A busy weekend added up to three close losses for the St. Clair boys basketball team.
The Bulldogs (1-6, 1-1) lost their home opener last Friday to Hermann 55-51, fell short 38-37 Saturday to Rockwood Summit and lost Monday to Mendon Unity, Ill., 48-45 in overtime.
“It’s about our kids wanting, needing and learning how to win. We have to play close games and learn from those opportunities,” said St. Clair Head Coach Casey Korn. “We want to be a tough out come February. We have a taste of the conference season. The kids are getting better every day.”
St. Clair held the lead throughout its home opener against Hermann, but saw the Bearcats rally in the fourth quarter for the victory.
The Bearcats (3-4, 1-1), who trailed 41-29 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, outscored St. Clair 17-5 in the fourth period.
“We were down by as many as 12 in the second half. We fought back one possession at a time, just like you talk about. It’s a cliche, but that’s the way you have to do it,” said Hermann Head Coach Tim Spiers. “We crawled our way back into it and in the end, for three or four possessions in a row, we were able to get to the basket and score.”
St. Clair held leads of 11-7 after one quarter, 25-23 at halftime and 46-38 after three quarters.
“We hit some shots and went on a nice run in the third quarter to go up by 12 points,” Korn said. “And then we got cold, got stagnant, got timid. We gave up a couple of offensive rebounds that led to buckets. That’s just effort and hustle.”
Mat Hug led the way for Hermann with 16 points. Craig Winkelmann finished with 10 points. Josh Schannuth and Collin Hart both scored eight points.
“We have good kids. I’m really proud of them. Josh Schannuth was awesome inside. He played great. He got rebounds, kept balls alive, made shots and gave us an option inside,” Spiers said. “Oetterer came off the bench and helped us out. (Garrett) Leimkuehler was huge. He made some free throws, got a big rebound and guarded their shooter. Hug struggled early to make shots. Where it turned for him was when he started going to the offensive glass, got some offensive rebounds and got himself to the free-throw line.”
Reno Jones paced St. Clair with 19 points. Damon Arnold added 12 points. Kyler Waldo had nine points.
Harley Love finished with five points. Kevin Cox scored four points. Charlie Fuchs had two points.
“Reno is probably our best offensive player who can score inside, outside and in between. He rebounds the ball really well. Damon is going to see special treatment from opposing defenses. The kid can shoot,” Korn said. “Waldo has a really calm demeanor. He has to be able to make shots. He’s starting to get that. Any time he can be in a gym, he’s in a gym trying to get better. Wyatt Wachter gave us some good minutes. Harley Love played great before going down with an injury.”
Playing at the Bank of Sullivan Shootout, Rockwood Summit scored as time ran out to defeat the Bulldogs, 38-37.
St. Clair took a 37-36 lead on a basket by Arnold in the final seconds, but the Falcons came back to score with less than a second remaining on the clock.
St. Clair traveled Monday to John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill., falling in overtime to Mendon Unity.
The Bulldogs held leads of 22-13 at halftime and 27-26 after three quarters.
Scoring for the Summit and Unity games were not available at press time.
Hermann put together another fourth quarter rally to defeat California 52-50 Saturday at Jefferson City High School.
The Bearcats trailed 41-37 after three quarters and outscored the Pintos 15-9 in the final eight minutes.
Josh Oetterer, Hug and Winkelmann each scored 11 points.