This rematch went to the dogs.
St. Clair’s boys basketball team (5-6) avenged an earlier tournament loss Wednesday, defeating Salem (2-7), 46-43 in the first round of the Owensville Tournament. The Tigers had previously beaten St. Clair at the Sullivan Tournament back at the start of the season.
With the win, St. Clair advanced to play top-seeded Steelville (7-2) in Friday’s semifinals. The trophy round takes place on Saturday.
The higher seeds held up in that half of the bracket while they did not in the other half with No. 6 Osage (2-6) and No. 7 Belle (3-4) making up the other semifinal after first-round wins against Owensville and Linn, respectively.
In St. Clair’s first-round contest, Salem led after one quarter, 14-13, but the Bulldogs controlled the lead at each interval thereafter. St. Clair went into halftime ahead, 26-23, and still held a three-point advantage, 34-31, at the end of the third period.
Calvin Henry was the leading scorer with 17 points for the Bulldogs. He added four assists, two rebounds and one steal.
“Offensively we only shot 38 percent and missed way too many open shots and contested layups but we made some timely shots in the fourth quarter and some big free throws late,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “Calvin hit two big threes in the fourth quarter and Johnny Kindel and Calvin went 4-4 late from the free-throw line. On the last play, Tyler Stark played great defense and forced a 25-foot contested jumper that fell short.”
Michael Hughes put through 11 points and led the team in rebounds with nine. Hughes grabbed one steal and made one assist.
“Michael Hughes played a great game for us,” Isgrig said. “He finished with 11 points and nine rebounds but also played a huge role defensively on their two big posts. He hit some big shots for us and really rebounded hard.”
Kamalei Bursey and Timmy Hoffman each put through six points. Hoffman grabbed six rebounds and Bursey five. Bursey also made two steals and one assist.
Kindel notched four points with three rebounds.
“Timmy Hoffman and Johnny Kindel both gave us a huge spark off the bench,” Isgrig said. “Kamalei battled foul trouble all night and Timmy stepped up and played big minutes. He guarded one of their best players and rebounded the ball really well for us. Timmy brings energy for us every day and was a huge reason we won the game. Johnny keeps improving and is making some big plays for us.”
Justin Hoffman and Pepper Stark added two points each.
Pepper Stark made four rebounds with four assists and one steal.
Tyler Stark dished out three assists and grabbed one rebound.
Justin Hoffman rebounded two with two assists and one steal.
Following the tournament, the Bulldogs next play Monday at home against Festus at 7 p.m.