Webster juniors Courtney Ramey and Carte’Are Gordon are doing all they can to catch the eyes of everyone in the nation.
Playing on their third consecutive day and after a four-hour drive to Kansas City, the Statesmen (18-2) defeated Iowa City West 76-68 in a convincing showing tonight.
Ramey and Gordon scored 28 points a piece, showing off their flashy chemistry at the Best of the Midwest Showcase against the top-ranked team in Iowa.
“It’s a grind, but to win State you’ve gotta do that,” senior Kevin Butler said.
“We’ve done it before,” interim head coach Scott Stallcup said on the rigorous schedule the team has faced over the last three days. “We’ve traveled; we’ve played in Joplin before; we’ve played in other places. I think those times helped us prepare.”
Stallcup is 9-0 in his temporary role, though Jay Blossom is hoping to be back on the sideline by the end of next week.
In this premiere matchup, Webster got off to a slow start before the Gordon-Ramey duo lit a fire in the Statesmen with an alley-oop, lobbed from the corner by Ramey for Gordon to finish. It was one of several emphatic dunks for the SLU commit.
Webster only led by two at the end of the first quarter, but opened up a double-digit lead in the second, aided by poor three-point shooting from the Iowa City West Trojan star Connor McCaffery, an Iowa commit and son of Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery.
The Trojans shot 1/10 from beyond the arc in the first half, and Webster took advantage, going into the break up 38-24.
McCaffery wouldn’t make it easy on the Statesmen, though. The Trojans finally got hot in the fourth quarter, hitting threes on four straight possessions to fuel a 12-4 run that cut the Webster lead to 58-52 with three minutes left.
“Good shooters are going to make shots, and we’ve got a lot of great shooters,” McCaffery, who finished with 21, said. “We competed better in the second half, but we didn’t get it done in the first half.”
“We played really well the first half,” Stallcup said. “I don’t think the workload affected us until late in the game.”
Even on fumes though, Webster came up big. Gordon answered the Iowa City West surge with a momentum-saving three-point play. The Trojans got the ball down 61-54 moments later, but senior Cam Potts took a charge to shut down the rally. Senior Kevin Butler converted a big layup at the other end to get the lead back to nine.
Iowa City West hung around with three after three in the last minute, but the Statesmen kept the comfortable distance by hitting their free throws, closing out a 76-68 win.
“You’ve got to play in these types of games down the stretch, you’ve got to win six in a row to win State,” Butler said.
To read sports columnist Bennett Durando’s live Twitter coverage of the game visit Storify at: https://storify.com/WGECHO/bennett-from-the-bleachers-589fb6a39908a45013b63892
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