They knew it would be a tough challenge.
And that was just in getting to and from the game, a 47-33 win for the Duchesne Pioneers.
“It was a long trip,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier said. “There was a lot of rain and lightning. We were told the storm sirens went off twice up there in St. Charles.”
Borgia (12-8, 3-2) fought through weather which forced several other games to be called off Tuesday night in reaching Duchesne.
The Knights faced another storm during the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division showdown in the form of a hot Duchesne start.
“They came out hot and our shot selection was poor,” Neier said. “They shot the ball well in the first quarter and kept it rolling in the second quarter.”
The Pioneers (14-2, 5-0) outscored Borgia in the first quarter, 15-4, and took a 26-10 lead to the locker room at the intermission.
Borgia chipped back in the third quarter and trailed 34-21 heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
“We got back into the game in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t pull it off,” Neier said.
The Knights went on a run to cut the gap to 36-32 with over four minutes left in the game. But that’s when the Pioneers sealed the 47-33 victory.
“We battled back and started chipping away,” Neier said. “We got back within four points in the fourth quarter. But they did some good things, especially Sam Briscoe, who made some nice plays, penetrated well and shot the ball well.”
With the win, Duchesne cemented its place at the top of the AAA Large Division standings with a two-game cushion over Borgia and a 2.5-game advantage over St. Dominic (11-5, 2-2).
St. Mary’s (10-8, 1-4) and Bishop DuBourg (5-13, 1-4) are tied for fourth.
“It’s a home game and we want to get out and play as soon as we can,” Neier said. “We handled them when we played the first time down there, but they are racking up some victories right now.”
The Knights face another AAA Large Division game Friday when St. Mary’s visits for a tripleheader. Freshman action starts the afternoon at 4 p.m.
Should the season averages pan out, it should be an exciting game.
Borgia averages 50.4 points per game while St. Mary’s averages 49.1 points. Defensively, the Knights allow 48.5 points per contest while St. Mary’s checks in at 48.8.
Borgia won decisively in St. Louis Jan. 4, 58-38.
The Knights have to find a way to control Josh Robinson, who averages 24.4 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Dragons. He also leads the team in steals and assists.
Robinson led St. Mary’s in scoring in the previous meeting, but only had 11 points.
“They have a great scorer in Robinson,” Neier said. “There are a lot of things we need to contend with. He will be chomping at the bit to score points. We’ve got to defend him well.”
DeShawn Wilson averages 8.5 rebounds to lead the Dragons in that category.
Jordan Miller led the Knights with 17 points, including three three-point baskets, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
John Baumstark netted six points while hitting a three-point basket and adding four offensive rebounds and one assist.
Zac Schweissguth closed the game with six points, three rebounds and one steal.
Adam Meyer scored two points.
Joe Helfrich ended with one point, seven rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.
Also playing were Kevin Birk (two rebounds, one assist and one steal), Tyler Breckenkamp and Casey Kuchem (five rebounds, two assists).
Borgia struggled shooting the ball in the Duchesne gym, hitting 13 of 49 attempts from the field and 5-21 from beyond the three-point arc. Borgia made it to the free-throw line for nine attempts, but made just two.
“We missed layups and free throws,” Neier said. “That hurt us. We had opportunities, but didn’t take advantage of it. Duchesne has a good ballclub. They played well together and put free throws in down the stretch.”
Sam Briscoe led Duchesne with 17 points.
The Pioneers got balanced support scoring from Mike McDonald (eight points), Clay Stulce (seven), Ryan Tune (seven) and Drew Moore (six).
Nate Friedel added two points.
Ryan Briscoe and Doug Swann also played in the contest.