against Freeburg on Friday. (Corey Saathoff photo)
The playoffs have already begun for a few local boys high school basketball teams, while others still have a few days to prepare for March Madness.
For Valmeyer, the madness started Monday night in the Class 1A New Athens Regional. The Pirates were taken to the brink of defeat by a small but determined bunch from Lovejoy, escaping with a 63-60 overtime win.
Valmeyer trailed 27-20 at halftime, but rallied to send the game into overtime with a fourth quarter scoring spree. The Pirates continued to sink shots in the overtime to emerge victorious. As a team, Valmeyer shot just 24 percent from the floor for the game.
Zach Williams scored 20 points to lead the Pirates and added 12 assists. Ryan Unterseh added 18 points, and Jared Berning provided a boost with 12 rebounds.
The Pirates advanced to the regional semifinals, where they will play host team and conference rival New Athens on Wednesday night.
On Saturday, Valmeyer lost at Wood River in a regular season contest, 81-68. Unterseh led the way with 21 points and Williams scored 18 points, including 4-for-4 shooting from behind the arc.
A Friday night game against Marissa was postponed due to weather and will be played this Saturday at Valmeyer starting at 6:15 p.m. Senior team members will be honored prior to the game.
In Class 2A, Gibault is the number two seed in the Chester Regional. The Hawks will play host team Chester tonight (Wednesday) for the right to play in Friday’s title game. Pinckneyville is the top seed.
On Friday, Gibault was clicking on all cylinders in a postseason tune-up game against Lovejoy at home. The Hawks (19-9) led 44-20 at halftime and cruised to a 79-50 victory.
Gibault shot 60 percent from the floor as a team in the win.
Brian Deterding scored 23 points to lead the Hawks and also pulled down 13 rebounds. Jacob Rueter added 19 points and 12 assists. Trevor Davis scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Waterloo and Columbia each played conference teams on Friday that they will face in the first round of the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional on Monday.
Waterloo, the number five seed in the regional, will play Mascoutah at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the ‘Dogs pulled out a 46-44 win over the Indians in a tough battle.
“The game was very physical,” Waterloo head coach CJ Cruser said. “We battled through foul trouble and injury to escape with a hard fought road win.”
Waterloo was coming off a conference win over Highland that Cruser said was “easily our most complete victory of the year.”
Sam Dodd got Waterloo off to a good start with some early scoring against Mascoutah, Cruser said, and Max Schrader hit a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Senior Rick Wiegand helped extend Waterloo’s three-point halftime lead by scoring nine of his 13 points in the third quarter.
“The kids just keep playing extremely hard every night out despite our record,” Cruser said. “These seniors are doing everything they can to play spoiler for the rest of the conference. We will see Mascoutah next week in the regional and I won’t expect anything less than another grudge match with them.”
Waterloo hosts Civic Memorial for senior night on Friday before Monday’s regional game.
Columbia, the number three seed in the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional, battled Freeburg at home on Friday for senior night, rolling to a 68-39 victory.
The Eagles (16-10) will play Freeburg again in the regional on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Jonathan Holmes poured in 17 points with nine rebounds for Columbia, with Drew Huebner and Zach Mathews each adding 12 points as the Eagles led 31-16 at halftime and never looked back
“I thought we were ready to play from the tip and I thought we played a complete 32 minutes even though we didn’t shoot the ball at a high percentage,” Columbia head coach Mark Sandstrom said. “Our defensive pressure and offensive transition really bothered them. We wanted to use this game as a building block for regional play.”
The Eagles play at Triad on Friday night in a postseason tune-up prior to Monday’s regional contest.
If Waterloo should defeat Mascoutah, the ‘Dogs would take on Althoff next Wednesday. If Columbia should defeat Freeburg, the Eagles would face Cahokia next Wednesday. The Class 3A regional final will be played Friday, March 6.