Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dragons Win Coaches vs. Cancer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dragons Win Coaches vs. Cancer

Article excerpt

KIRKWOOD * The toughest holiday tournament field was not tough enough.

The No. 3 small school in the rankings and the No. 1 seed, St. Mary's survived No. 3 seed St. Louis U. High 60-57 in overtime to claim the Coaches vs. Cancer Holiday Tournament title Friday at St. Louis Community CollegeMeramec.

St. Mary's (11-0) was in the conversation as one best teams in the area regardless of size, but its journey through this week's tournament proved it can run with, and beat, anybody. The Dragons won road games at Alton and at CBC. They followed that with convincing wins over Lafayette, a then-unbeaten Lindbergh, Hazelwood Central and SLUH at Meramec. It's been a meat grinder start to the season, and St. Mary's is doing the grinding.

"A lot of people doubted us. We've proved them wrong and given them a wake-up call," junior forward Yahuza Rasas said. "You have to stay humble and hungry. There's a lot more to come."

Rasas scored a game-high 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked eight shots. He drew several charging fouls, including the fifth personal foul on SLUH senior post BJ Wilson midway through the fourth quarter.

The way the 6-foot-6 Rasas defends the basket with his pterodactyl-like wing span allows St. Mary's to extend its defense. The Dragons hounded opponents all week with their deep rotation of guards.

Junior guard Lavelle Harris didn't start but saw plenty of time as he shadowed SLUH standout combo guard Brandon McKissic.

"We have to make (McKissic) work, double him now and then," St. Mary's coach Kelvin Lee said. "More importantly we have to make it a full-court game. I think we wore on them a little bit."

McKissic finished with 12 points before he fouled out in the final moments of overtime. He joined Wilson and junior forward Matt Leritz on the bench with five fouls. …

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