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

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North



Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter


Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1




Pool 2


North Tech


Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.


Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games