Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Madison Prep Beats Defending Champs; Bears Move on into Class 3 Sectional after One-Point Win over Cardinal Ritter; CLASS 3 DISTRICT 5 BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Madison Prep Beats Defending Champs; Bears Move on into Class 3 Sectional after One-Point Win over Cardinal Ritter; CLASS 3 DISTRICT 5 BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Marvin Neals sat behind his desk, silent.

The longtime Cardinal Ritter boys basketball coach, Neals was surrounded by the memories of this season and many before it. They are all that's left of this season memories.

The defending Class 3 champion, top seed Cardinal Ritter was upended by No. 2 seed Madison Prep 71-70 on Saturday in the Class 3 District 5 tournament championship game at Cardinal Ritter.

Madison Prep (17-10) advanced to play Duchesne (17-10) in a sectional at 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Charles West. The No. 2 small school in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, Cardinal Ritter ended its season at 21-6.

"They were the best team today," Neals said. "Their size was too much for us today. We didn't have size to match their size."

All season, the Lions leaned on 6-foot-7 junior Brandon Jackson to provide their muscle under the basket. He was their best rebounder and rim defender. Paired with undersized, but strong freshman Donnell Sharp, the duo did what it had to to keep opposing teams from having their way in the paint.

Jackson was hit with two first-quarter fouls and Neals rolled the dice by letting him stay on the floor. Jackson picked up his third on an offensive foul with 6 minutes and 13 seconds to play in the second quarter. With 4:54 left in the second, Jackson was called for his fourth foul.

"Sometimes you have to gamble," Neals said. "We had one person with size and they had five."

Without Jackson, Madison Prep was able to exploit Ritter's lack of size for offensive rebounds and prevent the Lions from many second-chance points. The Bears owned the paint and none were more effective than 6-8 sophomore Levi Stockard. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds. He knocked down 10 of his 12 free throws. Every one of them mattered and, in crunch time, Stockard connected in the pressure of the moment.

"You don't think about it," Stockard said. "It comes down to repetition. You use your muscle memory, that's it."

Madison Prep sophomore guard Daniel "Peanut" Farris finished with 20 points. He was a closer for the Bears as his presence grew stronger as the game wore on. He scored 18 points in the second half and hit 10 of his 13 free throws. …

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