Hazelwood Central Semi-final Bound, First Time Since 1994
By Jim Wieners
It has been 20 years since Hazelwood Central Boys Basketball played in the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Game but now the Hawks are two victories away from not only winning the school’s first state title but the first state hoop title, boys or girls, in Hazelwood School District history.
“It’s a great time,” said Hazelwood Central head coach Josh Martin after the Hawks’ State Quarterfinal win over Fort Zumwalt South at Lindenwood University‘s Hyland Arena. “I’m happy for our kids, our school and our community.”
Thursday, March 20, Hazelwood Central heads to Mizzou Arena, on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia for a scheduled 8:30 p.m. Class Five Semifinal game against Hickman, a high school just two miles north of Mizzou Arena on Providence Road. It is the final game of the day following another boys Class Five Semifinal game between Christian Brothers College High (CBC) against Lee’s Summit West, which is scheduled for a 6:50 p.m. tip off. The losers of the two semifinal games will have little sleep time and no preparation for the Friday, March 21, third-place game which is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. On the other hand the boys’ semifinal winners will have a day off to prepare for the Saturday, March 22, Championship game scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Although it is the first time that Hazelwood Central is playing in the MSHSAA State Semifinals since 1994 it is not the first time the Hawks are playing at Mizzou Arena and it is the second time Central is playing Hickman. On Jan. 26 at Mizzou Arena, in the third of four games played in four days, the second of three neutral site games the Hawks were dealt their worst loss of the season as the Hickman Kewpies won 71-48. So Martin, in his first state semifinal game as Hawk coach, said “I really look forward” to the rematch between the Hawks and the Kewpies.
Of the five losses for the 25-5 Hazelwood Central three of them have meaning. Besides the rematch against Hickman, Republic, who defeated the Hawks 68-53 Dec. 20, 2013 in Waynesville, is playing at Mizzou Arena against Jefferson City-Helias Catholic March 21 in the Class Four State Semifinals and Cardinal Ritter, who won at Central 75-65 Feb. 20, won the Class Three State title last weekend at Mizzou Arena. “We played a very competitive schedule,” Martin said.
THREE-POINTERS BURY FORT ZUMWALT SOUTH — Hazelwood Central made 11 shots from three point range March 15 at Lindenwood in a 75-52 rout of Fort Zumwalt South. The Hawks, who led by has many as 29 points in the fourth quarter, had four players score in double figures. Demarco Buchanan — who hit four shots from three-point range — and Ranell Crossland scored 14 points each to lead the Hawks. Xavier Sneed, who made three treys, had a double-double scoring 13 points and pulling down 12 rebounds while Dominique Dobbs scored 12.
“Our guys were consistent all night,” Martin said.
HAWKS GO 2-0 VERSUS LADUE, McCLUER NORTH — Hazelwood Central won the March 12 Sectional at St. Charles West over Ladue-Horton Watkins, 69-52, and wrapped up the District Seven title March 8 at a jam-packed Hazelwood West gym with a 56-54 win over McCluer North ending a string of consecutive district titles for the Stars at four. The Hawks had defeated Ladue 56-51 to win the St. John Vianney Jerry Boeckman Invitational title Dec. 9, 2013, rescheduled from Dec. 6 due to a snowstorm. The Hawks begin their run for the Suburban North Conference title and a 7-0 league record Jan 11 with a 55-49 win at McCluer North.
Against Ladue the Hawks overcame a 14 point deficit to defeat the Rams for the second time this season as Crossland scored 24 points and Buchanan added 16. In the District Seven tile game Quaron Gooch, who scored 12 points, hit a three-pointer with 1:31 left in the fourth quarter that ended McCluer North’s district title streak at four while Buchanan led the Hawks with 15 points, hitting three treys and Crossland added 12.
HAWKS ALSO 2-0 VERSUS COMETS — The Hawks opened District Seven March 4 with a 76-34 rout of McCluer at Hazelwood West as Buchanan scored 16 points, Sneed added 15 and Marcus George scored 10. Central had defeated the Comets 78-60 at McCluer on Feb. 6 in a Suburban North game.
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