The rubber match went to the Tigers Wednesday.
Salem (7-17) won the third of what will be four meetings between the Tigers and St. Clair (10-15) at St. Clair in the regular season finale, 59-54.
The two teams are scheduled to meet one final time Saturday at Union in the Class 4 District 10 Tournament at 2:30 p.m.
The Tigers had won the first meeting, at the Sullivan Tournament, 49-48, in November. St. Clair avenged that loss, 48-45, to begin 2019 at the Owensville Tournament.
Salem led at the end of each quarter. At the end of the first period it was 12-9 and then 29-23 at the half. St. Clair cut it to a one-point lead, 40-39, at the end of the third quarter.
The contest marked the final home game for five St. Clair seniors.
All five are tremendous kids that have bright futures ahead of them,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “Timmy (Hoffman), Kamalei (Bursey), Tyler (Stark), Pepper (Stark), and Mike (Hughes) all compete at a high level and give us energy every night. They have all done a lot for our basketball program and have been a huge part of our school the last four years and in football, track, baseball, etc.”
Bursey powered the Bulldogs with 14 points and seven rebounds, both team highs. Bursey also picked up a steal.
Justin Hoffman was the next highest scorer for St. Clair at 11 points. He added two rebounds and one assist.
“Offensively, Kamalei and Justin led the way for us,” Isgrig said. “Kamalei was really attacking the basket and rebounded really well for us offensively. Justin made shots. He gave us a good spark in both the first and third quarters off the bench. He continues to give us a boost.”
Pepper Stark turned in eight points with five assists, three steals and one rebound.
Hughes scored six to go with five rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Calvin Henry finished with five points, five assists and one rebound.
Johnny Kindel and Tyler Stark each contributed four points and one assist. Kindel also grabbed a rebound.
“I thought Pepper and Johnny Kindel gave us a lot of energy as well,” Isgrig said. “Pepper really competed at a high level and Johnny gave us a big boost in the second quarter. Mike really battled with their 6-6 kid inside. We know Mike is going to give his best every night and he really battled inside.”
Timmy Hoffman rounded out the scoring with two points. He grabbed six rebounds and made one assist and one steal.
The winner of Saturday’s rematch between Salem and St. Clair will advance to take on the district’s No. 1 seed, Rolla, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.