Scoring 15 points in a row from midway through the first quarter into the second quarter, the St. Francis Borgia Regional basketball Knights defeated rival Pacific Tuesday, 66-44.
“It obviously was a big part of the ballgame,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier said. “We were able to get that lead and slowly extend it. Pacific never let up. They kept fighting the whole game. You expect that from any team coached by John VanLeer. They’re going to continue to fight and play hard from start to finish. It was no different in this game.”
VanLeer said that run was a difference in the game.
“They made shots and we didn’t make shots,” VanLeer said. “I thought our guys played hard tonight.”
Borgia (11-8) was tied with Pacific (7-11) in the rematch of the St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament title game with 4:20 to go in the opening quarter, 9-9. Pacific got a pair of Don’TA Harris free throws to knot the score.
Borgia scored the final 10 points of the first quarter to lead 19-9 after eight minutes. The run included a dunk by Brendan Smith and a pair of three-point shots from Cole Weber.
Borgia wasn’t done. Weber knocked down another three to open the second quarter and Alex Brinkmann hit two free throws before Pacific’s Mason Fleming broke the run. But by this point, the damage was done. Borgia led 24-11 and Trent Strubberg followed the Fleming basket with another three.
At the half, Borgia was up, 38-22. It was 50-27 after three quarters.
Borgia knocked down 10 three-point baskets for the game, including seven by Weber.
Weber led all scorers with 23 points and made it a double-double with 13 rebounds. He added a blocked shot and a steal.
He also went 2-2 from the free-throw line.
Weber moved back into the starting lineup as Will Elbert was unavailable due to illness.
“We tried to do something different, playing a little bit faster,” VanLeer said. “We thought they would have their two bigs and it was disappointing because our game plan was to try to speed them up with those two guys out there. I think it helped them having Weber in. He hasn’t been starting lately. We knew he could shoot. He shot well against us the first time. We didn’t guard him and gave him some horse shots. Then he got going.”
As a team, Borgia was 20-27 from the charity stripe.
Four Borgia players did most of the scoring. Following Weber was Brinkmann with 17 points. He was 9-10 from the free-throw line. Brinkmann also had five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Smith closed with 13 points, including his dunk. He also had seven rebounds, five blocked shots, four assists and two steals.
Strubberg hit a trio of three-point baskets for his nine points. He also contributed one assist, one rebound and one steal.
“We were fortunate that we had a couple of guys who were shooting the ball extremely well,” Neier said. “Cole Weber was really hot from the three-point line and Brendan Smith was a load to handle inside.”
After that, Ryan Kell saw significant playing time and scored three points, all at the free-throw line. He also had two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Mark Maguire netted one point.
Max Meyers posted two assists, one rebound and one steal.
Peyton Struttmann came off the bench to help fill in near the basket and contributed one rebound.
Andrew Dyson and Zach Unnerstall each chipped in with a rebound.
“We had other guys contribute big baskets,” Neier said. “Trent Strubberg put some threes in which really helped us out. Alex Brinkmann had some baskets. Offensively, we were able to get contributions from a lot of people.”
Neier credited his team’s defensive effort.
“I think we played hard on defense, too, and made it tough on them,” Neier said. “We were able to get a hand in their face when they were shooting from outside and I thought we rebounded very well on the defensive end. The only time we had trouble was on long rebounds when they would shoot a three and it came out further than usual. They were very aggressive going for the ball. We’ve got to do a better job of screening out on those plays.”
Pacific knocked down six three-point baskets and went 10-16 from the free-throw line for the game.
Dylan Myers was the only Pacific player to reach double digits in scoring and he had 12 points with two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
“I thought we played hard the entire time,” VanLeer said. “I thought Dylan Myers had a pretty good game. He got hot for a while and was attacking the ball pretty well. When we do something like that, everyone on the floor has to buy in. There were a couple of times where we wanted to push the ball up the floor and we walked it up instead. We weren’t real aggressive like I wanted us to be.”
Jordan Cowsert and James Iliff each scored six points.
Cowsert also had two rebounds and two assists.
Iliff knocked down a three-point basket and hit three of six free throws after being fouled on two other three-point shot attempts. He also had one assist.
“He came in at the end,” VanLeer said. “We know he can shoot.”
Four-point scorers were Fleming, Harris and Gavin Racer.
Fleming also had two steals. Harris added two rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal. Racer pulled down a rebound.
Devin Casey and Garrett Evans scored three points apiece with both hitting a three-point shot.
Evans also had four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
Nicholas Hoerchler scored two points with two rebounds.
Jeremiah Murray contributed two rebounds and one steal. Carter Myers added two assists. Jacob Sauvage posted four assists and a rebound.
Gavin Bukowsky went off in the first half with an apparent knee injury and did not return.
“Bukowsky actually played pretty good in practice yesterday,” VanLeer said. “I had a plan of playing 10 guys and certain guys were going to go in. The injury messed up our rotation a little bit. We were trying to do something different.”
Borgia was scheduled to play St. Dominic Wednesday in the championship game of the Washington Tournament, however that game was called off.
Borgia plays Friday at St. Dominic in Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division action with the varsity game expected to start around 7:15 p.m.
Borgia travels to Columbia Thursday to take on Tolton Catholic in another conference game.
Pacific heads to St. James Friday for a Four Rivers Conference game with a 7 p.m. varsity tip.
“Defensively in the half court, we weren’t very good,” VanLeer said. “We’ll get after it and fix it at practice. We’ll learn from this one and get ready for St. James. We only have one conference loss and I think the conference is still up for grabs.”
The Indians visit Sullivan Tuesday in another FRC contest.