Columbia, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Incarnate Word Academy left no doubt that it’s the best girls’ basketball team in the state.
The real question might be: How good are the Red Knights on a national scale?
Webb City witnessed IWA’s dominance first hand on Saturday as the Lady Cardinals lost 63-22 in the Class 4 state title game. The victory gives IWA its fourth state title since the 2005-06 season and first undefeated season.
“Wow,” said Webb City coach Brad Shorter. “They were very good. That’s an incredible team.”
Red Knights sophomore Napheesa Collier lived up to her recent Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Player of the Year award. She scored 26 on 9-for-10 shooting from the field, adding in 14 rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
Shorter said he’s coached against players that have gone on to play at schools such as Duke and Oklahoma.
“She’s the best,” Shorter said of Collier. “She gets so many shots around the best and athletically, she can create her own shot at any time.
“I swear there was one time she was up around the rim for a rebound.”
IWA (No. 9 nationally MaxPreps, No. 12 USA Today) finished off a flawless season that included a schedule featuring the top Class 4 and 5 teams in the state, as well as teams from Illinois, Kentucky and Alabama.
“We wanted to play the hardest schedule we could to prepare us for these two games this weekend,” said IWA coach Dan Rolfes.
Does an undefeated state title make this the best team in school history?
“It’s hard to argue that it’s not,” Rolfes said. “We’ve had some pretty good teams along the way.
“I’d take this team any day.”
IWA shot 23-for-46 from the field. Webb City finished 8-for-40, including 2-for-18 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t shoot very well, but they had a lot to do with that,” Shorter said. “I’m still proud of my team to get here to this point.”
Desirea Buerge led Webb City with eight points. The Lady Cardinals trailed 38-17 at halftime and scored just five points in the second half.
“We came in knowing the odds, but we were still going to go in and fight,” said Webb City’s Mikaela Burgess. “That’s easily the best team I’ve played against. They’ll shut you down.”
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