St. Clair’s loss Thursday to St. Charles in the consolation semifinals of the Washington Boys Basketball Tournament was an all-too familiar tune.
The eighth-seeded Bulldogs were within striking distance of the fourth-seeded Pirates, but couldn’t get over the hump in a 58-50 loss.
St. Clair (3-8) plays seventh-seeded Ft. Zumwalt East (4-8) in the seventh-place game Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
St. Charles (11-5) meets Borgia (7-6) in the consolation game Saturday at 4 p.m.
“Ft. Zumwalt East is a good basketball team. They’re young. They did some good things against Westminster and Borgia,” said St. Clair Head Coach Casey Korn. “We want to improve from our mistakes, go out there and compete and go 1-2 instead of 0-3 in this tournament.”
Five of the Bulldogs’ eight losses this season have been by single digits.
St. Clair, 2-0 in the Four Rivers Conference, still is trying to find its groove.
“I’ve been saying since day one, we’re going to get there. I can’t have our guys losing confidence because I’m not losing confidence,” Korn said. “We don’t want to be playing in the seventh-place game here or at Borgia. But the conference season is coming up. Districts are coming up. When it’s all said and done, we want to have as good of a shot as any team to go out there and compete for those things. That’s what we’re looking forward to and we’re getting better every day.”
The game against St. Charles was close all the way. Both teams held the lead, but never by more than 10 points.
St. Charles held a 46-36 lead with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, it’s biggest advantage of the game.
The Bulldogs chipped away, cutting the lead to four points three different times in the final four minutes, but could never make it a one-possession game.
Adam Brott led St. Clair in the scoring column with 15 points, 11 in the first half.
Brandon York finished the game with nine points. Ben Feddersen netted eight points.
Neyko Dominguez also scored eight points before fouling out on a charge with 3:05 left to play in the game.
Reno Jones pitched in with five points. Austin Gotway and Evan Powell both scored two points. Evan Murphy had one point.
“In the second half, Neyko made some much better decisions going to the basket. He knew when to go and when not to go,” Korn said. “I’m OK with that fifth foul. He was being aggressive and trying to bring our team back into the game.”
St. Clair jumped to a 14-9 lead and led 14-11 after one quarter.
St. Charles came back to hold leads of 28-27 at halftime and 40-34 after three quarters.
The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to 50-46 with 3:49 remaining in the game, 52-48 with 2:05 on the clock and 54-50 with 1:35 left, but got no closer.
“We’ve played better and we’re playing harder more often,” Korn said. “We have to clean up some travels, clean up some lazy passes and clean up some poor rotations defensively. They’re starting to understand it.”