Hoopin’ into the holidays

The Gibault boys basketball team gathers in a circle on the floor prior to a recent home contest. 

It’s almost Christmas, which is an especially exciting time of year for fans of local high school hoops. 

The annual Columbia-Freeburg Holiday Tournament is set for Dec. 27-29 in the Columbia High School gym. 

In addition to the two alternating host schools, teams in this year’s tourney are Gibault, Waterloo, Civic Memorial, Marquette, Nelson County, Ky., and Columbia’s junior varsity squad.

Columbia (6-4) is happy to see the return of 6-foot-5 sophomore Brody Landgraf to its lineup after missing some games due to a broken pinky finger. 

“He broke it diving into a pile for a loose ball,” Columbia head coach Mark Sandstrom said. “Obviously that has had a huge influence on our current record along with the strength of schedule we have been playing.”

The Eagles lost 41-34 to Breese Central on Friday, with Sam Donald and Hayes van Breusegen the only two players scoring on the night. Both had 17 points.

On Saturday, Columbia dropped a 49-36 contest against Teutopolis at Greenville. The Eagles led 17-11 after the first quarter, but Teutopolis took control from there. Brady Hemminghaus scored nine points for the Eagles.

Columbia hosted Roxana on Tuesday night, winning 53-20. Donald scored 15 points and Micah James scored 14 points.

The Eagles open holiday tourney play at 11 a.m. Wednesday against Civic Memorial. 

See the full tourney bracket below. 

Donald, a 6-foot-8 junior, leads Columbia at 21 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on the season. 

 Waterloo (6-4) has won three of its past four games. 

The Bulldogs won 39-34 over Civic Memorial at home on Friday, rallying from being down 28-22 after three quarters.

Last Tuesday, Waterloo lost 62-54 to Freeburg. Caleb Yochum scored 16 points, with Alex Stell contributing 15 points and 13 rebounds. 

Waterloo hosts Jerseyville on Friday before taking on Marquette in the tourney at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Stell, a 6-foot-10 junior, is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game on the season. Yochum is averaging 12 points per game.

Gibault (4-6) won 55-42 over Father McGivney on Saturday, giving longtime head coach Dennis Rueter (pictured) career victory number 800. Gavin Kesler poured in 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Kanen Augustine added 14 points.

It was initially thought Saturday’s win was Rueter’s 799th victory. However, the school was informed this week by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association that the win was indeed his 800th.

So, prior to this Friday’s home game against Wesclin at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Hawks encourage all alumni, fans and former players to come and help celebrate this coaching milestone. 

On Friday, Gibault lost 53-38 at Mater Dei. Kesler scored 11 points and Augustine added 10 points before fouling out. 

Rueter’s squad plays at Pinckneyville on Thursday. 

Gibault opens holiday tourney play at 2 p.m. Wednesday against Nelson County. 

Kesler leads the Hawks in scoring at 16.7 points per game, followed by Augustine at 14 points and 2.4 steals per contest.

Valmeyer (3-6) dropped a 61-52 match at Steeleville on Friday despite 14 points from Landon Roy, 13 points from Tanner Frierdich and 10 points from Aiden Crossin. 

The Pirates played Tuesday at Dupo, winning 53-11. Roy led the way with 10 points and eight steals.

Dupo (0-7) lost to Steeleville last Wednesday and to New Athens on Friday. 

Kaden Scheppelman is the top scorer for the Tigers so far this season. 

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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