Festus Tigers Class 5 District 1 Playoff Preview

The Festus Tigers Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams will compete in the first round of the Class 5 District 1 Tournament this week.

It’s playoff basketball time, and that means the games are all win or go home from here on out. In Class 5 District 1, the Festus Tigers Girls and Boys Varsity squads will enter tournament play this week, and despite holding lower seeds, both teams will be looking to make a deep run.

The boys will kick things off on Wednesday against budding rivals the Windsor Owls. The teams split the two meetings this season, and those games literally could not have been closer. Festus won the first matchup at home in mid December by a score of 60-59. Then earlier this month they traveled to Imperial, MO and the Owls turned the tables on them with a 54-53 win. It’s safe to say these two teams are pretty evenly matched.

They also represent the 4th and 5th seeds in the Tournament. The Tigers, with their 20-6 record, earned the fifth spot, while Windsor snagged the four-seed despite going 19-7. To win this one, Festus is going to need to contain big man Layton Hollis inside, who leads the team by averaging over 13 points per game and has 137 rebounds this season. They’ll also need to keep tight coverage on outside shooters Max Hartmann and Noah Barnes, who have nearly 90 three-pointers between them.

As for the Tigers, they will lean on superstar and leading scorer Arhmad Branch, who averages over 22 PPG and leads the team with 136 assists. When he’s not scoring he’ll be looking to dish the ball outside to a red-hot Carter Roth, who averages over 11 points a game and is deadly from downtown. He’s made 73 from beyond the arc, including 22 in his last four games. Logan Cash and Hayden Bates will need to continue to be big in the paint and around the rim as the pair averages over five boards a game each. Both can go off offensively as well, putting up roughly 13 and nine PPG, respectively.

It will take a team effort to knock off this gritty Owls squad though, and with such a razor-thin margin of victory in the first two games this season, the Tigers will need to execute with high efficiency.

As for the Lady Tigers, they come in as the six-seed and will take on the third-ranked Cape Central Tigers on Thursday. Both teams come in at 15-10, but there will be some unfamiliarity in this one, as the two squads haven’t played each other this year. In fact, none of these girls have seen action against each other in their High School careers.

Games can be tricky when you don’t know what to expect, but if records are any indicator, these two squads appear to be pretty evenly matched. Central won five in a row and was playing some of their best basketball of the season, before getting buried by Park Hills 80-33 in their final game before the District Tournament. Where as the Tigers enter the playoffs on a hot streak. They won their last five regular season games and will be looking to carry that momentum into what is their most important game of the season.

For the Tigers to pull off the victory they will need to lean heavily on the top tandem of Josie Allen and Ciara McDonald. Allen, the team’s leading scorer and passer (17.3 PPG & 67 assists) is the most dangerous offensive threat and will need to get open early and often. She also leads the team in three-pointers, so getting to the outside will be critical as well. McDonald, who averages over 10 points a game will be counted on immensely on both ends of the court. She leads the team with 175 rebounds.

But it won’t just be those two. Mya Courtois, Elizabeth Skaggs and Jersey Latham will be called upon as well, and this team tends to win when their starting five are all in synch and executing their specific roles. They’ll need to be on their game against higher-ranked, unfamiliar foe.

It looks to be an exciting week of basketball for both teams. Good luck Tigers! Festus Tigers Class 5 District 1 Playoff Preview

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