The Vashon Wolverines showed once again why they have Missouri’s preeminent high school basketball program by bringing home another state championship.
Thanks to a stellar defensive effort, the Wolverines grinded their way to a 55-46 victory over Westminster Christian to win the Class 4 state championship on Saturday at the JQH Arena on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield.
The championship is the 12th in the storied history of Vashon basketball, including four in the past six years under the guidance of head coach Tony Irons, He has restored the program to statewide dominance as he patrols the same sidelines as his father, Floyd Irons, did during his Hall of Fame coaching career at Vashon.
It was a low-scoring grind-it-out affair against a game Westminster team out of the Metro League. The Wildcats managed to keep things competitive before the Vashon was able to pull away late in the game. Vashon’s quickness and stellar defensive pressure defense is what carried the day once again as they forced 22 turnovers and turned many of them into transition baskets.
Playing in his final game at Vashon, 6’6” senior Nicholas Kern had a team-high 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wolverines. The standout wing player will be headed to VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference next season. Sophomore forward Kannard Davis came through with 14 points and five rebounds while senior point guard Keshon Gilbert had 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Gilbert has signed to play at UNLV.
Westminster was led by junior guard Casen Lawrence with 13 points and sophomore guard Kobi Williams with 12.
Vashon advanced to the state championship game with a 69-52 victory over Blair Oaks on Friday. The Wolverines broke the game open with a 14-0 run early in the second quarter to take control.
Kern led the Wolverines with 14 points and five rebounds, Davis had 13 points and four rebounds while Caleb Jones and Tre’Von Love scored 11 points apiece. Gilbert also had eight points, five rebounds, three assists and five steals.