Herald-Whig

Shootout teams ending season in trophy contention

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 13, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 12:40 am

Over the past month, organizers of the Quincy Shootout have begun to unveil the teams committed to playing in next year's third annual event.

It's creating a must-see vibe.

Nationally ranked Modesto (Calif.) Christian, three-time state champion Chicago Morgan Park and St. Louis powerhouse Chaminade will be among the best teams to play in Blue Devil Gym in the past decade and could be viable championship contenders in their respective states by season's end.

That would continue a developing trend.

Two teams from this year's Shootout -- DePaul College Prep of Chicago and Rock Bridge of Columbia, Mo. -- will play in their respective state semifinals this weekend and will be among five Shootout participants to win a state trophy this season.

Chicago Corliss finished fourth last weekend in Class 2A after losing to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley in overtime in the third-place game. Oskaloosa won the Class 3A state championship in Iowa, defeating Norwalk 48-44 in the title game. Paradise Honors reached the Class 3A state semifinals in Arizona, losing to eventual state champion Valley Christian.

This comes on the heels of Shootout participants Webster Groves (Mo.) and Bishop Miege (Kan.) winning state championships in 2018, serving as another reminder of who deep and talented the Shootout field is.

Yet, the intrigue and competition being ushered through the Gem City isn't limited to one late January weekend.

Providence St. Mel, which won the Class 1A state championship last weekend, won the QHS Thanksgiving Tournament championship back in November. That field also included Waukegan, which reached a Class 4A sectional championship.

Across town, Quincy Notre Dame played host to St. Mary's in the final regular-season game. The Raiders lost 79-70, and the Dragons haven't lost since. They are playing in the Missouri Class 4 state semifinals this weekend and are one of two state semifinalists to beat the Raiders this season.

The other was DePaul College Prep, which has one of the more intriguing stories heading into the final weekend of high school hoops.

Based on enrollment figures, the Rams should have been playing in Class 2A this postseason. However, the school petitioned to play in a higher classification to be on a level playing field with the rest of the Chicago Catholic League.

"We wanted to challenge ourselves a little bit," Rams coach Tom Kleinschmidt said. "When you play up in our area, kids want to play 3A/4A basketball."

There's more to the Rams' story.

They are the only team to advance without winning a super-sectional. A brawl at the end of the sectional championship game between North Lawndale and Chicago Farragut resulted in a double forfeit and both teams being eliminated from the playoffs. It gave DePaul College Prep a bye in the super-sectionals and a spot in the final four.

Don't assume that means the Rams are deserving of the spot. Perry Cowan Jr. is an all-state caliber guard, and Raheem Anthony is as gritty and tough as any player in the field. The Rams have other complementary pieces that make them a title contender.

They showcased that in their two games in the Quincy Shootout, an event quickly becoming synonymous with championship-level hoops.