Statesmen Win Third Crown in Meramec Event

Article excerpt

Webster Groves High senior Bill Shell wasn't 100 percent Thursday night. But he was good enough.

"Either I'm coming down with the flu or it was just nerves," he said. "I didn't feel very good before the game, but I stuck it out."

Shell scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, lifting the Statesmen past Parkway Central 50-46 in the title game of the 16th annual Holiday Festival Basketball Tourament at Meramec Community College.

"My job is get everyone going, to get my team hyped up," said Shell, a 6-foot-2 guard. "We take a lot of pride in doing well here, and I thought we really came together as a team this week."

It was the third Meramec title for the Statesmen (7-3), who also won in 1985 and 1986. Webster finished second in 1987, 1988 and 1992.

"I'm not sure why, but we always seem to play well in this gym," Statesmen coach Tim Moore said. "Maybe we should look into playing all our home games here."

Fourth-seeded Webster led 11-9 after one quarter and began to pull away late in the first half, using an 11-2 run to open up a 28-18 halftime advantage.

The Statesmen maintained that lead through most of the second half. But Central, the tournament's seventh seed, went down fighting. A high-arcing 3-pointer by the Colts' P.J. May cut the Webster lead to four at 48-44. Central would get no closer.

"You'd like to say we came in here and played 32 minutes of beautiful basketball, but that wasn't the case," Moore said. "I thought we had chances to pull away, but Central wouldn't let us do it.

"But I thought the difference was our defense. …