The Waterloo, Gibault and Columbia boys basketball teams are competing in separate mid-winter tournaments this week with varying results.
‘Dogs in Sparta tourney final
The Bulldogs will play for a third straight Sparta Mid-Winter Classic title after winning three games this week.
Waterloo opened play with a 58-32 win over DuQuoin, followed by a dominating 53-18 victory over Steeleville on Thursday.
The ‘Dogs shot 45 percent from the floor as a team in the win over DuQuoin and outscored their opponent 37-17 in the second half. Ryan Aycock led the way with 15 points, including 3-for-6 shooting from three-point range. Fellow senior Rick Wiegand added 14 points.
On Thursday, the Bulldogs (9-10) stormed out to a 30-3 halftime lead over Steeleville and cruised to victory. Waterloo held Steeleville to just 17 percent shooting for the game.
Friday night against Murphysboro, defense reigned supreme once again for the ‘Dogs in a 36-28 win. In a tight defensive battle, coach CJ Cruser’s bunch employed a full-court press much of the game and it wreaked havoc on Murphysboro, knocking the Red Devils out of rhythm.
Waterloo led 16-14 at halftime. Down 22-17 late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs found enough offense to muster a 10-0 run that carried into the early minutes of the fourth quarter. Murphysboro missed several free throws late that would have kept them close, but the ‘Dogs prevailed and will play Trico for the title at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Wiegand hit a couple of clutch three-pointers late as part of his 10 points on the night. Aycock added eight points for the ‘Dogs.
“That’s been our staple all year,” Cruser said of his team’s strong defensive pressure. “We’ve got to get every rebound and can’t have any defensive letdowns because they are magnified when you’re having trouble scoring. We did enough on offense in the fourth quarter to pull through tonight.”
Gibault wins two in Okawville
The Hawks started off the Okawville Invitational Tournament on a positive note, defeating Madison 69-55 on Wednesday. As a team, Gibault shot 60 percent from the floor and led 30-14 at halftime.
Brian Deterding had a monster game for the Hawks, scoring 29 points on 14-of-15 shooting from the floor. He also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Trevor Davis, who returned to action after missing a couple of games due to injury, added 18 points and two blocks for the Hawks. Jacob Rueter scored 13 points and dished out 13 assists.Gibault’s Zach Rueter pulls down a rebound earlier this season against Pinckneyville. (John Spytek photo)
Davis was the hero on Friday night, as Gibault pulled out a 64-62 win over Wesclin in the final seconds. The Hawks will play Vandalia at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday for a shot to play in the final against Okawville.
With the game tied at 62 in the final seconds, Davis stole an inbound pass and nailed a 14-footer at the buzzer to win it for the Hawks (12-7). Jacob Rueter also played well in the win, leading Gibault with 18 points. Deterding added 14 points.
The game featured 11 three-point baskets from both teams. The score was tied at 47 late in the third quarter, and Gibault held a four-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the contest.
Columbia drops two at Triad
The Eagles entered the Triad Mid-Winter Classic having won seven straight games and two earlier tournaments already this season. However, Columbia dropped close games to Riverview Gardens on Wednesday and Granite City on Thursday and will play host team Triad for fifth place on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Columbia missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 1.9 seconds left in the 47-46 loss to Riverview Gardens. Columbia head coach Mark Sandstrom said his team had a tough time containing Riverview’s Zeke Moore, who is the second-leading scorer in the St. Louis area. Jonathan Holmes scored 17 points to lead the Eagles. Korbin Farmer added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
On Thursday, the Eagles (12-5) came up just short again, missing a three-point try at the buzzer that would have tied the game in 64-61 defeat. Holmes scored 20 points in the first half and finished with 27 for the game. Farmer scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
“I believe these two games will pay dividends for our kids when it comes postseason time if we were to match-up with Cahokia or Althoff,” Sandstrom said. “We needed to play teams with a lot of quickness and speed.”
Other local hoops action
Valmeyer improved to 10-9 on the season with a 59-44 win over Valley Park on Tuesday night. The Pirates shot 46 percent from the floor in the victory. Zach Williams was the high-point man for Valmeyer with 27 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists. Eric Smith added 11 points.
The Dupo Tigers picked up their third win of the season Thursday over Valley Park, 50-40. Dupo outscored their opponent 29-15 in the second half to storm to victory. Drake Law scored 18 points to lead the Tigers. Tony Cozart added 14 points.