Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Season's Abrupt End Painful for Ritter

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Season's Abrupt End Painful for Ritter

Article excerpt

The pain no doubt still lingers for Cardinal Ritter after its 60-58 double-overtime loss to Portageville in the Missouri Class 2A quarterfinals Saturday.

Ritter (25-4) was the prohibitive favorite even though Portageville (26-3) is the three-time defending Class 2A champion and had beaten Ritter in the quarterfinals two of the previous three seasons.

Ritter - with a seemingly indomitable frontline of 6-foot-10 Jahidi White, 6-11 Loren Woods and 6-7 Chris Carrawell - led by three points near the end of regulation before Antonio Sykes canned a 3-pointer, forcing OT.

In the second OT, Sykes made a free throw that gave Portageville its 60-58 lead. After he missed the second shot, Ritter's Loren Woods was called for a questionable travel call that all but sealed Ritter's fate.

Ritter had other objections.

At the start of the second OT, the 5-9 Sykes jumped center against White, who is a foot taller.

Obviously, Portageville was conceding the possession. But Sykes never jumped. As White tipped the ball, Sykes scurried in front of Woods and intercepted the ball.

"You cannot do that," Ritter coach Preston Thomas said. "That's against the rules. (Sykes is) the guy in the circle. In that situation, Sykes negates himself as a person who can get the ball until somebody else touches it."

Still, Ritter scored the first basket of the second OT.

"But we didn't get the first possession," Thomas said.

Moments later, Portageville's LaKeith Noel scored and Sykes nailed his free throw for the clincher.

"We did the things to get into position to win," Thomas said. Ritter won the 2A crown in 1990. Portageville beat the Lions in 1991 and '92.

"For Jahidi's sake, I'm glad the high school game is over," Thomas said. "He may receive kinder treatment from referees on the collegiate level."

He may receive kinder treatment from an unadoring public, too. …

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