The Final Four basketball tournament is often called "The Dance."
On Saturday, Webster Groves' Statesmen waltzed away from the Hearnes Center in an emotion-propelled carriage reserved for champions.
Twenty-seven years have passed since the Statesmen played for the title. On Saturday, they won their first, beating West Plains 53-46 for the Class 4A championship. The Statesmen players and fans exulted.
Reserve guard Latrelle Yancey turned a double-somersault at midcourt.
This was a party - and Webster was throwing it.
"It's been a long time - 27 years now - and it's the ultimate," Webster coach Tim Moore said.
Webster's only other state final game was in 1969, when it lost to Sumner in the Class L (large-school) championship.
On Saturday, the Statesmen were in heaven.
"That dressing room is filled with a lot of kids with a lot of heart," Moore said.
Webster (29-3) shut down West Plains' potent offense, which had averaged 81.2 points a game.
"What a great, great defensive job they did in that second half," Moore said. Webster outscored West Plains 24-16 in the second half, after falling behind 30-29 at halftime.
West Plains (29-3) hit only four of 15 shots from 3-point range and shot 33 percent from the floor overall.
Moore said the Statesmen defense has been "our story all year."
That and silky 6-foot-6 forward Johnnie Parker. He was dazzling, scoring a game-high 22 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and notching three steals and three assists.
Parker made two 3s in the first quarter, including the game-opening basket.
In fact, Parker tried to take charge of the celebration - …