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Zumwalt North Boys headed to State

October 3, 2012
By Charles Glotta of Panther Basketball


by Greg Neunuebel at stltoday.com

It took virtually no time at all for the Fort Zumwalt North boys basketball team to take control of the Class 5 District 8 championship game.

The Panthers confounded Francis Howell North in the first quarter by scoring the game's first 16 points and coasted to a 66-49 win Friday at Fort Zumwalt East. It's just the third district title for the Panthers and their first since 2002.

"We all knew this would be our best year and that we'd have a chance to do something," Zumwalt North senior guard Wade Rothermich said. "We've worked all summer, spring and fall to get to this point. Coach works us hard, we practice hard every day, and we came up big at the right time of year."

Rothermich helped run the floor during the Panthers' hot start, but it was Jacob Boyd and freshman Chaz Glotta who jump-started the offense. Boyd hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute, and Glotta followed suit with back-to-back treys.

By the time Rothermich dished the ball to Herod Montgomery for an open layup with 2 minutes 25 seconds left in the first quarter, Zumwalt North was in command with a 16-0 lead.

"They came out like a house on fire and really put it to us," Howell North coach Bill Moyer said. " We were down 16-0 before we could blink."

But Howell North was in a familiar circumstance. During the Knights' semifinal win Wednesday against Fort Zumwalt South, they were down 10 points but managed to hang around long enough to force overtime and eventually win 56-52.

But try as they might, the Knights couldn't dig themselves out of this hole. They shrunk Zumwalt North's lead to single-digits in the fourth quarter but never got over the hump.

"I thought our guys fought hard to stay in the game, but we just couldn't overcome that 16-point deficit," Moyer said.

Zumwalt North was shaky from the free-throw line early but hit 17 of 25 foul shots in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Drew Lowrey led all scorers with 19 points, and Chaz Glotta had 18.

Zumwalt North (20-7) clinched its first 20-win season in school history. Next up is Troy, which beat Fort Zumwalt West 56-42 in the District 7 final. That matchup is schedule for Wednesday at Maryville University. The Panthers will seek their first-ever playoff win in that game.

"It's a nice reward for our kids, and I'm happy for them because (they bought in to the idea) that if you work hard, the wins will come," Charles Glotta said. "We came up a little short in league play, but I told the guys all along that the ultimate goal was here."

Andre Wooten scored 15 and Clint Toedtman 14 for Howell North (13-14).

"Losing a game you thought you had a good shot of winning is a bitter pill to swallow," said Moyer, who takes 401 career victories as Howell North's only head coach into next season. "Credit Zumwalt North. That first four minutes was about as good of basketball as you could play."

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