CLASS THREE….A familiar face is back. Charleston makes its 15th final four appearance and they’re vying for the school’s 10th state title. Their last state championship came in 1996. Last year they finished in third place. The Blue Jays enter the semifinals with a 26-3 record and will face Centralia. The Panthers are looking to add a basketball trophy to go along with the one they earned by winning a state football championship back in November. 10 of those football players are on CHS’s 12-man roster. Centralia makes it’s second final four appearance—the first came in 1983….The other Class 3 semifinal will feature Mountain Grove and Maryville. The Panthers are in uncharted waters as they make their first appearance in the final four. They come to Columbia with an impressive 25-3 record. They’re led by sophomore Brett Collins, who averages 21.7 points per game. Maryville will try to win its first state title since winning in 1937. In 1995 they lost to Mexico in the Class 3A title game. The Spoofhounds are 24-6 in Mike Kuwitzky’s 18th season as head coach. ………CLASS TWO…Three of the four teams in the final four are in search of their first state title. In fact, for those three teams it’s their first trip ever to the semi-finals. Senath-Hornersville and Van-Far are two of those teams. The Lions are 20-6 this season under second-year coach Shane Benson. The Indians are 26-3 and led by sophomore Mike Smith who averages 24 points and 12 rebounds per game. The other new team to the final four is Lone Jack, which enters the game 29-0. They were undefeated before getting upset in the quarterfinals in 2003. Their opponent is Marionville, which won the 1982 championship. The Comets are 25-4………….CLASS ONE…Bell City will try to win their second state championship in three years as they take on Bevier. Senior guard Dominitrix Johnson averages 29 points per game for Bell City, as the Cubs have built a 27-4 record this season. Bevier is 25-5 and may be best suited to stop Johnson. The Wildcats yield just 58.5 points per game. They’re in search of their first state championship. The other semifinal match up features St. Elizabeth against North Andrew. St. Elizabeth is an unlikely player in this year’s Class 1 semifinals, as they sport a record of just 21-8. They were unranked in the latest poll, but knocked off No. 3 Golden City in the quarterfinals. North Andrew eliminated the No. 1 team in the state by topping Braymer 62-59 in the quarterfinals. The Cardinals are 25-4.
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