Tourney time for boys hoops

Columbia’s Jack Steckler takes a shot during Friday’s home contest against Breese Central. See more photos at

Christmas break means its time for the annual Columbia-Freeburg Christmas Tournament. 

This year’s boys hoops tourney takes place Dec. 27-29 at Columbia High School. Columbia, Gibault, Waterloo and Valmeyer are all part of the eight-team field, which also includes Freeburg, Marquette, Piasa Southwestern and Civic Memorial. 

See a full tourney schedule below. 

The host Eagles enter the tourney with a record of 7-3 following Tuesday’s 79-33 home win over Roxana. Dylan Murphy scored 19 points and Jack Steckler scored 17 points for the Eagles, who shot 55.6 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three-point range. Sam Donald added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Columbia dropped a Cahokia Conference clash with a tough Breese Central squad at home Friday, 57-45. The Eagles only trailed by two points after three quarters but just couldn’t overtake the Cougars.

Steckler scored 15 points to lead the Eagles, followed by Murphy with 14 points. 

Columbia shot 16-of-18 from the free-throw line for the game. 

Last Tuesday, Columbia won 53-48 at Steeleville. Steckler scored 17 points (9-of-10 from the free-throw line) and Donald added 15 points. 

Murphy leads the Eagles in scoring at 14.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Donald is averaging 11.3 points and five rebounds per contest. Steckler is averaging 11.1 points per game.

Gibault enters the tourney with a record of 6-3 following an odd home victory over Lovejoy on Tuesday. The Hawks were awarded the forfeit win after Lovejoy’s head coach was ejected by referees early in the first quarter but refused to leave the court. 

On Saturday, the Hawks won 58-27 over Father McGivney. Gibault went on a 36-13 run in the second half to the delight of the home crowd.

Kaden Augustine scored 20 points and Kameron Hanvey netted 13 points, and the Hawks defense forced 23 turnovers on the night.

On Friday, Gibault suffered a 47-25 road loss to a strong Mater Dei squad. The Hawks shot just 27 percent from the floor. Augustine had nine points for Gibault. He leads the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game this season. 

Hanvey is averaging 11.3 points and 2.63 steals per game. 

Waterloo is 5-4 after going 2-1 in recent action. 

On Saturday, the Bulldogs dropped a 62-55 overtime contest against Ste. Genevieve in the Perryville Shootout. Logan Calvert scored 17 points and Alex Stell contributed 16 points and 120 rebounds for Waterloo.

On Friday, Waterloo won a Mississippi Valley Conference showdown at Civic Memorial, 55-41. The ‘Dogs shot 58 percent from the floor in the contest. Ty Lenhardt poured in 24 points and dished out five assists. Stell added 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Last Tuesday, Waterloo posted a 48-40 home win over Wesclin, shooting 61 percent from the floor in the process. The ‘Dogs won the rebound battle over the Warriors, 31-15.

Lenhardt again led the way with 23 points, six rebounds and five steals. He leads the ‘Dogs in scoring this season at 17 points per game – including 46 percent shooting from three-point range.

Valmeyer (0-9) enters the holiday tourney still in search of its first win. The Pirates lost 33-28 to Dupo on Tuesday night.

Jordan McSchooler leads the Pirates in scoring this season, averaging nearly 10 points. He’s shooting 64 percent from three-point range.

Harry Miller is averaging 9.5 points per contest.

Monday action in the holiday tourney includes Columbia vs. Piasa Southwestern at 11 a.m., Valmeyer vs. Gibault at 12:30 p.m., Waterloo vs. Marquette at 2 p.m., Columbia vs. Civic Memorial at 5 p.m. and Waterloo vs. Gibault at 6:30 p.m.

Freeburg, which opens the tourney against Piasa Southwestern at 3:30 p.m. Monday, is 6-1 in the early part of the season and is led by 6-foot-3 junior Lane Otten, who averages 18.4 points per game.

Dupo (3-9) is not playing in the Columbia tourney. 

The Tigers lost 70-43 to New Athens on Friday after trailing 37-18 at halftime. Chase Mantz scored 13 points for Dupo.

New Athens (6-4) was led by Gannon Birkner’s 27 points and 11 rebounds. 

The Tigers also lost last Wednesday to Steeleville, 61-26. Freddie McMahon scored 11 points for Dupo.

Last Tuesday, the Tigers lost 55-25 to Mt. Olive. Mantz scored eight points and Nate Ticer scored seven points. 

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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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