The Parkway West Longhorns will ride a three-game winning streak into its annual tournament.
The event now is called the Circle 7 Ranch Showdown.
“The tournament has been around since the 1980s and has had a number of sponsors as well as being played at various locations including Maryville University, Missouri Baptist University, and Parkway West,” Longhorns coach John Wright said. “The boys are excited and take pride in being the hosts of the tournament.”
De Smet won the tournament last year. The Spartans are the top seed the tournament that tips off Monday and runs through Friday.
De Smet (11-5) has two juniors in Sekou Gassama (6-foot-10) and Yaya Keita (6-9) that give it good size. Senior forward Michael Skoff leads the Spartans in scoring. Two young talented guards in sophomores Brian Taylor and Thomas Redmond gives De Smet speed and solid shooters.
The other tourney seeds are 2. Hazelwood Central. 3. Parkway Central. 4. Lafayette. 5. Kirkwood. 6. Parkway South. 7. Parkway West. 8. Liberty.
Kirkwood is new to the tournament this year.
First-round action begins Monday. At 4 p.m. Parkway South faces Parkway Central. Following at 5:30 p.m., Hazelwood Central plays Parkway West. At 7 p.m. De Smet meets Liberty. In the nightcap at 8:30 p.m., Kirkwood squares off against Lafayette.
Loser’s bracket and winner’s brackets game will be played at the same times Wednesday. The finals will be held Friday. The championship game is set for 8:30 p.m.
Wright believes the field is competitive once again.
“De Smet and Hazelwood Central come in as the favorites and the rest of the field boasts some really good teams that are playing good basketball,” Wright said. “DeSmet is one of the top teams in the area.”
Parkway West is getting better. The Longhorns were 3-7 but with three consecutive victories, Parkway West stands 6-7.
Wright said he likes how his squad is improving.
“The Longhorns had a slow start but have been showing improvement as the season progresses,” Wright said. ”The team is gaining confidence as it gains experience. Our goal is to improve each time we play and I feel like we have done that for the most part.
“The guys are believing in themselves and have continued to work hard each day. Having some success fuels that competitive desire and we are eager to compete against some high level teams in the upcoming tournament.”
Sophomore Tre’ Bell has led the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game. Bell, along with some other underclassmen, are helping the Longhorns get better.
“He has shown strong improvement since joining the varsity team at the halfway point last season as a freshman,” Wright said. “Junior Logan Wich has been another player providing some scoring punch at 10.2 points per game. Sophomore JaMarion Wayne has been a force on the boards. However, the team has relied on a balanced attack.
“It has been a team effort with multiple players providing important contributions in various ways.”