As many of you know, I have been celebrating my 25 years of covering high school sports here at the St. Louis American. My current 25-year anniversary installment centers on some of the top individual performances by our high school stars during that time frame. There were so many of them. Here are a few on the list.
Jordan Barnett: The CBC basketball standout had one of the most impressive outings in the history of the state championship game in 2014 when he scored 43 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Cadets to a 86-77 victory over Columbia Hickman in the Class 5 state title game.
Bradley Beal: The Chaminade College Prep All-American had a coming out party as a sophomore in 2008 at the Pattonville Tournament when he scored 52 points to lead the Red Devils past rival CBC 92-85 in an overtime thriller. Beal sent the game into overtime with a half-court shot that sent the crowd into a complete frenzy. He also had seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
Napheesa Collier: The All-American girls’ superstar from Incarnate Word Academy closed her glorious career in high style by outscoring the opposing team by herself in the state championship game. Collier had 30 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Red Knights past MICDS 60-27 for the Class 4 state championship. It was pure dominance.
Ezekiel Elliott: In the 2012 Class 3 Show-Me Bowl, the John Burroughs football star set a state record with 428 all-purpose yards in a loss to a powerhouse Maryville team. Elliott had 220 yards rushing, 75 yard receiving and 128 return yards to go along with three touchdowns.
Terry Hawthorne: The East St. Louis football star led the Flyers to a tremendous comeback 35-28 victory over Chicago St. Rita in the Illinois Class 7A state quarterfinals in 2007. Hawthorne scored three touchdowns, grabbed two interceptions and had 11 tackles as he rallied the Flyers back from a 28-7 deficit.
Larry Hughes: The All-American guard from CBC scored 40 points to lead the Cadets to a victory over Riverview Gardens in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at UMSL in 1997. After Riverview bolted to a 31-15 lead after the first quarter, Hughes then took over the game and put on a show for the ages.
Darrell Jackson: The Webster Groves quarterback was a one-man gang in leading the Statesmen to a 39-38 victory over McCluer North in the Class 5 semifinals at North. Jackson amassed 490 yards and five touchdowns as he rushed for 147 yards and passed for 393 yards. He scored game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the second overtime.
Brandon Miller: The John Burroughs track star made history at the 2018 Class 3 state meet when he set a new state record in the 800-meter run with a time of 1 minute 49.55 seconds. Miller broke a 31-year state record, which set by Billy Rainey of Springfield Parkview in 1987.
McCluer South-Berkeley Girls: The quartet of Ashley Usery, Angel Williams, Kianna Ruff and Alisha Usery smashed the state record in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3 minutes 45.78 seconds at the 2007 Class 3 state meet in Jefferson City.
Justin Robinson: The Hazelwood West track star set a new world youth (Under-18) record in the 400-meter dash when he turned in a time of 44.84 seconds at the 2018 Great Southwest Classic in New Mexico. Robinson also went on to compete and win medals at the Pan American Games as a teenager.
Torres Roundtree: The McCluer North basketball standout led the Stars to their first state championship in 2007 when he scored 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 69-57 victory over Rockhurst for the Class 5 state title.