It didn’t look pretty, but style points don’t matter in basketball.
The Waterloo High School boys basketball team on Friday night extended its winning streak to nine with a thrilling 37-34 double overtime victory at home over Civic Memorial.
The game was defined by defense and poor shooting. The first quarter set the tone that the game would be a slugfest. The two teams combined for just seven points, with Civic Memorial leading 5-2.
The second quarter wasn’t much better, as the Eagles took a 13-8 lead into the half.
“Early on, it was really ugly for us,” Waterloo coach CJ Cruser said. “We really struggled to get anything near the basket. They (CM) are so tall and it really bothered us.”
The Bulldogs finally started to find their offense in the second half. Zach Schaab and Shane Lenhardt got things going, and Reid Hoffman knocked down a clutch three-pointer in the closing seconds of the third to cut the deficit to 21-19 going into the final frame.
For Cruser, that third quarter run was a turning point in the game.
“We hung around and we persevered,” he said. “We made a nice run and that was good to let them know we weren’t just going to lay down.”Waterloo’s Daniel Gardner goes up strong to the hoop Friday against Civic Memorial. (Gavin Spytek photo)
The ‘Dogs outmuscled the Eagles in the fourth, finally tying the game. The two teams headed into overtime, deadlocked at 25.
One overtime would not be enough, as the Bulldogs and Eagles continued to go punch for punch and the score stood at 30-30 after the first OT.
Waterloo finally emerged from the fracas in the second OT. Schaab chipped in 4 big points, and the ‘Dogs hit their free throws down the stretch.
CM had one final chance to tie things up, but a desperation three-pointer missed as the final buzzer sounded.
“The kids responded, knowing they needed this win to keep us on top in the conference and we are desperately trying to extract 33 years of not ending on top in a conference in basketball,” Cruser said. “Maybe our kids have finally learned how to win games, because they expect to rather than the other way around.”
Waterloo (13-5) takes its winning streak on the road this week, traveling to Triad on Friday.
Gibault had just one game last week, but it was a big one. The Hawks took down fellow Class 1A contender Madison, 69-64, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
Gibault used a balanced scoring attack to top the Trojans. Wes Degener led the way with 18 points, Mitch Meyer added 15 and Nick Row chipped in 11.
Gibault, playing at home for the first time in two weeks, got off to a hot start and never looked back, leading 22-10 after one.
The Hawks continued to assert themselves in the second quarter. The halftime score read 37-20 in favor of the home team.
Madison used a big third quarter to cut the deficit to seven, but Gibault didn’t get fazed. The Hawks hit free throws down the stretch and held on for the five-point victory.
Coach Dennis Rueter said getting out to a quick lead was important, especially with the way Madison came out in the second half.
“It was a game of runs,” he said. “It’s always nice to play from ahead, but we knew it wasn’t over. They had a spurt in the second half, but we didn’t panic.”
Rueter downplayed the idea Friday’s win would be a factor next month.
“I don’t think it will be a huge advantage,” he said. “We wanted to learn from playing them, and they wanted to learn from playing us. If we play again, both teams will make adjustments.”
The win improved Gibault’s record to 16-4. The Hawks hit the road this week. They will visit Okawville on Friday.
Columbia goes 1-2
Columbia played three games last week, defeating Red Bud but losing to Wesclin and Okawville.
Columbia pulled away in the second half against Red Bud, cruising to a 67-53 victory. Ryan Gudeman led the Eagles with 17 points. Korbin Farmer scored 16 and Trey Search added 12.
The next night, Columbia hit a road bump at Wesclin. The Eagles were up 34-26 at halftime, but could not hold on. Wesclin caught fire from three-point land, exploding for 22 points in the third quarter, and the Eagles never recovered, falling 71-65.
Gudeman (16 points) and Farmer (17) were once again the leading scorers for Columbia. Drew Huebner added 14.
After a day off, the Eagles went on the road again to face Okawville. Despite 21 points from Gudeman, Columbia fell, 67-53.
Despite the loss, Columbia coach Mark Sandstrom praised his team’s efforts against Okawville.
“They (Okawville) have two all-staters on their team and we had a hard time matching up with them,” he said. “But I was proud of our effort. We always play hard.”
Despite two losses, Sandstrom and his staff saw plenty of positives from the week, starting with the win over Red Bud.
“We attacked the basket instead of relying on perimeter jump shots,” he said.
Sandstrom also praised the play of Gudeman as “exceptional.”
Sandstrom’s one critical takeaway from the tough stretch is his team’s struggle to play a complete game.
“We just need to keep grinding and trying to get better,” he said.
The Eagles will battle Breese Central on Friday.
Valmeyer loses two
Valmeyer played twice last week. In their first game, the Pirates lost a thriller to Steeleville, 57-52. Though they held an eight-point lead at halftime, Valmeyer went cold in the second half and Steeleville took advantage.
The Pirates were led by Zach Williams with 15 points and Ryan Unterseh with 13.
Valmeyer suffered another loss Friday, falling to Lebanon, 69-53. Williams was again superb, scoring 21 points on the night.