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

Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Rock Bridge 79, Northwest 27

^Lutheran South 76, Hillsboro 43

Owensville 41, Hermann 40

St. James 80, Montgomery County 39

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Jackson 65, Pacific 44

^Borgia 82,  Union 61

~Warrenton 69, Chamois 24

^Washington 49, St. Clair 45 (OT)

~Wright City 51, New Haven 37

*Bethel at Crosspoint    7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

^Hillsboro 49, Northwest 34

~New Haven 35, Chamois 28

~Wright City 47, Warrenton 41

^Union 63,  St. Clair 60

~Hermann 63 vs. Montgomery Co 5

St. James 57, Owensville 35

Friday, Jan. 30

^Rock Bridge 80, Lutheran South 59

^Borgia 46, Washington 43 (OT)

*Providence at Crosspoint    7:30 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

^Seventh-place game — St. Clair vs. Northwest   2:30 p.m.

~Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

^Consolation — Union vs. Hillsboro    4 p.m.

~Consolation    4 p.m.

^Third-place game — Washington vs. Lutheran South   5:30 p.m.

~Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

^Championship — Borgia vs. Rock Bridge    7 p.m.

~Championship    7 p.m.

^Union Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

Monday, Feb. 2

New Haven at Silex   5:30  p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Whitfield at Union    4 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

Pacific at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Fulton SA at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

Wellsville at New Haven     6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    6:45 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

Rock Bridge at Borgia    7:15 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Owensville at New Haven   6 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Monday, Jan. 26

^Holt 60, Pacific 57

^Warrenton 42, Union 40

~Owensville 64,  Montgomery Co 32

Borgia 62, Cardinal Ritter 41

^St. Clair 64, Lutheran South 45

~Hermann 57, Wright City 26

Washington 74, Wentzville Liberty 19

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Fulton SA at Barat    4:30 p.m.

~New Haven 42, Montgomery Co 34

*Bethel at Crosspoint    6:15 p.m.

~Chamois 61, Wright City 20

Wednesday, Jan. 28

^Pacific 62, Union 59 (OT)

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    5 p.m.

^Lutheran South 54, Wentzville Liberty 40

~Owensville 54, New Haven 24

^Warrenton 51, Holt 44

~Chamois 50, Hermann 45

^Washington 54, St. Clair 31

Thursday, Jan. 29

*Notre Dame 50, Borgia 45

Friday, Jan. 30

^Seventh-place game — Union 66, Wentzville Liberty 31

~Consolation — Montgomery Co. vs. Wright City    5 p.m.

^Consolation — Lutheran South 55, Pacific 49

*Providence at Crosspoint    6 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    6 p.m.

~Third-place game — Hermann vs. New Haven   6:30 p.m.

^Third-place game — Holt 63, St. Clair 49

~Championship — Owensville vs. Chamois   8 p.m.

^Championship — Washington 61 Warrenton 50

Monday, Feb. 2

#Borgia vs. Patriettes    4 p.m.

#Cardinal Ritter vs. Union    5:20 p.m.

De Soto at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at North County Christian    6 p.m.

#Washington vs. Parkway South    6:40 p.m.

Chamois at New Haven    7 p.m.

#Helias vs. Troy    8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

*Crosspoint at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

#Washington-Parkway South loser vs. Helias-Troy loser    4 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes loser vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union loser    5:20 p.m.

#Washington-Parkway South winner vs. Helias-Troy winner    6:40 p.m.

#Borgia-Patriettes winner vs. Cardinal Ritter-Union winner    8 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at St. James    6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

Barat at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

*Rivers of Life at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

#Seventh-place game    noon

#Consolation    1:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3 p.m.

#Championship    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Elsberry    5 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 9

*Hermann at Union    5:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    6 p.m.

*St. Dominic at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Feb. 10

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint, Fulton SA at MAC Tny    TBA

^Washington Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

#Borgia Tournament


Tuesday, Jan. 27

*Pacific 42, St. Clair 33

Borgia 36, Hallsville 30

Helias 66, Borgia 21

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Borgia at Lutheran St. Charles    5 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Summit 39, Union 34

Owensville 41, Pacific 38

Pacific 45, St. James 28

Friday, Jan. 30

St. Clair at DeSoto   5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Pacific at Hazelwood East Tny    9 a.m.

St. Clair at DeSoto 9 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 2

Borgia at O’Fallon Christian    5 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at AAA Tny    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 5

*Pacific at Union    6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 7

Washington at Seckman Tny    9 a.m.

St. Clair at Francis Howell Central Inv    9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Pacific at Parkway Central Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Timberland 140, Washington 96, Ft. Zumwalt East 87

Thursday, Jan. 22

Oakville 120, Washington 115, University City 9, Mehlville 6

Saturday, Jan. 24

Washington 91, Borgia 80

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Washington 122, St. Charles West 46

Thursday, Jan. 29

Washington at Affton/Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

Borgia at St. Dominic    8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Washington at McCluer North    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Borgia at MICDS/Duchesne (Rec-Plex)    8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 6

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

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Borgia at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Thursday, Feb. 12

Borgia at AAA Meet    TBA

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

*Conference Games