By Dean Backes
St. Charles West boys basketball coach Terry Hollander took time out following a 63-43 win over Duchesne, to acknowledge the milestone that he and many Warrior basketball players had just accomplished Monday.
Then he quickly turned his attention toward the task that lies ahead for his team this season.
“It’s a nice round number, and it’s a big number,” Hollander told the St. Louis Post Dispatch following a 20-point win over the Pioneers that netted the coach the 500th win of his career.
Then he added, “We’re in the middle of a great season, and I want to make sure we’re focused on that next game.”
Ironically, Hollander earned his 500th win against the very program that gave the 30-year West teacher and coach his start in coaching, and the opportunity to compete in athletics. During his high school years, Hollander played football, basketball and baseball for the Pioneers.
Since leaving Duchesne 30 years ago, Hollander has coached basketball, football, baseball and golf for the Warriors.
Hollander and his West basketball team (22-1) are a prime contender to win West’s first state basketball championship since he and the Warriors won the Class 4A state title in 1995. The Warriors also took third place at the state tournament in 1994 and 2003.
Niemczyk Reaches 2,000-Point Milestone
Nick Niemczyk took his high school career to new heights Friday in a 102-54 win over Oran.
The Bell City senior connected on five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points in leading the Cubs to the 48-point trouncing. He also scored the 2,000th point of his career in the second half.
Niemczyk wasn’t the only Cub with the hot hand last weekend. Ethan Watkins netted five shots from beyond the arc on his way to 22 points. In all, Bell City connected on 16 3-pointers and scored 48 points from long range. Phillip Gross and Melvin Johnson scored 18 and 14 points respectively for the Cubs.
Kody Campbell’s 20 points led Oran. Cody Romas and Jake Kluesner added 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Grider Reaches 1,000 Points in Less than Three Seasons
Loganne Grider established her place in Greenfield basketball history last Friday in a Wildcat loss to Stockton.
The 5-foot-10 senior missed her sophomore season due to a hip injury, but still managed to score the 1,000th point of her career by netting nine points in the loss. Grider’s point total now stands at exactly 1,000 points and places her in the company of former Wildcats Caitlin Shouse (1,694) and Kim Glenn (1,500-plus), who have also surpassed 1,000 points in a career. Whitney Gray and Chandra Yount round out the Wildcat 1,000 point club.
“For us, she plays everywhere,” Greenfield coach Laura Kruger told the Joplin Globe. “She’s a good ball handler. Loganne is a leader. She works very hard. She also realizes teammates have helped her reach 1,000.”
Griffey to Play for Illini
Tyler Griffey can breathe much easier now. The Lafayette junior made it known Thursday that he will continue his post-high school playing career at Illinois.
Griffey’s decision to play for the Illini gives Illinois coach Bruce Weber four commitments for the Class of 2009, which will probably make it a top-20 recruiting class.
The early decision also gives Griffey some peace of mind now that he can put the recruiting process behind him and he can concentrate on the remainder of this year and his senior season.
The 6-8, 220-pound Griffey told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that his decision came down to Illinois and Missouri. He also considered Kansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Miami and St. Louis University.
“I just felt like that was the best fit for me,” Griffey told the Dispatch. “They are bringing in three guards with me. It’s going to be fun.”
D.J. Richardson (Peoria, Ill.), Joseph Bertrand (Sterling, Ill.) and Brandon Paul (Gurnee, Ill.) make up the remainder of the class.
Griffey, who is projected to be a power forward for the Illini, averages nearly 17 points and nine rebounds a game this season, to go along with 2.75 blocks a contest. He averaged more than 13 points and seven rebounds a game as a freshman, and nearly 16 points and just over seven rebounds as a sophomore.
Volleyball: State Moving to Kansas City
For the first time since the mid-1980s, Kansas City will play host to a Missouri State High School Activities Association championship event next fall.
According to a report published on the Association’s website, Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium will be the new home of the State volleyball championships from Nov. 7-8, 2008 through Nov. 5-6, 2010.
Municipal recently underwent $3 million in renovations and has plenty of convention and meeting space that can be used to accommodate pre-tournament coaches and officials meetings. The ample room will prove valuable for media operations and pregame team warm-ups.
The report stated that Municipal has hosted more NCAA Final Fours than any other venue and has been home to the NAIA National Basketball Tournament for more than 40 years.
The state volleyball tournament’s format will not change once it moves to its new location. By the time the four teams from each classification qualify for Saturday’s third place and championship matches, 24 matches will have been played on two competition courts Friday. The MSHSAA uses a round robin format to determine the 16 teams that will continue playing Saturday.
The move to relocate the tournament to Municipal Auditorium marks the first time a championship competition will be played in Kansas City since the volleyball championships were played at Hickman Mills High School in 1987. A portion of the tournament was also played at Avila College in 1980.
The Show Me Bowl was the only other MSHSAA sanctioned event to be played in Kansas City in recent memory. Those championships were played at Arrowhead Stadium three times between 1982 and 1986.