Through its first four games of the boys basketball season, St. Clair has had a knack of finishing games strong.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they’ve fallen behind too far to get the final results they want.
Playing its home opener Tuesday against Waynesville, St. Clair trailed by 18 points midway through the third quarter, cut it to five points with just over two minutes remaining in the game, and suffered a 57-50 setback.
“We’ve played four good teams to start the season. Our schedule is brutal early, but I’m happy about that,” said St. Clair Head Coach Casey Korn. “It’s good to challenge our kids early in the season to get ready for conference and district games.”
St. Clair (0-4) continued to show improvement against Waynesville.
“We made some silly mistakes, which are going to happen. The kids are playing a little faster than what they’re used to. We’ve gotten better every game,” Korn said. “We turned the ball over too many times at inopportune times. We started cutting away at the lead, but then they made some plays to keep the lead.”
Adam Brott, Evan Powell and Reno Jones each scored nine points to pace the Bulldogs.
Neyko Dominguez and Brandon York both scored seven points. Dominguez added seven assists. York had four rebounds.
Will Rolley collected six points and five rebounds. Evan Murphy scored three points.
“Will and Brandon rebounded the ball well against a big team,” Korn said. “Neyko and Reno got in there and scrapped pretty good.”
Waynesville, coached by Chris Pilz, improved to 2-0 on the season after defeating Glendale in its opener.
The Tigers have size in the frontcourt with 6-5 junior Javante Armstrong and 6-6 sophomore Juwan Morgan. Both players supplied points and rebounds.
Morgan suffered a minor knee injury in the third quarter, but returned to the game late in the fourth period to help secure the win.
Senior point guard Donald Hargrow showed the ability to score and distribute the ball to weapons, including senior guard Ethan Howser, who was a threat from the three-point line.
St. Clair had a 10-6 lead five minutes into the game, but trailed 14-12 after one quarter.
Waynesville led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before settling for a 32-22 halftime advantage.
The Tigers started the third quarter on an 8-0 run to make the score 40-22 before St. Clair began to chip away.
Trailing 49-34 after three quarters, the Bulldogs cut the lead to 50-43 with 5:03 remaining in the fourth quarter and 55-50 with 2:18 left to play.
“They killed us on the offensive glass in the first half,” Korn said. “We did a better job rebounding in the second half, which helped us get back in the game.”
St. Clair played Friday at home against De Soto. The Bulldogs visit Potosi Friday, Dec. 7.