Kennard Davis Jr.

Vashon junior Kennard Davis Jr. (30) eyes the basket as he moves past Chicago St. Rita's Anthoni Sandford (23) and Jordyn Richard (21) during first period action of the Vashon Winter Classic. 

Vashon High will be trying to double its pleasure as it will be taking both its boys and girls basketball teams to this weekend's Missouri State High School Activities State Championships in Springfield.

The boys’ team is seeking a third consecutive state championship while the girls are looking for their first state title in the school's history.

Vashon's boys (22-7) will be in action on Thursday afternoon when it takes on Father Tolton in the state semifinals at the Great Southern Bank Arena. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. The two teams met for the Class 4 state championship a year ago with Vashon taking a 57-49 victory for the state title. The winner of the Vashon-Tolton game will meet the Park Hills Central-St. Joe's Lafayette winner for the state championship on Saturday at 2 p.m. The third-place game will be on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Senior forward Kennard Davis Jr. has been Coach Tony Irons leader for the past two seasons. The 6'6" Southern Illinois recruit is averaging a team-high 15.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a game. Fellow seniors Jayden Nicholson, Cameron Stovall and Jordan Logan are also big contributors in the front court, along with 6'8" sophomore Nicholas Randall.

The Wolverines also feature a talented group of young guards who have stepped into major roles. Sophomores Trey Williams, Dierre Hill and Christian Williams form an excellent young trio while junior Andre Aaron Jr. provides even more depth and talent in the backcourt.

Coach John Albert's girls’ team has been equally impressive in the postseason as the Wolverines have posted one lopsided victory after another on its way to the Final Four. Vashon (25-5) will meet Southern Boone in the state semifinals on Thursday at 6 p.m. The winner of that game will meet the Park Hills Central-Benton winner for the state championship on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Vashon is led by its talented trio of guards Raychel Jones, JaNyla Bush and Chantrel "TuTu" Clayton. The 5'10" Jones is a UMKC recruit who has been starting since her freshman year. She is averaging 15.2 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Bush is a junior point guard who has already committed to Missouri State. She is averaging 15 points and four assists a game while Clayton is a 5'7" combo guard who averages a team-high 16 points a game while making 66 3-pointers. Seniors Bri Collins and Rayvin Jones round out the lineup with both being valuable contributors throughout the season.

*Cardinal Ritter Returns to State

Cardinal Ritter College Prep will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Four this weekend. The Lions will be seeking their 10th state championship in the Class 5 tournament. Ritter will face Pembroke Hill in the semifinals on Friday at 2 p.m. Ladue will face Jefferson City in the second semifinal at 4 p.m. The winner of both games will meet for the state championship on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter won back-to-back state championships in 2020 and 2021 and finished third last season in Class 5. They are a junior-dominated team that is talented and well-balanced. They feature guards Clayton Jackson, Derrick Rivers, Ryan Atkins and forwards Nashawn Davis, Quentin Parker and Mehki Barringer.

*IWA looking for 100

Incarnate Word Academy is looking to keep its dynasty going as they seek their third consecutive Class 6 state championship. The Red Knights also enter the Final Four with a 98-game winning streak, which means if they can win two games and the state title, they will leave Springfield with the streak at 100 games.

Incarnate Word will meet Raytown in the semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m. Eureka will face Columbia Rock Bridge in the other semifinal game at 6 p.m. The winners will meet for the state championship on Saturday at 4 p.m. Incarnate Word is led by its senior dynamic duo of 6'2" Natalie Potts and 6'1" Brooke Coffey. Potts is a Nebraska recruit who is averaging 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. Coffey is an Illinois State recruit who averages 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. Sophomores Nevaeh Caffey and Peyton Hill have also stepped into major roles this season.

 *ESL takes home third place

 The East St. Louis Flyers brought home a third-place trophy from last weekend's IHSA Class 3A state championships in Champaign. The Flyers were defeated by eventual state champion Metamora 50-43 in the semifinals, but they rebounded to defeat St. Ignatius 50-48 in the third-place game. Senior forward Macaleab Rich led the Flyers in both games. The Kansas State recruit had 19 points and seven rebounds in the semifinals and followed up with 24 points and 11 rebounds in the third-place game. The Flyers advanced to the Final Four with a thrilling double-overtime victory over defending state champion Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin.

*Lutheran North, Principia come close

 Metro League schools Lutheran North and Principia concluded excellent seasons by finishing as the runners-up in their respective state tournaments. Lutheran North finished second in the Class 3 state tournament to perennial Southeast Missouri State power New Madrid County Central. Principia finished second in the Class 2 tournament to a talented Salisbury team. Both teams won thrilling semifinal contests to get to the state championship game. Lutheran North defeated Thayer in a 61-60 overtime classic in the semifinals. Sophomore Izy Prude hit a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime. Principia held off a talented Plattsburg team 65-63 to advance to the state championship game.

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