The Class 1A Okawville Sectional Championship on Friday night was not the first time Gibault and Madison had met this season — and it wasn’t the first time they gave fans a nailbiter.
Last meeting, Gibault hosted Madison at home, marking the Hawks’ first game without star guard/forward Wes Degener. Madison prevailed, 66-64.
This time, Madison was without its key guard, Johnny Meitzenheimer — who left in the first quarter with an ankle injury — and the game also ended within two. Once again, Gibault wound up on the losing end.
The start of the game did not prove to be an easy scoring match-up, with both teams struggling to drop it in the bucket and Gibault unable to effectively penetrate to the basket. The first quarter ended with the Hawks down 6-3.
Much of the first half scoring came from free throws, with Madison in the bonus early on and fouls being called on almost every possession. Gibault did not take its first lead of the game until 3:37 to go in the second quarter at 13-12. The lead came in the way of junior Nick Row’s three-pointer to start off Gibault’s second quarter scoring.The Gibault coaching staff looks on in the last minutes of the sectional championship defeat against Madison.
The Hawks then had the opportunity to go into the locker room at half with a lead, but threw the rock away while holding for the last shot. Therefore, the Trojans led at half, 32-27.
Gibault came out gunning in the third quarter, as Mitch Meyer fired to the hole and the Hawks broke through into the inside several times in a row — something they had been struggling to do all game.
Gibault kept the lead going into the final quarter with a nice assist from Meyer to Sam Toal on an impressive jumper, breaking Madison’s press. The Hawks went into the final frame at 37-34 with a Toal block.
But this time, Madison’s Tyvon Powers and Marquis Bourney came out with a cause, chipping away at Gibault’s lead. A Powers layup followed by a Bourney three-pointer put the Trojans up for the first time in the second half, 44-42.Hawks center Sam Toal goes to the hoop through two Madison defenders in Friday night’s game.
The Hawks started to come back after Madison began to command the lead when Row sunk the long ball, putting Gibault within two, 50-48.
Gibault’s outcome began to look more promising as the Hawks came up with a key steal and foul on a Trojan in-bounds play. Zach Neff went to the line with the chance to tie it for the Hawks, but only came away with one, and Gibault trailed 50-49 with 33.1 seconds left in the game.
With that, Gibault was forced to foul. Madison kept the door open, only making one of the free points. With the Hawks’ last shot at the sectional title, Matt Schreder came up short on a contested layup — the short shots had plagued Gibault all evening.
Madison was finally able to seal its fate, slipping past Gibault, 51-49, for the sectional championship.
The Hawks end their season at 25-7. The last time the Hawks had a 25-win season was Coach Rueter’s 2002-03 team.
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