The Class 4 champions will be at it again. This is Levi Stockard's year and the 6’9” Kansas State recruit has all the tools to be one of the best performers in the state, let alone St. Louis. If teams want to focus on Stockard with double or triple-teams then coach Irons will be okay with that as Daniel Farris (5’11”) and Mario McKinney ( can go to work. You could argue that Farris is the best point guard in the area. They should combine for one of the best backcourt duos in the area. Also returning is Joe Reece (6’7”) who will accompany Stockard down low and Koray Gilbert (6’4”). If I were doing a full-on area power ranking, then Vashon would be right at the top as well. They will be favorites to win state again without a doubt, but can the Wolverines, and coach Tony Irons be consistent through the course of the season? The eyes of St. Louis will be watching.
2. St. Mary's
The Dragons will be breathing fire over their opponents all season long with their talented athletes. The thing about this squad is that they appear to be a year away, but they’re already considered to be the hunted instead of the hunters with most of the key contributors being juniors. It starts in the backcourt with sophomore sensation Yuri Collins (5’11”) and he is the only sophomore on the team. Like Farris from Vashon, Mr. Yuri is one of the best point guards in St. Louis and his stock will keep rising. The Dragons have an embarrassment of riches with athletes. Antonio Burks (6’2”) is a standout wide receiver on the gridiron but is a proven scorer as well. Isaiah King (6’0”), Miles Jones (6’4”) were useful scorers and will be expected to be once again. St. Mary’s also picked up transfer Dominic Mitchell (6’3”) from MICDS. He averaged 13 points for the Rams and will be a great addition to the Dragons. They also have a proven big man in the form of Yahuza Rasas (6’6”).
Head coach Mike Potsou and the Warriors returned to state for the first time since 2010. It wasn’t the result they wanted, but they know how to get there, and boy do they have a good unit in store, well a young one. If you talk about Whitfield basketball then you’ll inevitably hear about Torrence Watson. The 6’4” shooting guard scored 490 points, averaging 18 per game, and is 190 points away from 1,000 for his career. It goes without saying he’s the go-to-guy. He’s not alone. Luther Taylor, Jordan Crouch, Cyrus Alexander, and Amechiee Ramsey round out the Warriors key players. Expect them to be state contenders once again in Class 3 as they always play bigger schools to prepare them for the big prize.
4. Cardinal Ritter
The Lions will be at it again as they’re a mainstay among the smaller schools. They’ll have some size, but will be scrappy and of course, one of the best coaches in St. Louis, Randy Reed. The first player that comes to mind is Xavier Womack (6’6”). The senior is long, versatile, and a scorer. The Lions picked up a transfer from Gateway Tech, Ronald Welch (6’2”) who is an excellent scorer and long-range shooter. Other key players include Jared Phillips (6’0”), Breon Mosby (6’5”), and Malik Davis (5’9”). A potential impact player could be freshman Caleb Wilkerson (5’6”). People will place the Lions as state contenders in Class 3 like always.
5. Miller Career
One of the breakout teams of the year could be the Phoenix. They proved they could stay consistent for the majority of their schedule and this season could be bigger. Leading the way is Javonte Perkins (6’6”), who averaged 15 points and scored over 400 to lead the team. Jamontez Bonner (6’1”) will be another player to keep an eye on as he averaged six points, but had a tremendous off-season. The Phoenix will be senior laden as well.
The Warriors lost plenty of talent off of their 22-5 team that lost in the district championship game to Riverview Gardens. However, Travis Wallace always seems to get the best out of his players, and they will have plenty of athletes with some proven talent that includes Rajae Johnson (6’3”) and guard Deshawn Johnson (6’0”). The Warriors add a transfer from Riverview Gardens Kyle Young (5’10”). The junior averaged 9 points per game and two assists last season. Jennings has put together decent seasons and usually play to their potential ever since Wallace took over the reigns in 2012.
The Rams are one of the most organized teams on this list, but the talent isn’t as high, yet there is a healthy amount of it within the squad. Head coach Max Hixenbaugh has proven to be good at this and could win a Metro League conference championship this season with what he’s got. Alec Spence (6’5”) is a four-year starter and scored over 500 points last year. He will be the focal point of the team and the offense as a shooting guard and there's no doubt he will be very tough to guard against just about any team. Matt Roper (6’4”) is a dangerous shooter, who best not be left alone as he connected on 41 triples. Austin Thompson (6’3”) does most of his work inside and he plays above his size. The same goes for Teddy Schmid (6’2”) who is a hard-working player, who plays above his size as well, as we saw on the football field.
Maybe the success of the football team can transcend to the hardwood... Literally. Like the football boys they will be young, but flowing with athletes. The Titans have a well-stacked sophomore class. Isaiah Williams (5’10”), who very well may pursue football at the college level, but he’s not too shabby at basketball. The quarterback averaged 15 points and two assists per game. Marcus Washington (6’3”) averaged 11 points and two assists as well as averaging four rebounds per game last season. Zach Nobles (6’1”) and DaJuan Young (6’3”) will be key players as well. Senior Jayson Powell (5’10”) should add good depth as well as his experience. Freshman Rashad McDaniels (5’10”) is an exciting, highly rated prospect and will be one for the future. Many of their key players will be playing in the MSHSAA Class 2 state football championship, so expect to see a slow start, but this team should be on another level by the end of the season if they can stay healthy.
They’ve already played and lost to St. Mary’s 84-70, but it was close all the way, which says something about this side. Regardless of the result, they have players that will make big impacts. With only two seniors, they don’t have a whole lot of big time leadership, however they have some seriously talented underclassmen. Jesse Little (6’0”) is primed for a big season and already showing it with 25 points against St. Mary’s. His brother, James (6’0”) will be an impact player as well. Another potential big time performer is freshman Elijah Bishop (6’5”), and so is Eric Rogers (6’4”).
This might have been the most unluckiest team in the area last season, although other teams will try to step in and claim their stake to that title too. Losing Alex Moore and Jared Mosquera to season-ending injuries before the season proved to be insurmountable, but the Pioneers made the most of it. Now they return leadership and talent. Adam Moore (6’5”), Mitchell Fairless (6’3”), Luke Lowenstein (6’5”), and Cooper Tune (6’1”) were all impact players last season and will be for the next two seasons as they’re all juniors. Height isn’t a problem, but developing a pure point guard is and it’ll be strange to not see someone with the last name Briscoe in the backcourt. Wade Bouslog is one of the most underrated coaches in the area and should have some fun with this group.