With such highly touted teams as Althoff and Cahokia in the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional, it may be easy to overlook the Columbia and Waterloo boys basketball squads. But both teams are playing very well heading into the postseason, as evidenced by convincing wins on Friday night.
The Bulldogs (13-15) earned their fourth straight victory — all in the conference — in dominating fashion, dismantling Civic Memorial by the score of 55-37 on senior night at Waterloo High School.
Waterloo seemed to feed off the positive energy being emitted from the home crowd before the opening tip, storming out to a 27-6 lead at the end of one quarter.
Rick Wiegand put on a show for the Bulldogs faithful in his final home game, hitting three-pointer after three-pointer on his way to a 26-point night. Fellow senior Max Schrader also scored in double digits for the ‘Dogs, who led 34-13 at halftime. Another senior, Sam Dodd, had another strong night on the boards in the victory.
“This team that struggled immensely earlier in the season shooting the basketball has just found its stroke all of the sudden,” Waterloo head coach CJ Cruser said following the game.
In fact, his team only missed one shot in the entire first quarter.
Cruser said he was proud of how his team has continued to press on despite its early struggles. Were it not for three one-possession losses, the defending Mississippi Valley Conference champion Bulldogs would be 8-2 and in the title race again this season.
“The kids haven’t had a lot to play for lately, but the effort has just been outstanding,” Cruser said. “I’m really amazed at how well and how hard they’ve played. A lot of our goals weren’t met, and they’re still able to play that hard. That is a testament to these kids.”
Waterloo faces conference foe Mascoutah on Monday night in the regional. If the Bulldogs should win, they would play Althoff on Wednesday night.
Also playing in the same regional on Monday night is Columbia. The Eagles will play Freeburg.
On Friday, the Eagles improved to 17-10 on the season with their second straight win, 55-40 at Triad.
Junior Korbin Farmer led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds, as Columbia pulled away late after trailing by three points after the first quarter. The Eagles led 28-22 at halftime and never let up in the second half.
Ryan Gudeman added 15 points for the Eagles.
If Columbia should win Monday night, a game against Cahokia looms on Wednesday.
In other local boys high school basketball action from Friday night, the Valmeyer Pirates lost in the Class 1A New Athens Regional championship game to Okawville, 60-33. The Pirates trailed 20-4 after the first quarter and couldn’t recover. Due to Marissa not wanting to travel in the prediction of inclement weather on Saturday, the basketball game for Saturday was cancelled. The game will be played Monday. The seniors will be honored starting at 6:30 p.m.
In the Class 2A Chester Regional championship game, Pinckneyville put an end to Gibault’s season on Friday night, 53-39. Pinckneyville led 28-20 at halftime. Trevor Davis scored 16 points to lead the Hawks, who finished their season 20-10.