Knights Blast Bayless

Borgia’s Kevin Birk moves in for a layup over Bayless’ Muhamed Poljo during the third-place game at the Washington Boys Basketball Tournament. The Knights won the game, 63-36.

Borgia bounced back from a semifinal loss to St. Charles with a big performance against Bayless in the third-place game of the Washington Boys Basketball Tournament.

The third-seeded Knights (9-3) started fast and never let up in a 63-36 win over the fourth-seeded Bronchos Saturday at Washington High School.

“We played with quite a bit of tenacity, and what a difference that makes,” said Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier. “When you have that energy and you get after it right from the start, that’s crucial.”

Leading 16-10 after the first quarter, the Knights outscored Bayless 19-5 in the second period to take a 35-15 advantage into halftime.

Borgia had things in cruise control during the second half, leading 54-27 after three quarters.

“We had a number of offensive rebounds and that led to quite a few second-chance points, which were able to help us get a lead,” Neier said. “A key for us is how hard we work and if we’re able to get in the right spots. We were able to rotate some kids, keep everybody fresh and go after it extremely hard.”

Walton Eckelkamp led the Knights with 23 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

“We scored enough inside, which put pressure on them to help there. He was able to get some good screens, which led to open shots,” Neier said of Eckelkamp. “He was able to put them in and what a difference that makes. It makes you look like a good coach when your players are hitting.”

Joe Helfrich came off the bench to score 15 points.

“He’s really been picking it up,” Neier said of Helfrich. “Talking about the offensive rebounds, he’s one of the guys who really played hard on the boards and did a good job.”

Kevin Birk finished with seven points. Zac Schweissguth added five points. Adam Meyer and Clayton Voss both netted four points. Tyler Breckenkamp scored three points. Spencer Juergens had two points.

Bayless (9-4) was led by Patrick Triplett, who scored 19 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

Two of the Bronchos’ normal starters did not start, but did eventually play. Edin Mehmedovic was injured and played in the second half, scoring four points. Excell Harris was sick, but entered in the second quarter. He did not score in the game.

Borgia’s defensive pressure created a number of scoring opportunities off Bayless turnovers.

Neier reflected on the Knights’ tournament performance.

“I wish we would have played better in the St. Charles game. We played very poorly in the first half and didn’t come out with a lot of confidence,” he said. “St. Charles just really took it to us. That’s how you learn lessons, going against teams of that caliber. If things don’t happen for you, you have to learn how to adjust. That will help us out in the long run.”

Borgia-St. Charles

Eventual tournament champion St. Charles (13-3) topped Borgia in Friday’s semifinals, 58-48.

Meyer scored 14 points to lead Borgia. Helfrich added 13 points.

Eckelkamp finished with nine points. Juergens netted five points. Schweissguth scored three points. Birk and Breckenkamp both had two points.

It was a big first half for the second-seeded Pirates, who led 18-8 after one quarter and 40-16 at halftime.

“Our trouble was that offensively, we didn’t do anything with the ball. We had a number of turnovers. It seemed like when we got the ball to the basket, we weren’t able to put it in. We missed a number of easy shots. They kept scoring and we weren’t able to keep pace,” Neier said. “A lot of the credit goes to them for the kind of defense that they played. They played extremely good defense in the first half with a lot of pressure on the ball. Our kids were not reacting very well. Just mentally, it didn’t look like we were ready to play. The focus wasn’t there.”

The Knights held the advantage in the second half by a 32-18 margin, including 16-4 in the fourth quarter, and pulled to within eight points with 26 seconds left in the game.

“We kept working and were able to put a little bit of pressure on them and finally got a couple of baskets to go in to turn it around a little,” Neier said. “Part of that is I think they lost a little bit of focus with such a big lead. They relaxed a little bit and our kids started to pick it up and play harder.”

Casey Teson led the way for St. Charles with 16 points and Sam Kohrs added 14. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.

Josh Roglin finished with eight points. Chase Morfeld scored seven points. Luke Joslin had six points.

“They have a good ball club. You like to get some games where your kids are challenged and if you don’t play well, you’re not going to win,” Neier said. “Teson’s range is just unbelievable. He doesn’t have to be right on the three-point line. Once he gets past half-court, he’s a threat. That makes it difficult to guard him. He also can take the ball to the basket and he looks for his teammates. He’s a really good ball player.”