Webster Defense Just Plain Tough Statesmen Put a 53-46 Clamp on West Plains for 1st State Title

By Kevin E. Boone Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

Webster Defense Just Plain Tough Statesmen Put a 53-46 Clamp on West Plains for 1st State Title


Kevin E. Boone Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The Final Four basketball tournament is often called "The Dance."

On Saturday, Webster Groves' Statesmen waltzed away from the Hearnes Center in an emotion-propelled carriage reserved for champions.

Twenty-seven years have passed since the Statesmen played for the title. On Saturday, they won their first, beating West Plains 53-46 for the Class 4A championship. The Statesmen players and fans exulted.

Reserve guard Latrelle Yancey turned a double-somersault at midcourt.

This was a party - and Webster was throwing it.

"It's been a long time - 27 years now - and it's the ultimate," Webster coach Tim Moore said.

Webster's only other state final game was in 1969, when it lost to Sumner in the Class L (large-school) championship.

On Saturday, the Statesmen were in heaven.

"That dressing room is filled with a lot of kids with a lot of heart," Moore said.

And tenacity.

Webster (29-3) shut down West Plains' potent offense, which had averaged 81.2 points a game.

"What a great, great defensive job they did in that second half," Moore said. Webster outscored West Plains 24-16 in the second half, after falling behind 30-29 at halftime.

West Plains (29-3) hit only four of 15 shots from 3-point range and shot 33 percent from the floor overall.

Moore said the Statesmen defense has been "our story all year."

That and silky 6-foot-6 forward Johnnie Parker. He was dazzling, scoring a game-high 22 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and notching three steals and three assists.

Parker made two 3s in the first quarter, including the game-opening basket.

In fact, Parker tried to take charge of the celebration - he waved off a substitution with 13 seconds remaining. …

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