Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pommies Heading to Orlando

Had a great time Friday afternoon, shooting the Pommies as they prepare to head to Orlando, Florida for the National Competition.  These are amazing young ladies, and they've worked extremely hard to prepare for this "First-Ever" trip.  They've also worked tirelessly fundraising, so they deserve a lot of credit, along with their coach, Stacy Taubman.

We were shooting for a poster to commemorate the trip, so the ladies donned the Minnie Mouse ears and started having fun.  I know I'm biased, but can there be any cuter girls than ours?  They're smart, fun, and just plain wonderful.  I know they will represent our school with great class and character and make us all proud.  I wish I could join you on your trip, but it looks like I'll be digging out of all the ice and snow!

Travel Safe!!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pioneers Win Thriller!! Sweep Lindbergh

The Freshmen and Sophomore teams took care of business in setting up the "Main Event" of the evening.  The varsity Pioneers outlasted the Flyers the last time the two teams met, back in December at the Meramec Tournament in a tough 2-point game.  Tonight figured to be just as tightly contested, and it did not disappoint.  There were numerous lead changes throughout the game, as each team would go on runs that would be matched by later runs by their opponent.    

Midway through the 3rd quarter, the atmosphere in the gym took on an entirely new intensity when the opposing cheerleading squads had an impromptu "Flip Off" tumbling battle.  Both student sections followed their lead, and the end of the 3rd quarter felt like the end of a district playoff game. The buzz continued through the 4th quarter as the lead continued to change hands.  Ben Crancer played some outstanding defense in causing a 5-second violation against the Flyers which led to Clark Randall getting fouled.  He calmly knocked down 2 huge free throws, giving the Pioneers a 4 point lead late.  

Lindbergh used valuable time setting up a 3-point shot, but hit the shot and cut the lead to one with just under 5 seconds remaining, and called time out to set up their defense.  They stole the inbounds pass and had two looks at the basket, but were unable to capitalize, and the Pioneers hung on for a 1-point win.  KUDOS to the KHS student section for amping up the environment, and to the KHS Cheerleaders for protecting our turf. . . : )

Hard fought conference games are always tough to lose, but this one also had District seeding implications, so it was an extra-big win for the Pioneers.  They are back in action on Tuesday as they host SLUH in an early evening (6:30pm) contest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pioneers vs Parkway West

It was a night of basketball and male pommies and snow and cold. . . it started off with a freshman game that saw the Pioneers playing some stingy defense, with Antonio Weston blocking numerous shots and scoring around the basket.  This kid can really elevate, and when you envision him in a couple of years playing along side fellow shot blocker, freshman Evan Booker, you have to smile at the defensive possibilities!  The Pioneers will own the paint!

The sophomore game saw a tight back and forth contest come down to the wire.  With the Pioneers ahead by 1, the Longhorns worked the ball around and found sophomore BJ Dean for what appeared to be the winning bucket with around 5 seconds left.  But the Pioneers inbounded quickly and #2, Andrew Wentworth was fouled attempting a "3" at the buzzer.  The officials cleared the free throw lane, and Andrew would have 3 attempts to make 2 and seal the win.  (Now, anyone who's ever played the game has dreamed of this scenario. . . you're at the line with a chance to win it for your team with no time on the clock. . . )  Andrew stepped to the line and calmly nailed the first two to win it.  That's really pressure shooting!!

For the Varsity, it was "same song, different verse". . . The Pioneers fell behind early, but came roaring back only to see the Longhorns go on a run of their own to down the Pioneers.  It was tough to find any points early.  Clark Randall knocked down a couple 3's.  Evan Booker continued his uncanny shot blocking.  He's so good, I think he fools some officials.  They expect him to foul and sometimes make calls they "think" are going to happen when he really doesn't foul.  But he always keeps his composure.  

Larry Toomey, the Longhorn's 6'6" Senior forward played a nice all-around game, handling the ball, scoring inside, and knocking down free throws.  He led the Longhorns with 16 points.  

At halftime, it was time for the male-pommies.  They didn't disappoint with their routine, but their choice to throw talcum powder in the air was a poor one.  I'm not sure what would cause someone to do this, I guess it's the LaBron James thing, but the powder is tough to clean off the floor and makes it extremely slippery.  The game was delayed both at halftime, and during the 4th quarter as they tried to mop up all the excess powder.  Fellas, you should just stick to dancing. . . as it was obvious based on the crowd response, that you really came through in that department.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This week in Hoops

It was a tough week in hoops for the varsity Pioneers, but the sophs mounted a furious comeback to earn a big win over Marquette on Tuesday night.  

The Pioneers met #1 seeded Chaminade in the Finals of the Denver Miller Tournament last Saturday, and came out battling.  It was a physical ballgame, and it was clear that the Pioneers would not be intimidated or back down from the highly regarded Red Devils or their All-American Bradley Beal.  Beal took some punishment on his trips to the rim, but give him credit, he bounced up from tough hits and kept attacking.  Then he heated up from the outside, hitting seven 3's.  His teammates were equally hot, and when that happens, Chaminade will be tough to beat.  

The Pioneers ran into another Div. I prospect in Ryan Rosburg and the Marquette Mustangs.  The Pioneers fell behind early, but rallied to cut the deficit to 4 late in the first half.  Marquette mounted a rally of their own in the second half, and turnovers doomed the Pioneers.  

One real bright spot was the continued tough defensive play by 6'4" freshman Evan Booker.  He had at least 5 blocks on the 6'8" Rosburg, which I think took the Marquette junior by surprise.  This was no fluke, however, as Booker has distinguished himself as one of the best young shot blockers around.  He has long arms, good athleticism, and excellent timing, and a "hard-to-come-by" understanding of how to block shots without fouling.  You can't watch this kid play without wondering just how good he can become in the next 3 1/2  years!!  

The sophomores used full court pressure in their game against the Mustangs to force several key turnovers necessary to complete a thrilling come-from-behind win.  Eric McWoods hit some big free-throws down the stretch to seal the victory.  I like watching this team play.  They play hard and never stop competing.  

You won't want to miss the game Friday night, as the Pioneers take on the Longhorns from Parkway West.  It should be a great game, with the added attraction of the "Male Pommies" show at halftime.  It'll be a fun way to spend a snowy Friday night at The Wood!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Not since Jeremy Maclin, the sizzling Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, (who just happened to be in the gym tonight) led the Pioneers to the Final Four has an athlete of this caliber displayed his talents on the hardwood at KHS!  I had seen highly-touted Bradley Beal play as a sophomore, and thought he was good, but didn't quite get all the hype. . . well, now I get it!!  The kid can do it all. . . handle it, hit the 3, defend, and there's little doubt that he can get to the rim and finish with authority!  The Championship Game is at 2:00pm today as Beal's Chaminade squad takes on our very own Pioneers, who have cruised into the final with two 20+ point victories.  If you like high school sports, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on this one. . .

Kirkwood beat Duschene in the other semi-final game.  Lawrence Williams was a beast on the boards, and even had a rebound/transition/assist to Ben Crancer for a "3"!  "Larry" always plays hard and is just a good kid.  It's fun to see him have success.  My player-of-the-game, however, was #12 Mike McDowell.  Like Larry, he is just relentless, but what impresses me most is his self-control.  I think he has one of the best basketball demeanors I've ever seen.  He never gets frazzled and always maintains his composure, even when he receives an unnecessarily hard foul.  Way to go, Mike!!

The Pommies added to the festivities, as they perfomed their colorful "80's Routine" as they continue to prepare for their trip to Nationals in Orlando in February.  Keep up the good work, ladies!

C'mon out and root on your Pioneers as they go for a Championship, today at 2:00pm. . . Football can wait!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Denver Miller Tournament Kicks Off

The Denver Miller Basketball Tournament kicked off at Kirkwood High School tonight.  #1 seeded Chaminade handled Jennings, while the #2 seeded Kirkwood Pioneers dismantled Metro.  Duschene topped Riverview, while Eureka beat Normandy by 1.  

Tomorrow's bracket includes Metro vs. Riverview, Normandy vs. Jennings, Kirkwood vs. Duschene, and Chaminade vs. Eureka.

Chaminade boast one of America's finest high school players in Bradley Beal, while Kirkwood has one of the area's top freshmen in Evan Booker.    

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wrestlers Grapple with Webster and WIN!!

It was my first wrestling match in almost 2 years, and I can't understand why it's been so long between matches. . . Wrestling is almost like cross country in a way;  not a ton of people go to watch, but those who do realize they have seen something special.  (And I hope they tell their friends to come watch!)  I was watching several early matches and thought to myself, "Hey, that's just what every day is like for me!"  You struggle, and run into obstacles and you can either quit or keep fighting.  These kids certainly chose the latter option, and kept battling even when things weren't going their way.  The Pioneers came out on top on the scoreboard, but it was hard to see any losers.

They'll go back to practice tomorrow and use tonight's match as a learning experience and continue to put in the mind-numbing hours of work it takes to reach their goals.  Thanks for the inspiration, fellas!  Keep Working!!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gunn Family

I headed over to my friend, Bill Gunn's house in Fenton on an unusually balmy (temp. in the 60s!)  New Year's Eve Day to take some family photos.  Bill has a great family, and we had a good time getting some fun pics.  We headed outside, but that session was cut short as a thunderstorm rolled in.  I left shortly thereafter, and as I turned on to 141 to head North towards home, I was caught in some traffic.  I noticed the church had damage to it's roof and a tree was torn up, and then the ambulance and police started arriving.  Traffic stopped and I got out of the car and saw a car (pictured below) flipped over.  It wasn't until later that day that I learned an F3 tornado had passed through town and done tremendous damage.  It was reported that there were no major injuries or deaths in town, so I can assume the people in the car were ultimately OK.  Several homes were completely destroyed, however.  It proved to be a New Year's Eve that will be long remembered. . .


Meramec Holiday Tournament 2010

The Meramec Holiday Tournament is consistently one of the best, most competitive basketball tournaments in the area.  This year was no exception, with Hazelwood Central proving to be the cream of the crop.  They are an explosive team that can get up and down the floor with the best of them, and if you make a mistake, they WILL capitalize on it.  

The Pioneers had to do battle without starting point guard, Ben Crancer, who was out with a wicked combination of the Flu and Strep Throat.  Justin Byrd did a nice job filling in, and showed that he has some toughness, hitting two free throws to seal the Pioneers victory over a much-improved Lindbergh squad.  

Watching talented young people play a game they love is not a bad way to spend a holiday week. . .