St. Clair’s game Saturday against Northwest never was in much doubt during the third-place contest of the Union Boys Basketball Tournament.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs (8-10) held the lead throughout the game in a 54-38 win over seventh-seeded Northwest.
“We were 2-1 in the tournament. We showed we can compete,” St. Clair Head Coach Casey Korn said after defeating his alma mater for the second time in nine days. “We played really good defense for three quarters. We got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter. I continue to preach to these guys to play for 32 minutes. I’m happy that we got the win. I’m happy with the way we played for three quarters.”
Senior guard Neyko Dominguez represented the Bulldogs on the all-tournament team. He flirted with a triple double against Northwest, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Ben Feddersen finished the game with seven points. Adam Brott had six points.
Austin Gotway, Reno Jones, Evan Murphy and Will Rolley each netted four points.
Evan Powell scored three points. Coty DeClue had two points. Spencer Crumbaugh also played.
Julian Buckley and Jarrid Hamilton both scored 10 points for Northwest (2-18).
St. Clair senior forward Brandon York did not play after suffering a sprained shoulder during Friday’s loss to Pacific.
“Brandon is going to be OK. We’re looking at between 10 days and two weeks before he’ll be back,” Korn said following Saturday’s game. “We’ll be cautious with it. We’d rather have him at 100 percent rather than 80 percent and risk further injury. It would be really nice to have him for the Sullivan game Friday.”
Korn was pleased with the contributions of his team during the tournament.
“Neyko did a nice job. We got contributions from different guys on different nights,” Korn said. “Brandon rebounded the ball really well in the first two games. Ben played with the flu. He gave everything he had to the team. I’m proud of the way he competed.”
St. Clair jumped to a 10-2 lead and led 14-10 after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs outscored the Lions 14-2 in the second quarter to increase their lead to 28-12 at halftime.
St. Clair led 38-20 after three quarters.
“We fell into a sloppy pace in the fourth quarter and that’s something we’ll address in practice,” Korn said. “After we’ve already beaten them once and when we’re up by 20 points on them, I understand where the mindset is. Overall, I’m happy. It’s just a bittersweet taste for the last 4 1/2 minutes of the game.”
Korn likes the progress the Bulldogs are making.
“We understood our roles better in this tournament. We have to do a better job on the boards moving forward. We always need to communicate and not lose focus,” Korn said. “This was our eighth win. One more and we match last year’s win total. We’ve won a couple of close games since Christmas. We’re staying in games and we’re competing.”
St. Clair (2-0 in the Four Rivers Conference) returns to action Friday at Sullivan. The varsity girls play at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity boys at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re excited about the rest of the year,” Korn said. “We just have to keep getting better. As a coach, you’re never satisfied.”