The Waterloo, Columbia and Gibault boys basketball squads all posted victories Saturday in the first round of regional play. All three hope to be playing for regional titles come Friday.
In the Class 3A Centralia Regional, Waterloo (18-14) won 68-59 at home over Carbondale on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the buzzer Friday night at Highland to close out the regular season – and lost 6-foot-8 freshman Alex Stell to an ankle injury in the process.
Still, Waterloo clawed out a 28-26 halftime edge against the Terriers’ full-court press. After three quarters, Waterloo’s lead was 42-38.
The Bulldogs were up 61-54 with one minute remaining, and made crucial free throws down the stretch to claim victory. For the game, Waterloo shot 78 percent from the charity stripe.
Ty Lenhardt scored 27 points and Logan Calvert added 19 points for Waterloo, which next plays at Centralia on Wednesday night. Centralia is 26-3 on the season.
This is Waterloo’s first 18-win season since 2007. First-year head coach Allen Siedle was a member of that squad.
Lenhardt, a 6-foot-3 senior who has committed to play at Illinois College, is averaging 15.8 points and 2.86 assists this season.
Calvert, a 6-foot-5 senior, is averaging 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.
Stell is averaging eight points and 8.4 rebounds per game. His 240 points this season tops Lenhardt’s freshman total of 230.
Schrader, a 6-foot-2 senior, is averaging 8.1 points and 4.5 assists per game and is shooting 44 percent from three-point range.
With a win Wednesday, the ‘Dogs would face either Mt. Vernon or Herrin for the regional title Friday night.
In the Class 2A Wesclin Regional, Columbia (23-8) used a couple of key scoring runs to soar past Wesclin at home on Saturday, 61-42.
The Eagles trailed 14-11 after the first quarter, but got things going in the second frame. A Sam Donald bucket put them up 17-16 with 5:15 remaining before halftime. That was followed by a Glenn Powers basket, after which Dylan Murphy nailed a three-pointer. In a flash, Columbia led 22-16 with just less than four minutes left in the first half.
Columbia led 26-21 at halftime.
The Eagles came out of the gate on fire to start the second half, going on an 11-0 run. Powers and Jack Steckler made three-pointers, then Powers made a bucket while fouled and converted the three-point play. Dom Voegele got into the act, and Columbia was suddenly up 37-21.
Columbia never looked back from there, advancing to a Wednesday night showdown with Mater Dei (19-11) at Wesclin. A win would pit the Eagles against either Breese Central or Althoff in Friday’s regional final.
Steckler led the Eagles with 18 points, followed by Powers with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Donald added eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Murphy, a 6-foot-6 junior, leads Columbia in scoring this season at 15.4 points per game. He’s also averaging nearly six rebounds per contest.
Steckler, a 6-foot-1 junior, is averaging 10.3 points per game.
Donald, a 6-foot-6 freshman, is averaging 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, and with 302 points is believed to be only the second CHS varsity hoopster to top 300 points as a freshman.
Powers, a 6-foot-2 senior who has committed to play at Millikin University, is averaging 9.5 points and 2.6 assists.
In the Class 1A Gibault Regional, the host Hawks had no trouble in their first round matchup against Lebanon on Saturday, winning 64-24.
Gibault (20-9) will now host Catholic rival Father McGivney (16-15) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. With a win, the Hawks would face either Madison or Lovejoy in Friday’s regional final.
Gibault beat Father McGivney, 58-27, back on Dec. 18.
The Hawks led 16-0 after the first quarter Saturday night and never relented. Owen Scherff and Jude Green each scored 13, while Kaden Augustine added 11 points. Green also pulled down 16 rebounds.
Augustine, a 6-foot-tall junior, leads the Hawks in scoring at 14.5 points per game – including 39.4 percent from three-point range.
Kameron Hanvey, a 5-foot-10 junior, is averaging 9.6 points and 2.3 steals per game while serving as a top defender.
Green, a 6-foot-3 senior, is averaging eight points and eight rebounds per contest.
Father McGivney advanced via a 70-47 victory at Valmeyer (3-22) on Saturday, ending the Pirates’ season.
Also in the Gibault Regional, Lovejoy (9-16) downed Dupo (6-17) by the count of 63-44, ending the Tigers’ season.