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Hazelwood East Girls Repeats As Ft. Zumwalt North Tourney Champs

By Jim Wieners

What begun in 2010 at Fort Zumwalt North High School, O’Fallon, has been a tournament for Girls Basketball that is been dominated by North St. Louis County high schools, particularly in the Florissant Valley area.

And now Hazelwood East, in the three-year existence of the tournament, has won the last two in a row including last week. The Spartans successfully defended their Fort Zumwalt North tournament championship with wins over Suburban North Conference rivals, McCluer 44-39 and Hazelwood West, 63-51, sandwiched around a 60-44 victory over host Fort Zumwalt North.

As of Dec. 16 Hazelwood East is 8-1 and according to an internet report it is the best start in the 17-year Hazelwood East career for head coach Terry Creamer. That includes years in which the Spartans made appearances in the state championship semis in 2006 (fourth in state) and 2007 (state runner up).

There were no announcements for an All-Tournament Team and Tournament Most Valuable Player but if there was a Tournament MVP it should have been Nakia Wilson. She led the Spartans with 64 points and scored 30 on making 10 three-point shots including six in the tournament championship against Hazelwood West. “She got hot” Creamer said noting that he said Wilson, who had 31 points, made five consecutive three-point shots.

The first half for East against West was a different story as the Wildcats led 31-22 and Tiara Bramlett had three fouls. “We start the first half pretty shaky,” Creamer said. It did not get any better early in the second half as East called a 30-second timeout and had to put Bramlett back on the bench with four fouls with 5:17 left in the third quarter. Then East went on a roll since the timeout as the Spartans outscored the Wildcats 24-5 and took a 46-40 lead with a quarter to go

East sealed the game with a 17-11 fourth quarter despite having two players fouling out including Bramlett, who had 13 rebounds, and two more played with four fouls. Cearrah Huddleston had 12 rebounds.

In the win over Fort Zumwalt North Wilson led all scorers with 22 points and shot 50 percent from the floor including three out of six shots made from three-point range. In the win over McCluer the Spartans trailed 33-28 after three quarters but the Spartans outscored the Comets 16-6 in the fourth as Bramlett had 13 points while Taylor Miller had 13 rebounds.

HAZELWOOD WEST played four games in five days including a 43-40 non-tourney game loss Dec. 11 at home against Parkway Central. In the loss to Hazelwood East Alexis Robinson led the Wildcats with 25 points and 16 rebounds before fouling out with less than six seconds left as the “Cats had two players fouling out while four more played with four fouls.

The Wildcats got to the championship game with a 71-49 win over top-seeded Lutheran High-St. Charles County in dealing the Cougars their first loss. The Wildcats were led by Tyler Kelly with 18 points while Robinson had 13 rebounds. The ‘Cats edged North Tech 55-53 to open the tournament as Robinson scored 16 points while pulling down 16 rebounds.

NORTH TECH WON THE CONSOLATION TITLE after losing to Hazelwood West by routing Riverview Gardens 64-18 and defeating McCluer 74-56. Against West Khalia Miller scored 14 points and Anjanee Miller had 10 rebounds. In avenging a 34-28 loss two weeks ago to Riverview Viviana Carter scored 16 points while Anjanee Miller pulled down 15 rebounds. In the win over McCluer Khalia Miller scored 28 points and had nine assists while Anjanee Miller had 15 rebounds.

HAZELWOOD EAST, HAZELWOOD WEST AND McCLUER AT DUCHESNE INVITATIONAL — Three of the teams in the Fort Zumwalt North Tournament — Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West and McCluer — will be in St. Charles Dec. 21 to compete in the Duchesne Invitational. East opens at 3 p.m. against John F. Kennedy, West follows at 4:30 against Lutheran South, top-seeded St. Charles plays Jennings at 6 and McCluer takes on Duchesne at 7:30

The Invitational resumes Dec 27 with consolation semifinals at 3 p.m. and 4:30 and winners’ bracket semifinal games at 6  and 7:30. It concludes Dec. 28 with games at 3 (seventh place) 4:30 (consolation championship), 6 third place) and 7:30 (championship game).

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