After three seniors graduated from the previous year The Kirkwood Boys Varsity Basketball Team brought back the majority of the varsity team from last year. Bringing in a host of juniors coupled with some sophomores and returning senior leadership the boys are hoping for a strong season according to Jonah Mcdowell, senior. After an 8-2 start to the season, the Pioneers seemed to be heading a championship going into their annual Denver Miller Tournament. Coming off two consecutive victories over the Lafayette Lancers and the Lebanon Yellow Jackets, the Pioneers looked very strong coming into their first round matchup with the Ladue Rams according according to Bill Gunn, boys varsity basketball Coach.
“We felt very confident coming into our first game,” Gunn said. “We were really looking forward to moving on in the tournament and playing against Jennings and McClure North, two of the better teams in St. Louis. We wanted to win in order to measure ourselves against that caliber of a team.”
A 64-61 loss Tuesday, January 8, 2019 suffered at the hands of the Ladue Rams in which Kirkwood held the lead for a majority of the game. Up 13 at halftime, the Pioneers failed to finish the second half strong and finished with the loss.
“We came out strong, but in the second half we faltered,” McDowell said. “That has been our downfall this year. We came out and became to comfortable with our lead and too loose with the ball. Some of our possessions were not the best.”
After the loss to the Rams, the Pioneers responded with a 80-66 win over U-City January 10, 2019. Going into the second half with the lead and never relinquishing it Kirkwood came away with the win.
“We regrouped and went back to practice and had to play a good U-City team,” Gunn said. “I thought we did some good things to get a win there. I think the guys really responded well. We had some adversity and we weren’t really happy with the outcome, but we got together and took care of the U-City game.”
Due to the weather Friday, January 10, 2019 the game was canceled. The Pioneers are set to finish up their last game of the tournament this Wednesday, January 16, 2018 at seven p.m. as they face the O’fallon Township Panthers.
“We played a complete game against U-City,” McDowell said. “We had a lead going into half and in the second we kept it and came away with the win. If we keep playing like that we should be fine against O’Fallon.”