Sporting WCA

Basketball Teams Win in First Round of Districts, Prepare for Ladue in Semifinals

Boys and Girls Basketball both won their first round District matchups on Saturday afternoon with victories against teams they had already defeated this year. The Boys beat MICDS for the second time in two games, racing out to a 21-point lead at halftime and winning 58-41 while the Girls defeated Visitation 51-40 behind 23 points from Brooke Highmark.

Now, both teams will have to face the Ladue Rams in the District Semifinals with a trip to the District Championship game on the line.

Boys Basketball played first on Saturday at noon. A slow start left the Wildcats trailing 8-6 with a minute left in the first quarter, but a flurry of four points from EJ Williams and a smooth bounce pass from Casen Lawrence to Brennan Orf gave Westminster a 10-8 lead – and the momentum – headed to the second quarter.

Westminster went on a 23-4 run in the next eight minutes that included a stretch of 17 consecutive points and two straight MICDS timeouts that still could not stop the Wildcats. Leading 33-12 at halftime, the Westminster had all but closed the game out before the second half even started.

“We went on a run there because of our defensive intensity and our ball movement on offense,” said Brennan Orf.

Westminster would slow down in the second half. MICDS went on a few small runs, at one point cutting the lead down to 14, but the game never really got close. In the fourth quarter, Brennan Orf  finished through contact for an and-one and later threw down a vicious one-hand dunk in transition that had the spectators on their feet. He would finish with 19 points – a game high – on 8-13 shooting.

MICDS shot just 1-19 from three point range, and their leading scorer, Jack Pronger, was held scoreless for the first time this season.

“We really focused on knowing who we were guarding and knowing what they did well. We made sure on their main offense we took away their first look that got them a lot of threes against us the first time we played them,” said Casen Lawrence.

“[On Tuesday] we’re gonna be trying to play like we played in the first half for all four quarters because we definitely had some mistakes especially during the second half [on Saturday],” said Brennan Orf, “We’re gonna be all gas no brakes on Tuesday night.”

On the other side, Girls Basketball didn’t play quite as well as they had hoped they would. After beating Visitation by 20 points earlier this season, the Wildcats struggled to get anything going throughout the first half. They led by just one point after the first quarter, but Brooke Highmark started to take over in the second and the Wildcats stretched the lead to 11 at halftime.

Visitation kept the game close in the second half while Westminster couldn’t seem to put them away. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Visitation scored to cut the lead to three points then called a timeout. On the very next possession, Kristen Keys hit a three-pointer on the wing. The Wildcats got a stop and hit Macey Lottmann in transition for another three to stretch the lead back to nine. From then on, the Wildcats never let the game get close again.

Visitation started to foul with more than two minutes left, but Westminster made enough free throws to win by 11 points. They went just 6-23 from three point range and shot only 36.4 percent overall from the field. To beat Ladue, they will have to play a much better game.

“We have to work on getting back on defense and boxing out. Offensively we need to run all the way through our sets and be patient,” said Macey Lottmann.

Girls Basketball will play first tonight at 5:30 PM. The Boys game is scheduled for tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.

Ladue’s Girls Basketball team is the two seed in the District tournament. They finished the regular season with a record of 18-6 and defeated Villa by a score of 60-24 in their first round matchup on Saturday. Westminster and Ladue have played once already this year. The Rams defeated the Wildcats 64-60 in the first matchup, a game that came down to the wire and could’ve gone either way, but the Wildcats were just not strong enough on defense in the second half to win.

Westminster will have to play four strong quarters to win, but they have a solid chance at this game. They match up well athletically with the Rams, and if the offense is able to flow better than it did on Saturday, the Wildcats should put up enough points to win.

If they win, they are likely to get a rematch with Parkway North, who they lost to by six points earlier this year.

The Boys teams, on the other hand, have not met this year. The Rams are the number one seed in the District and finished the regular season with a record of 16-8. Although their record is not overly impressive, their resumé of wins is much stronger than any other team in the District. They’ve beaten Kirkwood, Parkway Central, and Webster Groves this season.

Moses Okpala and Evan Schneider, Ladue forwards listed at 6’7” and 6’6” respectively, are both scary figures inside, but both can be contained. If the Wildcats can stop guards Jalen Boyd and Bryce Brussard, who combine to average more than 22 points per game, their chances of winning will increase.

If the Boys win tomorrow, they can pull of a District Championship. They will have to face either Priory or Burroughs, both of whom they’ve beaten already this year, in the District Championship game.

Playoff basketball time at Westminster is one of the most fun times of the year. The program is seeking its first District Championship since the Aaron Cook era, and this year’s chances look better than any year since then. However, there’s only one way to do it when it comes to the playoffs: keep winning.