First-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz has been true to his word when he said that he was putting an emphasis on recruiting the talented prospects from the St. Louis area when he took over the University of Missouri football program.
Coach Drink managed to corral six excellent players from the St. Louis area during the last week’s National Signing Day, plus he received a couple of verbal commitments from two of the top prospects in the Class of 2022 from the St. Louis area.
Among the top players signing with Mizzou were standout quarterback Tyler Macon of East St. Louis, who is graduating from high school early to begin his studies in Columbia in the spring session. Also signing with Mizzou were defensive end Travion Ford of Lutheran North, defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo of DeSmet, running back Tyler Hibbler of Trinity, tight end Ryan Hoerstkamp of Washington and wide receiver Dominic Lovett of East St. Louis. Lovett, a four-star recruit, had originally committed to Arizona State, but he flipped that commitment to Mizzou and signed last week.
The good recruiting news continued for the Tigers when they got verbal commitments from juniors Ja’Marion Wayne of Parkway West and Isaac Thompson of SLUH. Thompson is a 6’2” 205-pound defensive back while Wayne is a 6’3” 180-pound athlete.
One other top junior prospect from the area who committed last week was junior running back Arlen Harris, Jr. of Lutheran St. Charles, who gave a verbal pledge to Stanford. The 5’11” 205-pound pound Harris has enjoyed a huge career at Lutheran St. Charles, having rushed for 3,636 yards and 71 touchdowns during his first three years.
*Visitation Tournament Continues
One of the big holiday tournaments that is still taking place is the Visitation Christmas Tournament, which annually fields many of the top girls’ programs in the St. Louis area.
The action at Visitation continues on Saturday with some excellent matchups in the quarterfinals. Fourth-seeded Whitfield will face No. 5 seed Cardinal Ritter at 4 p.m.; No. 1 seed Incarnate Word vs. No. 8 seed Marquette at 5:30 p.m.; No. 10 seed Lift for Life vs. No. 2 seed Webster Groves at 7 p.m. and No. 3 seed Westminster vs. No. 6 seed Parkway North at 8:30 p.m.
The semifinals will be held on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for Monday night at 8:30 p.m.
The biggest development of last Saturday’s first-round action came when Lift for Life defeated No. 7 seed St. Joseph’s 60-57. Making its first appearance in the Visitation Tournament, the Hawks came through with an incredible signature win for this emerging girls program. Lift for Life was led by junior guard Taylor Brown, who had 19 points, five rebounds and four steals. Junior guard Mackenzie Wilson had 16 points, senior guard Na’Teonia Russell added 11 points while senior forward Daniyah Ward had a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Whitfield Warriors defeated Eureka 59-50 in the first round on Saturday night. The victory completed a big day of competition for the Warriors, who were also in action earlier that afternoon against North County in the championship game of the Fort Zumwalt North Tournament. Whitfield defeated North County 64-36 to win the championship before heading over to Visitation to start play in the Christmas Tournament.
*Area College Players reach 1,000 points
Congratulations go out to a pair of former St. Louis area high school basketball standouts who have reached the 1,000-point plateau during the collegiate careers in the St. Louis area.
Former East St. Louis High standout Deshawn Munson scored his 1,000th career point at Harris- Stowe State University earlier this season in a victory over Baker University. The 6’3” Munson reached 1,000 points at Harris-Stowe in just his 34th game with the Hornets. He was an NAIA All-American last season after leading the nation in scoring.
Former University City High standout T.J. Crockett reached the 1,000-point plateau last week for Lindenwood University. The 6’1” Crockett reached the milestone last week when he scored 28 points in the Lions’ 84-72 over No. 25 UMSL. Crockett has already been named the Great Lakes Valley Player of the week twice this season.