It might not have been the game many fans were looking forward to this week between the St. Francis Borgia Regional Knights and St. Dominic Crusaders.
But, Borgia fans who made the trek Friday to O’Fallon came home happy with a 66-53 Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division victory.
“It was a hard-fought game from start to finish,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier said. “We had guys shoot the ball well and had real balanced scoring. We were able to hit shots outside and got the ball inside, too.”
Borgia (12-8, 3-3) and St. Dominic (7-12, 0-6) had been slated to play for the title of the Washington Boys Basketball Tournament Wednesday, but winter weather forced the meeting to be postponed for a second time. The teams will try to resolve that trophy game Feb. 13.
Instead, the Knights had to make-do with a league win over the Crusaders. Borgia posted a conference sweep against St. Dominic with the road win.
“They’ve been playing some really good basketball against a tough schedule,” Neier said.
Borgia opened the game with a 16-10 lead after eight minutes of action. At the half, Borgia was up, 30-23.
After three quarters, Borgia’s lead was 49-43.
“They shot the ball well in the third quarter and we gave up 20 points,” Neier said. “We were lucky we were hot as well. We knew the run was coming.”
Borgia was able to consolidate the lead down the stretch for the 13-point victory.
Five Borgia players reached double digits in scoring, led by Cole Weber. He ended with 15 points while hitting three of Borgia’s nine three-point baskets. He also was perfect at the free-throw line, going 2-2. Borgia hit 15 of 20 shots from the stripe for the night.
Weber also pulled down six rebounds with two assists.
Brendan Smith recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He grabbed five of his rebounds on the offensive end and added four assists, three blocked shots and one steal.
Smith was one of Borgia’s most accurate shooters from the field, hitting six of eight attempts.
“We did a pretty good job on the boards,” Neier said. “Smith reached double digits and Weber has picked up rebounding lately. It was a great team win. We did well on both ends of the court.”
Also scoring 14 points was Max Meyers. He knocked down four three-point baskets and went 2-2 at the free-throw line. Meyers added two rebounds and two assists.
Alex Brinkmann posted 12 points with six of those coming from the free-throw line. He only missed once from the stripe.
Brinkmann also had four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Trent Strubberg was the fifth player in double digits with 11 points. Strubberg hit two three-point baskets and added five rebounds, three assists and one steal.
The Knights head back onto the road Friday, visiting Tolton Catholic in Columbia for a conference game.
Tolton Catholic topped the Knights in Washington Jan. 4, 57-45.
“We will have to play our best basketball to be in the game with them,” Neier said.
Since that time, Borgia has won seven of nine games with the two losses coming on back-to-back nights in the Union Tournament semifinals and third-place game against Ft. Zumwalt South and Lutheran South.