Washington advanced to the semifinals of the Meramec Holiday Tournament with a pair of close victories.
The fourth-seeded Blue Jays (9-2) won for the seven consecutive time, knocking off 12th-seeded Marquette 40-38 last Friday in a quarterfinal contest.
Washington defeated 13th-seeded McCluer in the opening round, 41-38, in overtime.
“It’s good because you go from one day to playing an extremely athletic McCluer team to a completely different style against a Marquette team that packs it in and doesn’t let you run what you want to run,” said Washington Head Coach Chip Sodemann. “Some nights it’s not pretty and we’re not playing as well as we have or the way we’re capable of, but we’re finding a way down the stretch. Whether its Luke Schroepfer hitting a big shot or making free throws like we did the other night. We’re somehow finding a way and that’s the mark of a good team.”
Ronnie Suggs led Washington in the scoring column against Marquette with 17 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Luke Schroepfer scored 13 points, all in the second half, and grabbed four rebounds.
Brad Carpenter finished the game with seven points.
Luke Hasenjaeger collected three points and five rebounds.
Jared Walde was held scoreless, but had two rebounds and made his usual solid contributions inside the lane.
Jacob Mulkey, Austin Subke and Cory Epperson also played.
Schroepfer had the game’s biggest basket. With the Blue Jays trailing 38-37, Schroepfer drilled a three-pointer from the right elbow with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Blue Jays a 40-38 lead, which turned out to be the final score.
“Luke is a good shooter. He’s been doing it his whole career,” Sodemann said. “He missed some shots. Brad missed some shots. Ronnie missed some shots. Hazy missed some shots. But they all had the confidence to shoot under pressure.”
After not scoring in the first half, Schroepfer stepped it up offensively in the second half.
“That’s what everybody is going to do. They’re going to take Luke out. They’re going to take Ronnie out. They’re not going to let us run our stuff,” Sodemann said.
Marquette (6-3) attempted an open three-point shot for the win as time ran out, but missed the shot.
“I held my breath and was praying that it wasn’t going in. Hazy was in the right spot for the rebound,” Sodemann said. “We were lucky again, lucky to advance. We know the next one is going to be a heck of a challenge.”
Tanner Stabenow scored 13 points to lead the Mustangs. Matt Hink added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Marquette held leads of 11-9 after one quarter and 19-15 at halftime.
Washington owned the third quarter, outscoring Marquette 14-5 to grab a 29-24 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Three-pointers by Suggs at the end of the third quarter and Schroepfer at the start of the fourth gave the Blue Jays a 32-24 lead before Marquette chipped away and eventually took a brief one-point advantage.
“What we keep taking about is finding a way,” Sodemann said. “We practice it. We put a couple of minutes on the clock and work on late-game situations. The guys just have the presence of mind to make the right play at the right time.”
The tournament’s top four seeds, CBC, Hazelwood Central, DeSmet and Washington, all advanced to the semifinals.
“It guarantees us four games. Our goal was to be playing on the last day, regardless of where we’re playing. That means you’ve beaten some quality teams. Having a chance to play here on Sunday is a good thing,” Sodemann said. “We’re just trying to be prepared for districts down the line, so hopefully our guys are learning from this experience.”