As the Missouri small-class state tournaments are scheduled to begin today, the West Platte boys basketball team can lay claim to being the only perfect squad still alive in the state.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Except St. Pius X is perfect, too. Only in a much less obvious way.
The Missouri Class 3, 2 and 1 girls and boys semifinals will take place today at Mizzou Arena and the Hearnes Center. West Platte will take an unblemished 29-0 record into its Class 2 semifinal game with Iberia, an 8:20 p.m. matchup at Mizzou Arena. Yes, the Blue Jays are the only team in the state with a zero still showing in the loss column.
But St. Pius X is perfect in a different manner. The Warriors, 22-6 overall, remain unbeaten against small-class teams — including its own Class 3 opponents — heading into today’s semifinal game against Fatima. Tipoff is set for 1:40 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.
St. Pius X has suffered losses against Rockhurst, Liberty North, Truman Center (twice) and Smithville. All five teams play in Class 5 or Class 4. In addition, all have winning records.
“With our schedule, I think we’re prepared to play anybody,” Warriors coach Chad Wright said. “... These guys have been through it all and seen it all. We don’t expect any surprises.”
While St. Pius X is making its first appearance in the Final Four in 23 years, West Platte is become somewhat of a regular fixture. This marks the fourth appearance over the last 11 seasons for the Blue Jays, who are still in search of the school’s first state championship.
West Platte is largely considered the team to beat in Class 2 — for more reasons that its undefeated record. It has unmatched size in Class 2 with three starters at 6 feet 5 or taller. The leader of that group, Adam Roe, is a dynamic wing player who can post up, shoot from the perimeter and create open looks for his teammates.
“It’s awesome when you have a kid everyone focuses on, and he can give it up to find other kids when they’re open,” West Platte coach Zane Tanner said. “That’s something he’s understanding now – how to get everyone involved. He’s able to recognize those things.”
In Class 3 girls, Cameron, 19-11, looks to continue its unexpected run through the state bracket.
In Class 1 boys, Drexel, 29-1, will face Eminence at 3:20 p.m. inside the Hearnes Center. Drexel reached the state championship game a year ago, where it lost to Scott County Central. The Bobcats’ only loss this season was a nine-point defeat to Center on Dec. 17.