By ERIC X. VICCARO
COLUMBIA — Missouri State High School Activities Association district boys’ basketball tournaments are fast approaching.
Valle Catholic, as a Class 2 school, will compete in the district tournament round from Feb. 20-27.
Class 4 Ste. Genevieve will compete in its district tournament from Feb. 27-March 6.
Valle Catholic (11-6) head coach Tyler Search, in his fourth season piloting the Warriors, knows not to take any opponent for granted.
“Our district is very competitive, and I think all of the teams are tough to beat,” Search said. “It’s important for us to treat every game the same way no matter who we are playing.”
Every team is a challenge, and it begins with Class 2 District 3 tournament host Oran, with a 14-5 record.
Like was learned in last week’s story, Valle Catholic is the northernmost school in this district.
St. Vincent (13-4) and Valle Catholic already have played each other three times this season, with the Indians coming out on top in two of those hard-fought contests.
In turn, Oran downed St. Vincent 55-50. Other teams in the district are Advance, Meadow Heights and Puxico.
St. Vincent and Meadow Heights (12-7) are set to play each other in what could be considered a district preview on Feb. 18. Advance is 15-3, and the only team with a losing record is Puxico (3-8).
“I thought there was a chance we might have been in District 4 like we were two years ago,” Search added. “I wasn’t really that surprised by our district field, though.”
Ste. Genevieve’s district features a who’s who of top teams from the Mineral Area Activities Association Large School Division.
“You never want to look past anyone at that time of year,” Ste. Genevieve head coach Robert Coleman stressed. “It’s a long season, and teams improve and start clicking at any time. When you are playing ‘lose or go home,’ it changes everything.”
Class 4 District 2 also features Herculaneum, a team the Dragons had a scrimmage with during late fall, and St. Clair.
Coleman said the inclusion of St. Clair wasn’t really a shock, especially noting how few and far between Class 4 schools are in this particular region.
The Dragons defeated Fredericktown (9-10) by 30 points on the road on Jan. 22, and they clipped Potosi (9-9) by five points at home two weeks before that.
The Trojans downed St. Clair 60-49 in a regular-season game from Dec. 11, which serves as a reference point. The Bulldogs currently stand 5-10.
And there’s Park Hills Central (11-6), which squared off against rival Ste. Genevieve just last night. The Rebels have plenty of talent, including dynamic freshman Jobe Bryant. Herculaneum has the worst record among all district foes at 2-11.