Coach vs. Cancer Shootout high school basketball games set for Scottrade Central
By: Warren Mayes
The chance to play basketball for a good cause and the opportunity to do it at the Scottrade Center has created a good field for the fourth annual Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout.
“We are extremely excited to be invited to participate in the shootout,” MICDS coach Matt Hixenbaugh said. “It is a great opportunity to use basketball to make an impact on a larger, more important cause. The Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society do a great job of using the passion of basketball to attack cancer and we are proud to do what we can to help out.
“For our guys it is a great educational opportunity to see the impact of sports on society and that everyone can do something to make a difference.”
CBC coach Bob McCormack agreed.
“Anytime when you’re first asked and they tell you the cause, it’s an absolute no-brainer,” McCormack said. “It makes people aware of the cancer problem. It has touched me personally. My father and brother are both cancer survivors.”
The Cadets will be dressed for the occasion, too.
“We’ll be wearing special warmup suits and sneakers with the pink socks,” McCormack said. “We want to do our part. When you get right down to it, it’s more than a basketball game.”
Plus, Hixenbaugh said, it may inspire the athletes to do more than just play.
“Being part of something that is larger than just a game is a special experience and hopefully will be a catalyst to our guys to create a life of engagement in service to do something to improve the world,” Hixenbaugh said.
The one-day event will have six boys games and one girls game. The action tips off at 10 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 31). Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Shootout formerly was held at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena. However, a new rule by the NCAA put in last year decided colleges could not host high school events and that included these types of shootouts. So, it was moved to the Scottrade Center.
Here is the schedule:
• 10 a.m. — Vianney vs. Lindbergh
• 11:30 a.m. — MICDS vs. St. Louis University High
• 1 p.m. — Quincy Notre Dame girls vs. Nashville girls
• 2:30 p.m — De Smet vs. Rockhurst
• 5 p.m. — Duchesne vs. Peoria Notre Dame
• 6:30 p.m. — Alton Marquette vs. Roxana
• 8 p.m. — CBC vs. Henry Clay of Lexington, Ky.
MICDS has been in every shootout and is 2-1.
“It is a great experience that our guys will remember forever,” Hixenbaugh said. “It also provides an opportunity to look forward at how things are done at the next level.”
Playing in a big arena is different from a high school gym.
“In our experience the greatest challenge is making shots with a completely different background in regard to depth perception behind the baskets,” Hixenbaugh said.”
McCormack said his Cadets will face the same problem.
“The shooting background is a little bit different,” McCormack said. “The court is longer but it’s still 50 feet wide. The venue is a great one. Many times the kids go down there to watch a college game and now they get to play on the same court. It’s a good experience for them.”
The early start time for his Rams is not going to be a problem, Hixenbaugh said.
“The early start allows us to not spend the entire day in anticipation, which is nice,” Hixenbaugh said. “I am sure we will be excited and we look to take advantage of the early start time to hopefully focus our energy.”
SLUH defeated visiting MICDS last season in overtime.
“SLUH is a quality team that is improving,” Hixenbaugh said. “We have seen them play multiple times over the season and they present the challenge of being big and long to go along with multiple guys who can knock down shots.”
Regardless, the game will provide his athletes with a big opportunity, Hixenbaugh said.
“Our guys look at this as an exciting challenge and realize that we need to make them earn every basket by preventing transition and second chance points,” Hixenbaugh said. “Likewise, we need to use the floor to create space to make plays on the offensive end. Our guys are improving and we look at this game as another opportunity to learn and grow as a team so that we can peak when we need to at the tournament.
CBC played in the shootout two years ago and defeated Jefferson City.
“We’re excited to be back playing again,” McCormack said. “Anytime you get to play in a venue like Scottrade and you’re the prime-time game, you take it. We won’t take the opportunity for granted.
“We get to play a great team that is ranked No. 3 in Kentucky. It’s always fun to play a good team from out of town. I hear they have three pretty good juniors. It should be a really good matchup.”
Henry Clay has a three talented juniors in 6-foot-4 forward Jordan Green, 6-7 forward Trey Gundy and 5-10 point guard Christen Cunningham. All are considered Division I prospects.
Of course, CBC also has three talented juniors as well in 6-8 forward Jordan Barnett, 6-5 point guard Patrick McCaw and 6-7 forward Ray Doby. All three as well are Division I prospects.
“Henry Clays is an uptempo team with good players,” McCormack said. “Whenever you talk about Kentucky, you’re talking about basketball. I know they’ll be a very good team.
“When you’re playing a quality program, we’ll have to play well to win. We’ll have to play hard all 32 minutes.”