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McCormack happy with Priory’s start to the basketball season

It’s two down and one to go for the Priory Rebels basketball team.

One of Priory’s goals this season, coach Bob McCormack said, was to win the tournaments they will play.

The Rebels captured the Lutheran St. Charles Crusader Classic and the Affton Holiday Tournament.

“They loved winning those tournaments,” McCormack said about his squad. “Anytime when you set goals and … you do it that’s great. We won them both. We’re pretty pleased with how we’re doing.”

The Rebels will play in the Fort Zumwalt North Invitational. The tourney runs Jan. 27-Feb. 1.

“That’s a real good tournament we’re in there at the end of January,” McCormack said. “There are some great teams in there like Fort Zumwalt North, Sikeston, Rock Bridge, Parkway North and Troy.

“I think it will help get us ready for the district tournament with those good teams in there.”

McCormack said his squad will attempt to capture another tourney title.

“We want to reach our goals,” McCormack said. “We’ve added two trophies to our trophy case and there’s room for another one.”

The Rebels are off to a 9-2 start. Priory has a five-game winning streak. The Rebels play at 7 p.m. Friday at John Burroughs (4-5) in a Metro League game. Priory is 1-0 in league action. It will be the first conference game for the Bombers.

A 66-39 loss to Tolton opened the season for Priory.

“We knew it would be a tough game for us,” McCormack said. “We only had our soccer players for back for about a week or so and football players a little bit longer. We started practice with just five or six guys. It was tough. Our soccer players played fora state championship and the football team went deep into the postseason.

“The Tolton game was a good barometer for us for where we’d like to be. We’ve straightened things out since then.”

Priory won the Lutheran St. Charles Cougar Classic. The Rebels defeated Alton Marquette 40-24 to win the title.

“We’ve won that tournament now at least three times and this win made it back-to-back championships for us,” McCormack said. “That’s the mark of a team that makes adjustments and focuses on what it needed to do after we lost to Tolton.

“They were really ready to play. We had some nice niches on our team. They all know their roles and they’re all doing them pretty well right now.”

Priory then won the Affton Holiday Tournament.

“We wanted to go in playing well. You’re playing three games in three days so it’s a good test,” McCormack said. “You have to play a lot of players. We did that. It was nice to beat an opponent like Summit in the final. They are in our district.”

Priory opened beating Affton 59-28 and then defeated Windsor 55-43. McCormack liked what he saw in those wins.

“Any time you can create offense when with your on defense, that’s good,” McCormack said. “Our trapping defense is one where we can turn some people over and create easy baskets for ourselves.”

Priory met Summit for the Affton title.

“We never played them before,” McCormack said. “It was a new opponent for us.”

The Rebels scored a 59-46 victory.

“It’s one of those deals where we concentrated defensively and got it done,” McCormack said. “We wanted to get consecutive stops so a team can’t go on a run on us. We’re capable of doing that and we did that against them. That was the difference in the teams.”

Junior forward Harrison Wilmsen and senior guard Charlie Ferrick were named to the all-tournament team. Wilmsen is averaging 16 points a game this winter. Ferrick scored at a 13.3 points per game clip.

“They’ve been playing well,” McCormack said. “Our practices are pretty intense and we try to make them as fun as we can. Our second team pushes our first team. Charlie isn’t averaging as much as he did last year but he’s fine with it. He said we’re such a more total team this year and it’s fun because of that.

“When your best player and the player of the year in the conference is talking like that, you know you have a good thing going.”

Sophomore guard Jahaad Fort also caught McCormack’s eye recently with his play.

“Ford has just really stepped it up on both ends of the floor,” McCormack said.

Other Rebels also are contributing, McCormack said.

“Junior Miles Kee is our point guard and he had an unbelievable football season,” McCormack said. “Michael Spenser is looking good. Harry Thome, our 6-6 guy, is playing well off the bench. Michael twisted his ankle in the Affton Tournament and we’ve started Harry in the last two games and he’s been special. He’s long and he can rebound and alter shots. He gives us another dimension.”

McCormack is pleased overall with this club and how it is playing.

“It’s been a great start. We’re getting great contributions from the bench. It’s been a lot of fun coaching these guys for sure,” McCormack said. “I tell them when you put 3 1/2 or 4 solid quarters together, good things happen and that’s what we’ve done.”

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