MOUNT VERNON MOUNTAINEERS—-It seems like a risky set up, but it has worked so far for the 24-4 Mount Vernon boys basketball team. Only two players on the roster average more than 7.7 points per game—junior Tomas Brock (18.1 ppg) and senior Josh Kleine (14.8 ppg). What has helped the Mountaineer overcome their lack of offense has been a stellar defense, has really picked up the pace recently. Since districts began, they’ve allowed just 30 points per game. Head coach Skip Brock, who is Tomas Brock’s father, is in his second stint as head coach at Mount Vernon. This is their first trip to the final four since 1995, when they finished fourth.

Head coach: Skip Brock
Record: 24-4
Current winning streak: 5
Semifinal appearances: 2
State titles: 0
Sectionals: 42-29, Willow Springs
Quarterfinals: 32-31, Linn
•Scoring: Tomas Brock, 18.1 ppg
•Rebounds: Josh Kleine, 10.1 rpg
•Assists: Tomas Brock 4.4 apg

CHARLESTON BLUE JAYS—-From 1975-1996 Charleston won nine state championships and their longest stretch without one was just five years. Head coach Danny Farmer has had success as comes to the close of his 9th season, but he’s still looking for a state championship of his own at Charleston. The Blue Jays find themselves in the final four for the fourth straight year. They finished third in 2003 and 2004, then lost 72-63 in the championship game last year. Jamarcus Williams leads Charleston with 18.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Head coach: Danny Farmer (436-113)
Record: 23-7
Current winning streak: 5
Semifinal appearances: 16
State titles: 9 (1975, ’80, ’83, ’86, ’87, ’89, ’90, ’92, ’96)
Sectionals: 59-42, Doniphan
Quarterfinals: 85-54, Miller Career Academy
•Scoring: Jamarcus Williams, 18.9 ppg
•Rebounds: Jamarcus Williams, 10.3 rpg
•Assists: Shawn Sherrell, 4.6 apg

CARDINAL RITTER LIONS—Cardinal Ritter is back in the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown after missing the semifinals in 2004 and 2005 and if the numbers hold up, that could be bad news for the other teams in the Class 3 field. The Lions have come to Columbia just five times but have headed back to St. Louis with state championships four times. Head coach Marvin Neals knows a thing or two about the post season: before coming out of retirement to coach the team in 2000, he was the long-time coach at Soldan High School, where he won a state championship in 1981. He was also an assistant for Vashon for their 1971 state title. Cardinal Ritter has been deadly accurate from the floor this season, making almost 61 percent of their shots.

Head coach: Marvin Neals (470-150)
Record: 26-3
Current winning streak: 8
Semifinal appearances: 5
State titles: 4 (1990, ’95, ’96, 2003)
Sectionals: 68-42, Bowling Green
Quarterfinals: 66-43, Macon
•Scoring: Marquis Jones, 16.6 ppg
•Rebounds: Jonathon Moseley, 4.6 rpg, Laird Bowers, 4.3 rpg
•Assists: Darian Jones, 3.6 apg

CAMERON DRAGONS—Cameron is enjoying unprecedented success in this year’s playoffs. This is the eighth time they’ve made it to the post-season, but before 2006, they were 0-7 in the playoffs. The Dragons are led in scoring by a familiar duo, to those who follow high school basketball. Drew Newhart, who is second on Missouri’s all time passing yardage list and Eric Anderson, who has Missouri records for receptions and receiving yardage, average 17.2 and 13.4 points per game respectively. Head coach Kevin Nichols were be relying on their leadership, as Cameron looks to grab a state title in basketball to go with the one Newhart and Anderson both won in football. Cameron also won the Class 1 wrestling title this year.

Head coach: Kevin Nichols (438-163)
Record: 27-3
Current winning streak: 9
Semifinal appearances: 0
State titles: 0
Sectionals: 52-34, Smithville
Quarterfinals: 49-38 Hogan Prep Academy
•Scoring: Eric Anderson 17.2 apg
•Rebounds: Eric Anderson 7.3 rpg
•Assists: Drew Newhart 4.9 apg