Webster Groves grinds past Parkway North for big conference victory
By: Jonathan Duncan
Few people expected this edition of Webster Groves basketball to have 20 wins or be super-competitive when the season started.
Friday night at Parkway North, the young Statesmen put themselves in position to claim another Suburban South conference championship.
Thanks to 13 points from Alex Floresca, 13 points from Stephen Harris, and a 12-point effort from Michael Gulve, Webster scratched out a 64-57 road win over a determined Vikings club in front of a loud and raucous crowd on Senior Night.
“We to our guys about to leave a mark at Webster, that you’ve got to be really, really good, because that’s our history, Webster coach Jay Blossom said. “They’ve got a chance to win 20. They’ve got a chance to win a conference championship, and that’s a chance to leave a mark and I think they take pride in that.”
Webster (18-6, 5-1 in the Suburban South) jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first quarter on a layup by Cameron Hilton and a bucket from Sam Craig.
In the second quarter, Parkway North (10-14, 3-4) pulled ahead 19-15 on a three-ball from Aaron Hines. Hines, who played his final home game for North, finished the night with a game-high 21 points.
Webster responded late in the half though as Craig drilled a three-ball at the second quarter buzzer to give the Statesmen a 32-28 lead at the break.
“I think they (Parkway North) got up four and we could have shut down, but we really did a good job of keeping our composure,” Blossom said.
The action stayed tight through the third quarter as Edwin Bracic heated up for North with a pair of three-balls from the perimeter. Braci pumped in 16 points.
Bracic and Hines kept the Vikings hanging right with Webster.
“Those have been the two guys that have putting the ball in the basket for us most of the season,” Parkway North coach Russell Vincent said. “They do a really nice job.”
Trey Richard drilled a 12-footer to pull the Vikings even at 55 apiece with 3:41 left.
But North missed its next three shots and Webster pulled ahead 59-55 on a pair of Floresca free-throws and a Gulve drive to the basket for two.
“When we got down late, I thought we kind settled a couple of times for some shots instead of getting to the foul line but I think they (the kids) played extremely hard,” Vincent said.
Floresca and Gulve finished out the final two minutes for Webster by knocking down five straight free-throws as the Statesmen grinded out the win.
“That was a grind it out type of win and a great team win for us,” Blossom said.