Oakville boys will face McCluer North in Class 5 state sectional Wednesday

By STEPHEN GLOVER

When the Oakville Senior High School boys’ basketball team takes to the court Wednesday night — Feb. 27 — in the Missouri Class 5 state sectional, the Tigers will be playing their toughest game of the season against McCluer North.

McCluer North is the defending Class 5 state champion and has put together a 22-4 record. The Stars recently won the Suburban North Conference as well as the District 7 championship with a nail-biting 62-61 win over Hazelwood Central.

“You’ve got to respect what they’ve done this year and the fact that they’re the defending state champs,” Oakville head coach Nick Traxler said. “They have three Division I recruits, so their athleticism is off the charts.”

Oakville (15-12, 5-3 Suburban West) captured the Class 5 District 8 championship Saturday night with a 51-36 win over host Rockwood Summit.

“We knew going in it was going to be a tough game,” Traxler said. “We had to come in and weather the storm by halftime and then make adjustments for the second half. I think that our kids have done a fabulous job this season by playing as a team.”

Keith Pickens led Oakville with 14 points and seven rebounds. The junior guard also racked up two assists, one steal and three blocked shots in the win over Summit.

“Keith’s really a complement to the entire program,” Traxler said. “We gave him the captain’s role as a junior and I think he’s really taken off in that role this season.”

Oakville’s John Alexander scored another double-double with 12 points and 11 re-bounds while recording one assist. The senior forward is averaging 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

“John’s been averaging double-doubles all year,” Traxler said. “Summit triple teamed him, and it’s just a testament as to how hard he worked in that game.”

Sophomore Torraino Hellems also scored in double figures with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Hellems has been on the varsity squad for 10 games after spending a majority of the season on the junior varsity team. He’s averaging 3.3 points a game on the varsity squad.

“Torraino is a sophomore that we brought up the last 10 games of the season,” Traxler said. “He led the JV in scoring this year and brings instant energy to the team.”

Oakville’s game against McCluer North will begin at 7 p.m. at St. Louis Community College-Meramec.

“If we want to be one of the best teams in the area, then we’ve got to play the best programs,” Traxler said.

“We’ve got to be patient with the ball and if we do that, I like our chances,” the coach added.