they have proven that. With that being said, I am going to take Parkview in a close one. I think Freeman is going to be too much to handle. I do think that they will come a little short when having to play Rock Bridge though. That should be a good little reunion with Freeman and the Rock Bridge boys.