Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boys Basketball: Northwest Overwhelms O'Fallon Christian, Heads Back to State Semifinals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boys Basketball: Northwest Overwhelms O'Fallon Christian, Heads Back to State Semifinals

Article excerpt

WARRENTON - Damien "Dede" Carver is ready to celebrate.

The Northwest boys basketball team is headed back to state.

The defending Class 3 champion, Northwest knocked off O'Fallon Christian 53-33 in a quarterfinal Saturday at Warrenton High.

The No. 5 small school in the rankings, Northwest (22-6) will make its second appearance in a state semifinal when it takes on Hogan Prep (24-4) at 8:10 p.m. Friday at Hammons Student Center on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield.

There is work to be done in the week ahead and Carver wants to enjoy every minute of it.

"We're not finished yet, but I feel we should celebrate," said Carver, a senior guard for the Hornets. "We're back, two times in a row."

After winning in double overtime in the district semifinal, battling back from a 15-point third quarter deficit in the district final and pulling out a late win in the sectional, Northwest caught its breath in the fourth quarter against O'Fallon Christian.

The Hornets took a 7-4 lead on a 3-pointer by senior guard Willshon Warren two and a half minutes into the first quarter and never trailed again. They didn't have the lead from the beginning of the game because the Eagles went ahead 2-0 before the clock ran.

Northwest was whistled for a pregame technical foul when one of its players dunked the basketball in warmups. Christian senior guard Zachary Niemeyer knocked down both free throws for a 2-0 lead. Senior forward Evan Soell scored a layup on the ensuing possession for a 4-0 lead a minute into the game.

"Some of the younger kids that doesn't get to play a whole lot got excited and dunked the basketball," Northwest coach Gerald Jones said. "One of our older guys came out and almost dunked the ball and he followed his lead."

The Hornets showcased their all-around ability as they went on an 18-5 run over the next six minutes as four different players contributed. Junior guard Javon Bolden buried a pair of 3-pointers. He didn't score a point in the district semifinal or final.

Northwest senior post Jamarr Williams continued to be one of the toughest matchups in Class 3. A 6-foot-7 post with a motor that doesn't quit, he finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Even when Christian sent three defenders at him he managed to get the ball up and off the glass for a bucket.

"They're one of the few teams that are totally, totally committed to getting it inside. How many teams in this day and age are doing that?" Christian coach Terry Hollander said. "He works so hard. It's not so much what they're doing, it's how hard he works. It's not easy to be battling in there."

Warren had 14 points and three rebounds and Carver had nine points and five rebounds.

The second quarter gave a glimpse of what could be a strategy to limiting Williams. …

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