Carte’Are Gordon knew the boos were coming.
A 6 foot, 9 inch junior and five-star Saint Louis University recruit, Gordon is often poked and prodded by opponents in an attempt to provoke his fiery temper.
Last night, he got his heaviest dose of harassment yet. The opponent this time: his former school.
With boos raining down on him every time he touched the ball, Gordon posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and four steals, and the Webster Statesmen (25-2) took down Vianney 57-41 to win their first District championship in three years.
“Right before the game, Coach told us to rebound hard. That was the most important thing, and that’s what I did,” Gordon said. “This was fun; it feels great.”
Gordon, who became a big name at Vianney before transferring back to his hometown of Webster Groves, said after the game with a smile, “I’m at the place I’m supposed to be at.”
Webster’s team as a whole is in the right place right now, as well. Though winners of 19 straight, it was widely known that the District championship round has been the bane of the program’s existence for the past two years. This time, the Statesmen put those memories behind them.
The versatility of Webster was on show especially; perhaps even more impressive than Gordon was senior Cam Potts. While Vianney was doing everything it could to limit junior Louisville commit Courtney Ramey to four points, senior Cam Potts was taking over on offense with his acrobatics and even the occasional deep jumper.
Potts scored a game-leading 24 points, while adding six rebounds and four steals. Though not usually a three-point shooter, the back-to-back triples he hit in the second quarter gave Webster its first double digit lead of the game at 24-12.
Potts then ended the first half with a baseline drive and an athletic double-pump, reverse layup released just in time to beat the buzzer. The Statesmen took a 31-21 lead to the break.
But in the raucous atmosphere at the District host Lindbergh’s gym, Vianney wouldn’t come quietly. A 13-4 stretch in the third shaved Webster’s advantage to just 37-34. The Statesmen answered with an identical run, capped by a Ramey dunk with five minutes left that put Webster up 50-38 and forced a Vianney timeout.
Due in part to Webster’s struggles at the free throw line in the first half, Vianney started fouling with 4:30 left to slow down the game. Not phased, the Statesmen held Vianney to three points the remainder of the game. The defense was critical, as Webster’s offense failed to convert on three fast breaks, giving Vianney plenty of opportunities. When the starters subbed out with 45 seconds left, the Statesmen faithful were finally able to rejoice.
Webster will take on District 8 champion Battle in a “Sweet Sixteen” State sectional next Wednesday at Maryville College. The last time the Statesmen played there, they were eliminated by CBC three years ago in the same playoff round. This time around, Webster is number one in the state, and a District title, to the team, is only the beginning.
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