The last time the MICDS boys basketball team took the court, it was undermanned. Having secured the Metro League crown, coach Travis Wallace wanted to get some extended minutes for his bench.
It did not go well as the Rams lost at Priory in their regular season finale.
MICDS coach Travis Wallace let loose afterward. He wanted every player on the roster to understand just how important they are to the bigger picture because things happen this time of year that can derail good teams. Be it foul trouble or injury, nothing is promised.
“We had a couple of heart to hearts at practice the last week,” Wallace said. “You can’t take anything for granted.”
MICDS opened up postseason play Wednesday and dominated Normandy 76-29 in a Class 4 District 5 semifinal.
The No. 1 seed, MICDS (20-3) advanced to host No. 2 seed Westminster (19-5) at 6 p.m. Friday in the district championship game.
Normandy finished 10-11.
The Rams were fantastic in their playoff opener. They went 7 of 10 from behind the 3-point line. They hit 13 of their 16 free throws. They made 28 field goals and were credited with 19 assists. Five players had two or more assists.
“That’s what it’s been like all year,” Wallace said. “The ball is not sticking to anybody’s hands. It’s a blessing to have a team that can pass the ball like that and share the scoring. On any given night (someone different can lead us in scoring), it doesn’t matter who it is.”
On Wednesday night it was Jack Pronger’s turn to lead the way. The senior forward scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two assists. Pronger, who was a starter much of his first three years with the program, has become the Rams sixth man. Wallace said it’s been huge having someone that experienced and skilled on the court when the other starters are catching their breath.
Senior forward Nick Roper scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked two shots. Junior forward Brandon Mitchell-Day scored 12 points, hauled in three rebounds and had three assists.
A senior-laden team, MICDS has been preparing itself for something special the last several years. Now is the time to turn those dreams into reality.
“They’ve been waiting for this time of year,” Wallace said.
In order to advance the Rams will have to get past an all-too-familiar foe. MICDS beat Westminster twice this season, but both times were tight, especially the Rams' 41-40 victory Feb. 23 to lock up the Metro League title.
“Our kids know what it’s going to be like on Friday,” Wallace said. “It’s going to be tough.”
Westminster 58, Priory 35: In a district championship rematch from last season, the Wildcats jumped ahead early and never trailed as they powered past the Ravens in a Class 4 District 5 semifinal.
The No. 2 seed, Westminster (19-5) advanced to play at No. 1 seed MICDS (20-3) at 6 p.m. Friday in the district championship.
Westminster was led by Caleb Thompson and Kobi Williams, who each scored 10 points to lead a balanced attack. Thompson had a team-high six rebounds.
It was the third time this season the Wildcats beat the Ravens.
Priory (19-7) was led by senior standout Harrison Wilmsen, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Senior guard Myles Kee had 10 points.
Roosevelt 46, Bayless 44: The visiting Roughriders jumped out to a 14-7 first-quarter lead then survived the rest of the way in their Class 4 District 3 championship game at Bayless and in the process made history.
According to the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s online record book, it’s just the fifth district championship for the Roosevelt boys basketball team and its first since 1975.
Roosevelt (5-11) advanced to play the winner of the Vashon-Soldan game in a sectional round game at 6 p.m. March 9 at a site to be determined.
Bayless, which won its first conference title since 1973 this season, finished 14-8.
The No. 4 seed, Roosevelt was only in this position because it narrowly defeated No. 5 seed KIPP in its first-round game 64-63. Confluence, the district’s top seed, was forced to forfeit its semifinal with Roosevelt due to COVID-19 concerns which pushed the Roughriders into the district final.
Francis Howell 62, Francis Howell Central 40: The Vikings three-headed monster of seniors Sam Thompson, Preston Fortner and Sam Maddux were sensational as they powered Howell to a Class 6 District 6 semifinal victory.
The No. 2 seed, Howell (19-4) will play at No. 1 seed Fort Zumwalt North (24-2) at 7 p.m. Friday in the district championship game. Howell beat Fort Zumwalt North 73-65 in a Class 5 sectional last season.
Maddux led the Vikings with 17 points while Thompson and Fortner each scored 14.
Howell Central finished 12-12.
Fort Zumwalt North 72, Fort Zumwalt West 35: Four players scored in double figures as the Panthers raced out to a 40-20 lead at halftime and cruised in their Class 6 District 6 semifinal.
The No. 1 seed, Fort Zumwalt North (24-2) will host No. 2 seed Francis Howell (19-4) at 7 p.m. Friday in the district championship game. Howell beat Fort Zumwalt North in a Class 5 sectional last season.
Fort Zumwalt North has won 16 consecutive games.
Junior center Connor Turnbull scored 17 for the Panthers. Senior standout KJ Lee scored 15 while junior guard Kylen Watson finished with 12. Senior forward Drake Stevenson scored 10 points.
Fort Zumwalt West (6-18) was led by junior guard Johnny Taylor, who scored nine points.