Boys Basketball

Sour ending does little to tarnish Warriors’ sweet season

By Jim Faasen, Correspondent
Posted 3/14/24

What Warrenton (16-13), the district’s sixth seed, accomplished was the program’s first winning season since 2017-18.

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Boys Basketball

Sour ending does little to tarnish Warriors’ sweet season


The clock finally struck midnight Tuesday for the Cinderella that was the Warrenton boys basketball team.

While the Warriors’ 65-37 loss to Fort Zumwalt South at St. Charles in the Class 5 District 4 championship game put an end to the team’s appearance in the proverbial postseason ball, it did little to tarnish the glow of what was a productive campaign as a whole, as senior guard Joe Goldsmith sees it.

“I’m just so proud of my guys, we all worked our (tails) off this year,” Goldsmith said. “The past three years really have been rough but this year, we really went all out and worked so hard in practice. There may have been times when we fought with each other but we all bought in. We all bought in, man. I think that showed with the things we were able to accomplish.”

What Warrenton (16-13), the district’s sixth seed, accomplished was the program’s first winning season since 2017-18. It was a span of five straight losing seasons that included some lean years, according to coach Mark Thomas.

The difference this year, the coach said, laid largely on the collective shoulders of the team’s on-court leadership. Thomas heaped praise upon his seniors in the wake of the defeat.

“I can’t be happier with the way the season went and a lot of it started with our seniors,” Thomas said. “They’ve just done so much for us. The last four years, they suffered through a one-win season and a three-win season and they just kept plugging away. It meant so much to me to have them go out with a winning record and to pull two big district upsets. They did so much for us.”

A third upset wasn’t meant to be, however. Top-seeded South (23-6) scored the game’s first two points on an emphatic back-door alley-oop dunk and the game’s first eight points in rolling to victory.

Thomas said that he knew going in just how tough the contest with the Bulldogs was going to be, especially since he’d already seen what the team could do after South beat Warrenton 77-51 on Feb. 3 to capture the championship at the Southern Boone County tournament.

“We tried two different defenses and they hit threes,” Thomas said. “They’re a really good team with five quality guys and then the next three who come off the bench are really good, as well. They’re really deep. They’re really well coached, so hats off to them, and good luck in the next round and beyond.”

Senior guard Troy Anderson led Warrenton with 14 points while Goldsmith scored seven and sophomore guard Deadrick Forrest and senior guard Charlie Blondin added six points apiece.  

Anderson said that, while the loss carries with it an obvious sting, he, like Goldsmith, takes an ultimate sense of pride in seeing a Warrenton basketball team make it as far as it did.

That’s especially true because no Warriors team has won a district title since 2000, when the program won its most recent of the nine district titles in school history; and the team advanced to a district championship game for the first time since losing the St. Charles West in a district final to end the 2000-01 season.

Anderson said that he was happy to see the team playing at its collective best in pulling upset wins over Parkway North (by a 47-36 score in the district quarterfinal round) and over Holt (45-42 in the semifinal).

“Everybody really counted us out in this district tournament and we showed them who we really are and what we could do as a group,” Anderson said. “We played our best ball at the end of the year and that’s all you can ask for. These guys, these coaches, they just mean so much. It took all of us for this success and we showed what a team could do. I’m excited to see what this team can do in the future.”