Dave Neier continues to build on his legacy as one of the better coaches in the history of Missouri high school basketball.
The Borgia coach picked up his 600th victory Friday when the Knights beat St. Dominic 46-38 in their Archdiocesan Athletic Association debut.
“As a coach you don’t worry so much about the numbers,” said Neier, who has Borgia to five state championships, “but at times like this you remember the people who got you in this position.”
According to records kept by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, Neier is the 21st coach to win 600 games in Missouri.
“It’s not really something you even think about,” Neier said. “I just appreciate the people that have helped (the) program. We’ve had some tremendous assistant coaches over the years.”
Neier is in his 26th year as Borgia’s head coach. He was an assistant with the Knights for 10 seasons after two years assisting at Washington High. He credits many with his success, including his coaches when he was a player, his assistants, all of his players as well as the support he has received from the school’s administration and fans throughout the years.
His father, Hans Neier, was his first coach. His high school coach, Ray DeGreeff, won 703 games at the high school level between 1944 and 1981. Neier thanked assistant coach Bill Kimminau, who has spent 24 years on the bench with him.
Two pieces of Neier’s legacy, former players Luke Meyer and Eric Kimminau, have joined the Knights as assistant coaches this season. Meyer scored more than 2,000 points in his four years at Borgia, played at St. Louis University and then professionally in Australia.
“You can go through so many names of the people that helped you get there,” Neier said.
Borgia went 22-6 a year ago but graduated its two leading scorers in guard Bryce Dolan and center Jacob Martin. The Knights are off to a 2-2 start this winter, with senior guards Casey Kuchem, John Baumstark and Jordan Miller leading the way.
“It’s going to be more of a team effort,” Neier said. “These guys have a chance to be good.”
FORT ZUMWALT NORTH WINS WINFIELD TOURNAMENT
Fort Zumwalt North started the season by winning the championship at the season-opening Winfield Tournament.
The No. 1 seeded Panthers beat 8 seed North Tech 74-72 in the first round, 5 seed Timberland 82-58 in the semifinals and then 2 seed Winfield 59-51 in the championship.
“We won it two years ago, and last year we got to the finals again and didn’t win it, so this year it was definitely a big goal to step in there and win that,” coach Charles Glotta said.
Junior guard Chaz Glotta, son of the coach, averaged 34.7 points in the three wins. He made 13 3-pointers and sank 19 of 22 free throw attempts (86.4 percent) en route to being named tournament MVP. A 6-foot-2 guard, Glotta had 39 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals against North Tech and 40 points, six rebounds and six steals vs. Timberland.
“I had no idea he was going to hit for 39 and 40 in the first two games,” the elder Glotta said.
The Panthers went 15-11 a year ago, when Glotta was one of the area’s top sophomores. He averaged 19.3 points, and made 71 3-pointers and 93.7 percent of his free throw attempts (134 of 143).
The coach said his son is stronger and more confident now than a year ago.
“He’s almost 170 (pounds) now,” the coach said. “He was playing last year at around 155. … He played 17-U with Gateway all summer long. He’s got 12 D-I's that are recruiting him right now.”
The coach, who is in his fifth year at Zumwalt North, returned three players with experience. So to open the season by winning the Winfield tournament is a big confidence boost for the team.
The Panthers have a tougher schedule this winter and will be tested before Christmas with upcoming games at McCluer, against Marquette at the St. Charles Family Arena and against Ladue at Lindenwood.
METRO EAST SQUADS OFF TO STRONG STARTS
It looks like another strong season for basketball in the Metro East.
There are seven Illinois schools in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, and four are off to undefeated starts.
Edwardsville, No. 2 among area large schools, is 5-0 after winning four games at the Waterloo Round Robin tournament and then defeating Collinsville 66-43 Friday.
No. 3 Belleville East (4-0) opened the season by winning the Centralia Thanksgiving Tournament. No. 5 Belleville West (3-0) won the season-opening Vianney Invitational last week with senior guard Nick Van Osdale averaging 31 points per game.
And Cahokia, No. 1 in the small-schools rankings, is 5-0 and averaging 72.2 points per game. Senior guard Keenan Minor (23.2), senior forward Vincent Jackson (15.4) and junior swingman Darius Austin (10.6) are averaging in double figures.
CBC TAKES ROUND 1 VS. CHAMINADE
CBC, No. 1 among area large schools, needed two free throws from junior swingman Jordan Barnett with 3.2 seconds remaining Friday to beat Metro Catholic Conference rival Chaminade 60-56 in the championship of the Pattonville Tournament.
Barnett, a 6-8 junior, finished with a game-high 23 points on nine-of-10 shooting and added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Ray Doby, a 6-7 junior forward, added 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
CBC (4-1), which opened the season with a 71-59 loss to nationally-ranked La Lumiere a week earlier, has won four straight, including 58-42 over Rock Bridge at the Norm Stewart Classic in Columbia.
Barnett had 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists in that win, bringing him to 20.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Doby, who sat out last season after transferring from Cahokia, is averaging 14 points and 7.4 rebounds.
CBC and Chaminade (2-1) will meet again Friday when the Cadets host the Red Devils in their first MCC meeting of the year. CBC has won three straight games against Chaminade dating back to the beginning of last season.
MORE TOURNAMENT WINNERS
• First-year school Madison Prep, No. 2 among area small schools, is off to a good start after winning four games to capture the championship at the Lebanon Tournament last week.
The Bears beat Madison (Ill.) 57-46 in the title game Saturday behind 14 points from senior guard Kevin Baker.
• St. Louis University High (3-0) and its new coach, Erwin Claggett, beat St. Mary’s 56-37 Friday to win the Southside Classic.
• De Smet (3-0) was led by Jimmy Barton, Alec Bausch and Brandon Shackleford in defeating Whitfield, Cardinal Ritter and Sumner to capture the championship of the Whitfield Round Robin.
• Crossroads (3-0) defeated Valley Park, Priory and Principia to win the Valley Park Invitational. Milton Spaulding averaged 19.7 points per game and Trevor Clay averaged 18 to lead the Current.
• Northwest Academy (4-3) beat Carterville, Murphysboro, Roosevelt and Carnahan to win the Ernie Bozarth Round Robin tournament at Murphysboro. The Hornets had lost all three games at the season-opening Alton Tip-Off Classic a week earlier.
KIRBY BACK ON BENCH AT PARKWAY CENTRAL
Rick Kirby admitted to being nervous in his first game back as Parkway Central’s coach after a seven-year hiatus. But, he said, it’s great to be back.
“I felt just like I was coming home,” Kirby said. “I got every bit as nervous as the first game I coached at Central. Maybe more nervous. It was a little bit odd.”
Kirby coached the Colts from 1987 to 2005, when the team went 337-167 with two conference championships and three final four appearances. The Colts made it to the state semifinals in 1991 and 1992 and took third place in 2003.
He resigned following the 2005 season and returned to the court two years later as an assistant at Vianney. After five seasons with the Golden Griffins, he was hired again at Central.
“When you throw the ball up, my passion and my energy, it was like it was before,” he said. “I’m the same guy I was before.”
Central graduated its top three scorers from a 16-11 squad but returned some building blocks in junior forward Nathan Biggs, senior guard Andrew Chekadanov and sophomore guard Jarrett Cox-Bradley.
Those three players led the Colts to a 2-1 record at the season-opening Gerald Linneman Round Robin tournament last week. Central, Parkway North and Parkway West each won two games and lost one, while Parkway South went 0-3.
“We’re feeling our way,” Kirby said. “We’re a work in progress. We’ll get there.”
TOURNAMENTS ON TAP THIS WEEK
• The 13th annual Webster Classic should provide area basketball fans with three days worth of entertaining match-ups later this week.
There are four first-round games on Thursday, semifinals Friday and concludes with the championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The first-round matchups Thursday are: Miller Career vs. Lee’s Summit at 4 p.m., Maplewood-Richmond Heights vs. Lafayette at 5:30, Webster Groves vs. Hazelwood West at 7, and St. Louis University High vs. Marquette at 8:30.
Webster Groves coach Jay Blossom is pleased with the quality of the field, which includes newcomers Lafayette and Hazelwood West.
“Maplewood is going to be a state title contender in Class 3,” Blossom said. “Marquette’s a final four team last year that will be better than people think. Lafayette, I know (Coach Scott Allen has) got good young kids. They’re a 17-20 win type team. With (Erwin) Claggett at SLUH, I think he’s reinvigorated that program.”
• The eight-team Gene Steighorst (Hillsboro) Tournament opens with two first-round games Monday and two more Tuesday, then moves on with semifinals Friday and the championship set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Hillsboro plays Northwest at 6 p.m. on Monday, followed by Festus vs. Lindbergh at 7:30. Francis Howell Central plays Seckman at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and then De Soto plays Windsor at 7:30.
• St. Charles West’s eight-team Warrior Classic begins with two first-round games Monday and continues with two more first-round games Tuesday. The semifinals are scheduled for 6:30 and 8 Wednesday, and the championship is at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Lutheran North plays Francis Howell North at 6 on Monday, followed by St. Dominic vs. St. Charles West. On Tuesday, Fort Zumwalt South plays Ritenour at 6:30 and Fort Zumwalt West meets Kirkwood at 8.