Craig's Corner: Highs and Lows of Sports - The Missourian: Sports

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Craig's Corner: Highs and Lows of Sports

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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:15 am

The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.

That certainly was the case Saturday night at Borgia in the boys championship game of the Class 4 District 9 Basketball Tournament between the top two seeds, Pacific and Borgia.

Most, if not all, of the folks in Ray DeGreeff Memorial Gymnasium thought the Indians had the game won.

But like they have so many times before, the Knights found a way to win.

Trailing by three points in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, sophomore Walton Eckelkamp drilled a three-pointer from at least 25 feet away at the buzzer. Nothing but net.

The game went into overtime, where Borgia won, 69-66.

Playing on their home court in front of a packed house, it was the thrill of victory for the Knights, who play Marshfield Wednesday in the Class 4 sectional round.

And it was the agony of defeat for the Indians, who were looking for their first district championship since 1982.

“It was tough to deal with,” said Pacific senior Jeffrey Hinkle. “I know in the long run, it’s going to make us better people. It taught us how to deal with adversity.”

You can’t help but feel bad for John VanLeer, who was seconds away from winning his first district championship in 21 seasons as Pacific’s head coach.

Meanwhile, it was the sixth straight district championship for Dave Neier’s Knights, who have built one of the top basketball programs in Missouri.

“I got about an hour of sleep Saturday night. It’s rough. It’s easier now than it would have been 10 years ago. I think I can put things in perspective a little better,” VanLeer said Monday morning. “We had a great season. It still hurts. You second-guess yourself for not fouling in that situation (Eckelkamp’s buzzer beater). Things happen for a reason. It’s tough. It’s going to make us hungry. If the kids continue to put the time in, next year we can be as good as we were this year and possibly better.”

While Borgia has one of the best programs in Missouri, Pacific junior Cullen VanLeer proved to be one of the best players in the state.

VanLeer had a great district tournament, scoring 56 points in the Indians’ two games.

After a scoreless first half, VanLeer put on a show with 26 points in the second half and overtime.

So how did Cullen VanLeer deal with the Borgia loss? He played golf Sunday at Franklin County Country Club. He’s also one of the best high school golfers in the area.

“It was his first time out this year and he shot a 78,” said a proud John VanLeer, Cullen’s father and coach.

March Madness

It’s already been a crazy March in high school basketball.

We’ve seen a pair of dramatic buzzer-beaters by sophomores Eckelkamp and Paige Carpenter of the Washington Lady Jays, both of which led to district championships for their respective teams.

St. Clair freshman Gavin Marler nearly hit a three-pointer in the final seconds against Pacific in the district semifinals, which likely would have given the Bulldogs a huge upset victory.

“It was halfway down,” St. Clair Coach Casey Korn said of Marler’s shot.

No team in the area got better during the season more than the St. Clair Bulldogs.

Speaking of three-pointers, it was scary how well Washington’s boys were shooting them at the end of the season.

To hit 46 three-pointers in a three-game span, including 14 in one half against Rolla, is ridiculous.

The Borgia and Hermann girls have followed up state championship volleyball seasons with tremendous basketball campaigns.

I know there are a few different girls involved, but it’s obvious that both schools have tremendous female athletes.

Borgia lost its first game of the season to Cor Jesu and later lost to a strong one-loss Eureka squad.

I find it interesting that Borgia and Washington could very well run into the two best girls teams in Missouri during the playoffs.

We know Washington plays Rock Bridge Wednesday in Class 5 sectional action. The Lady Jays also have had a great season.

With two more wins, Borgia likely will meet Incarnate Word in the Class 4 state semifinals.

Rock Bridge and Incarnate Word both are nationally ranked and the favorites to win the Class 5 and Class 4 state championships, respectively.

Hermann’s lone loss came against a very good St. James squad. You have to think the Lady Bearcats have a good chance of celebrating a Class 3 state title Saturday night.

New Haven’s girls are going to the state tournament for the third straight season. The Lady Shamrocks have finished second in Class 2 in each of the last two seasons and are determined to complete the job this weekend.

“We’re really blessed. Three years in a row,” said New Haven senior Rachel Steinhoff. “We have the best coaches and teammates. Our crowd always is amazing. We’re really grateful to have the chance to be back.”

Five of the eight teams that played in the Union Girls Tournament won district titles. They are Borgia, Washington, Eureka, St. Charles West and Helias.

In the boys playoffs, an eight-win Troy squad is in while two very good teams, Chaminade and Duchesne, are out.


Area Scoreboard


Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24


Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.


Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

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