IWA Dominant, Undefeated, Class Four Girls State Hoop Champions
By Jim Wieners
Incarnate Word Academy Girls Basketball completed their first undefeated season since the Missouri State High School Activities Association included this sport’s playoff championship in 1973, the first for girls’ sports.
IWA was 31-0 with 27 wins being decided by 20 points or more. The only game decided by single figures was three over Hoover, Ala., (59-56) Nov. 24, 2012, in Murphysboro, Tenn. The largest margin of victory was by 76 points over Fort Zumwalt East (96-20) in the opening round of the Troy-Buchanan Pepsi Invitational. Three other games that were decided between 10-20 points were against repeat Class Five State Champion Columbia Rock Bridge (56-39 on Feb. 2 in the Webster Groves Winter Challenge Final) and two over arch-rival St. Joseph’s Academy (49-34 Dec. 28, 2012 in the Visitation Christmas Tournament Final and 56-44 Feb. 9 at St. Joe in a Midwest Women’s Athletic Association White Division Game).
Clearly IWA dominated competition during the 2012-13 season including Class Five opponents. However the enrollment from the 2011-12 school year — adjusted to 1037 students, according to MSHSAA — had IWA compete in Class Four. So the first undefeated season for IWA was the school’s fifth state championship for Girls Basketball and the first in Class Four but third for the school behind Girls Volleyball (11) and Girls Soccer (nine), giving the school 25 MSHSAA titles since 1973.
After winning District Five at Soldan International Studies IWA steamrolled through the Class Four competition winning by between 25 and 52 points. IWA defeated Mary Institute/Country Day School, 61-36, March 6 at Parkway West after leading 34-16 at halftime, and previously once-beaten Kirksville, 78-26, March 9 at Francis Howell Central in Cottleville as the Red Knights had Kirksville buried 69-15 after three quarters. At Mizzou Arena, Columbia, IWA won both their Class Four Semifinal and Championship games by 41 points each as the Red Knights steam-rolled over Dexter, 66-25 on March 14, and over Webb City, 63-22 on March 16, to wrap up the 2012-13 season.
Against Dexter IWA opened up a 36-10 halftime lead and the Red Knights built it up to 57-20 after three quarters as Napheesa Collier made 12 out of 15 shots and scored 28 points to go along with 16 rebounds. In the title game against Webb City the Red Knights poured it on again as the had a 54-19 lead through three quarters before the non-stop mercy-rule clock, which went into effect for the fourth straight game, put a quick end to the game. Collier, against Webb City, made nine of 10 shots and hit all six free throws to score 24 points while pulling down 10 out of 14 rebounds on defense.
NORTH TECH TAKES FOURTH IN CLASS THREE — North Technical’s first state trip in Girls Basketball resulted in a Fourth Place Finish in Class three as the Golden Eagles, at Mizzou Arena, lost 65-61 March 7, to eventual Class Three State Champion Lutheran High St. Charles County in the Semifinals, and fell hard March 8 in the third place game as North Tech lost to St. James, 65-44, ending the Golden Eagles season at 20-10.
North Tech led by 10 in the first quarter but Lutheran outscored the Golden Eagles 38-21 in the second and third quarters. The Cougars built the lead to 10 in the fourth quarter over the Eagles, whose 24-19 rally got to within two but no closer as the Cougars won by four. In the third place game St. James led for 30:50 and sealed the game in the second and third quarters by outscoring North Tech, 32-14.
HAZELWOOD CENTRAL FALLS IN CLASS 5 QUARTERFINALS — Hazelwood Central’s hopes of returning to Mizzou Arena for the first time since 2009 ended March 9 at Robert Hyland Arena, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, with a 51-40 Quarterfinal loss to Cor Jesu Academy, fourth-place finishes March `6 at Mizzou Arena. Central, on March 6 at the Mark Twain Building, University of Missouri-St. Louis, won the sectional game 49-39 over Fort Zumwalt South. Alexis Chappelle led the Hawks with 20 points over Fort Zumwalt South and 13 over Cor Jesu.
“I’m proud of (the Hawks) playing well this season,” said Hazelwood Central head coach Wendy Reeves.
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