TROY, Mo. • The Fort Zumwalt West boys basketball team had plenty of history on its side headed into its Class 5 District 7 game with Timberland at Buchanan High School on Monday night.
First, the Jaguars -- the district's No. 4 seed -- had defeated the No. 5 Wolves 68-46 Friday to close out the regular season. That came, in large part, behind a 21-3 run over the course of the third quarter.
Next, Zumwalt West has learned first-hand to fight hard to not give up a lead, as witnessed by a 15-point deficit the Jaguars erased in just over a minute against Francis Howell Central Feb. 11.
Both of those factors played keys in West's 69-40 win.
"(Knowing these factors) makes you feel good, and you come into the game a lot more relaxed," West's Dexter Walker said. "We knew because of the way our guys were rebounding that even if we missed, we were probably going to get another opportunity."
Zumwalt West (10-15) rolled to a 22-2 lead on a Walker 3-pointer with 90 seconds left in the first quarter.
Pulling out to that lead was only half the battle, as Jags' coach Chad Towers saw things.
"We knew even though we had the lead we had to keep fighting," Towers said. "We've been in a game where we were down and we (overcame a deficit) that not many teams can overcome. But it has happened, so we had to keep playing all out so it wouldn't happen to us."
It didn't. The Jags continued to grow the lead to advantages of 41-17 at halftime and 57-34 after the third quarter.
Walker led the Jaguars with 15 points. Drew Hare added 13, and Brett Uhlemeyer scored 10.
Jack James led Timberland (2-20) with 13 points.
Zumwalt West will take on the district's top seed, Holt, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"They are such a good team, there's a reason why they won conference," Towers said. "We played with them for a half the first time (a 65-39 win Feb. 4), but we couldn't find the basket in the second half. We can't do that again."
Holt 60, Francis Howell 52 • In the Class 5 District 7 girls game played earlier, Holt used a 21-11 third-quarter tally to advance.
While Holt did well in the paint -- 6-foot-3 Brianne Rigg scored 12 points -- guard Danielle Rhubart made just as big of an impact.
Rhubart loosened up the paint for Rigg and teammate Julie Buckles as she knocked down four 3-pointers at key junctures of the game.
"Coach wanted us to play inside-out basketball," Rhubart said. "Coach said whenever the ball was kicked back out, to take the open shot if I had it. I just think we all got into a rhythm."
While Rhubart was hitting key shots, she and her teammates were clamping down on the Howell offense, which made the Indians' coach happy.
"Our game plan was just to get out and defend their shooters," Holt coach Don Jolliff said. "We got out to shooters and forced them to get out of their rhythm a little bit."
"We know that Kelsey Jones is ailing and that one of the Swopshire girls is hurt," Jolliff said. "With all of that and with the Laramie girl out, you never know what can happen. We know what to expect from them; I've seen them three times. They are well-balanced. We know we have our work cut out. We're going to work hard to try and get the ball inside to see if we can't get their big girls in foul trouble."