The Bulldogs boosted themselves back into the middle of the pack in the Four Rivers Conference Tuesday.
St. Clair (5-14, 2-2) pulled away in a tight contest in the fourth quarter to win on the road at New Haven (6-16, 0-4), 60-47.
The Bulldogs built a 13-7 advantage in the first quarter, which New Haven cut into slightly in the second period with St. Clair still leading, 24-20, at the half.
“Offensively, when we played together and moved the ball we got good shots almost every possession, whether it was getting it in transition and going or just playing half-court offense,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “I thought tonight we played more together and we moved the ball better than we have and we didn’t waste our dribble tonight.”
St. Clair continued to hold the lead, up 40-34, after three quarters.
New Haven battled back to within just one basket before St. Clair opened up an eight-point advantage midway through the final quarter.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. over the past couple of weeks,” New Haven Head Coach Aaron Peirick said. “We’ve been good enough to be in the game and we make it close and we make runs. We do enough where we’re in a position to win and then we can’t make the next three plays or whatever we need to do to win. We climbed right back into it and I don’t think we ever took the lead. I think we cut it maybe to two at one point, but our kids played hard. Our kids battled. They just couldn’t get over that hump.”
St. Clair made 15-18 free-throw opportunities in the second half to help seal the victory.
“They’ve got guys who are hard to handle, that are aggressive,” Peirick said. “They had some guys get some big offensive rebounds for them and get some buckets and they did a nice job hitting their free throws down the stretch too. That’s how you close out games. They made free throws and if you do that it doesn’t matter what we do on our end really, so they did a nice job closing it out.”
Noah Richardson led the Bulldogs with 14 points, 10 of which came in the first half. He also led the team in rebounds with seven.
“Offensively at the beginning of the game, he’s kind of the one that got us started — him and Clay (Banderman),” Isgrig said. “Him and Clay got out and went a little bit early and made some shots and jumped us out to a good lead. I think we were up like 9-2 and it was mainly because of those two getting out and running.”
Calvin Henry also got into double-digit scoring with 12 points for St. Clair.
Pepper Stark added nine points, followed by Kamalei Bursey and Michael Hughes with six points each.
Timmy Hoffman contributed five points, Banderman four and two apiece from Tyler Stark and Jayce Decker.
Bursey, Henry, Hoffman and Pepper Stark each recorded four rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Banderman and Tyler Stark both pulled down three rebounds and Hughes grabbed one.
Henry dished out six assists. Richardson added three assists and Banderman, Bursey, Dekcer and Hoffman each had one.
Pepper Stark picked up two steals. Banderman, Decker and Richardson all stole one.
“Defensively, we knew that Clay and Mike, we were going to rotate them in every three or four minutes and keep their legs fresh on (John Fleer) because he’s a big strong kid,” Isgrig said. “I thought that those two did a good job mixing it up and I thought that their fresh legs did some good things down the stretch for us. Kamalei rebounded better and I thought he attacked the basket really well at times. He just brings it defensively every night. Timmy gave us some real good minutes there. Second and third quarter, Kamalei got in a little foul trouble and I thought Timmy really was a big key for us down the stretch.”
The Shamrocks’ Fleer led all scorers with 17 points in the contest.
“About 10-ish rebounds,” Peirick said of Fleer’s performance. “He’s a beast for us. I think my quote to him every game is ‘Go be a beast,’ and he does that. He didn’t come out of the game at all. He rebounded the ball well on both ends of the floor, defended really well. He was involved in a lot of ball screens, defended those really well, and then he puts the ball in the hole. We need him to have big games. If he doesn’t do that, we’re not in this game.”
Ethan Groner also broke into double figures for New Haven with 11 points.
Kyle Brumels added six points.
The Shamrocks got three points apiece from Martin Lewis, Trent Kormeier and Jay Eichelberger.