Pacific put the finishing touches on an outright, unbeaten Four Rivers Conference boys basketball championship with a win Friday at St. Clair High School.
The Indians (19-4, 7-0) secured the league crown with a 41-33 victory over the Bulldogs.
“Going undefeated in the conference is a good accomplishment,” said Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer. “There are a lot of good players and coaches in the conference, so to be 7-0 is something to be proud about. I’m happy for our kids.”
St. Clair (6-16, 3-4) suffered their 10th single-digit loss of the season.
“Pacific plays really good defense, maybe the best I’ve seen all year,” said St. Clair Head Coach Casey Korn. “We tried to do too much at times, which hurt us. A lot of that was because of the way they played defense.”
The Indians jumped to a 13-4 lead after one quarter.
For the next three quarters, St. Clair held a 29-28 edge.
“I’m proud of our guys for sticking in there until the end against a good team,” Korn said.
“Defensively, we played pretty well,” VanLeer said. “We never got into a flow offensively.”
Cullen VanLeer paced Pacific with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was injured in the third quarter, but returned to the game.
“Cullen turned his ankle and missed about four minutes of the third quarter,” VanLeer said Monday. “It’s not too serious. He’ll practice today.”
Noah Boyer finished the game with nine points, four rebounds and three assists.
Tanner Brown added seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Jeffrey Hinkle collected four points, three rebounds and two steals.
Chris Klenke had three points, five rebounds and two assists.
Stephen Johnson and Jacob Klenke both had two points.
“We were 6-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Tanner, Jacob and Noah each hit two of them,” VanLeer said. “We persevered and found a way to win.”
Darrell Martin and Kevin Cox both scored eight points for St. Clair. Martin also had four rebounds. Cox grabbed two rebounds and kept the Bulldogs close with a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
“Darrell did a nice job early of keeping us in it offensively,” Korn said. “Kevin has been working on his shot all year. I’ve been wanting him to shoot it more with confidence. He did and knocked some down.”
Reno Jones added six points, four assists and three rebounds. Damon Arnold collected five points and two steals. Ben Feddersen scored four points. Kyler Waldo had two points.
Playing at home Tuesday, Feb. 18, Pacific defeated Hermann, 67-45.
“We started five seniors on senior night. Our starters did a nice job,” VanLeer said. “Chris Klenke hit two three-pointers to start out, which helped give us the lead.”
Cullen VanLeer came off the bench to lead Pacific with 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Chris Klenke finished the game with 10 points. Boyer and Brown both had eight points.
Johnson collected five points and four rebounds. Jacob Klenke netted four points. Hinkle and Tristan Moore both scored two points.
Logan Armstrong finished with one point, five rebounds and two assists.
Hermann (9-16, 3-4) was led by Craig Winkelmann, who scored 26 points.