Faith Bland

Lift For Life Academy players trap Metro's Faith Bland (23) during their game Tue. night Feb. 19, 2019 at Vashon. Metro girls defeated Lift For Life 56-44. 

This week’s Prep Basketball Notebook is dedicated to the girls.

There is some excellent basketball being played in the Public High League this season. The league has a group of quality teams and very talented players who have been putting in the work.

The leader of the pack is Miller Career Academy, who has been rolling along with a 12-3 record. The Phoenix has been fixtures in the Final Four of the Class 4 state tournament, having made three trips to state in the past four years. Head coach Darrin White also recently picked up his 200th career victory at Career Academy.

The Phoenix features a very talented backcourt in senior twins Antuanae and Ajanae Garrett, who have been starting together throughout their varsity careers. Antuanae is a 5’6” shooting guard who is averaging 14.3 points, three assists and three steals while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. Senior forward Jayrissa Grayson is a 5’9” athlete who is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field.

Senior forward Rayn Talley is a solid 5’10” performer who is averaging 8.8 points and 6.7 rebounds a game while 5’8” sophomore Kelsey Harris is averaging nine points a game off the bench. The Phoenix pulled off one of their biggest victories of the season on Monday when they defeated Kansas City Lincoln Prep 43-42 in the STL MLK Classic at Career Academy. Harris provided the drama on the day with a game-winning 3-pointer with 11 seconds left.

While Career Academy has been a consistent winning program, Vashon is an up and coming player under the direction of John Albert. The Wolverines are 9-5 while playing a very tough schedule. Vashon’s program has been sparked by the addition of some very talented freshmen in 5’10” Raychel Jones and 5’11” Kanitra Barnett.

Jones is a multi-talented wing player who is currently averaging 17.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.8 steals a game. Barnett is an inside performer who is averaging 8.3 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Making it all work at the point guard is 5’8” senior Jalyia Smith, who is averaging 13.3 points and three assists a game.

Gateway STEM is another talented team that has upgraded its schedule, which has resulted in 10 victories this season. The Jaguars have one of the area’s most exciting players in 5’9” junior guard Marshaun Bostic, who goes end to end as fast as any player in St. Louis. Bostic is a true stat-sheet stuffer as she averages 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 5.7 steals.

Bostic is surrounded by a solid group of seniors in 5’9” forward Kinnuady Daniels, 5’10” guard Amori Dampier-McCloud and 6’1” forward Kaitlyn Simms. Daniels is averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds; Dampier-McCloud is averaging 10 points and 5.5 rebounds while Simms is averaging seven points and six rebounds.

Metro features one of the area’s best all-around players in 5’10” senor Faith Bland, who plays all five positions for the 9-7 Panthers. Bland is currently averaging 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 4.8 steals and nearly two blocks a game. She has already signed with Texas A&M-Commerce. Another excellent individual talent in the league is senior guard Keisha Watkins of Northwest Academy, who is averaging 16.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and seven steals a game.

Howell Central remains undefeated

The Francis Howell Central Spartans have enjoyed an excellent season with a 15-0 record and three tournament championships. The Spartans are an excellent passing team with talented players and great team chemistry. Howell Central had a big victory last weekend with a 57-43 win over Hazelwood Central at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Classic at SLUH.

Leading the Spartans’ balanced scoring attack is 5’6” senior guard Azaria Hulbert and 5’9” junior forward Sofia Tweedie. Hulbert, an UMSL signee, and Tweedie are both averaging 12 points a game. Junior point guard Gracie Stugart is averaging 8.1 points and a team-high 5.4 assists a game. Senior guard Makayla Best is averaging 7.8 points while 5’10” sophomore Trinity Matthews is averaging 7.8 points. 

St. Louis American Sports Director

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