Leaning on its defense throughout, St. Charles completed its run through the Washington Boys Basketball Tournament with the team title.
The second-seeded Pirates (13-3) knocked off defending tournament champion and top-seeded Washington Saturday night, 57-37.
“We really guarded well. We guarded Borgia very well, too (in the semifinals). Our last two games defensively, we played well. The guys played with a lot of energy. That’s how we practice, so it’s good to see it here,” said St. Charles Head Coach Rick Foster. “We have a solid group. If we make shots and defend like that, we’re pretty good.”
The Blue Jays (9-6) never got into an offensive rhythm.
“St. Charles is a very well-coached defensive team. They closed out on our shooters very well. They got in our comfort zone on our three-point shooters and they took away our dribble lanes,” said Washington Head Coach Grant Young. “I thought we could get to the line more than we did with penetration, but didn’t get those calls at times. We’ve been in two tournament championship games and won the Borgia Tournament. We’re battle tested and that’s going to help us in district play.”
St. Charles held the lead throughout the game.
Once trailing by 13 points midway through the second quarter, the Blue Jays pulled to within 34-31 with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter, but got no closer.
The Pirates responded with a 14-0 run over the next six minutes to put the game away, 48-31.
“We made it a one-possession game and then they went on the run,” Young said. “We got stagnant there. We were stagnant all night. A lot of that was not making shots.”
Washington was led by Ronnie Suggs, who scored 18 points and was named to the all-tournament team.
“We weren’t really trying to just stop (Suggs). We wanted to contest everyone. He’s good enough that he’s going to get his,” Foster said. “We wanted to make him go to his right and really contest every shot. We wanted to limit everyone else.”
Jacob Mulkey added 11 points. Brad Carpenter and Isaiah West both scored three points. Mike Morgan had two points.
“It’s good to have Mulkey back,” Young said. “Day-by-day, he’s getting stronger. He had a big game. You can start to see that look in his eyes again.”
Also playing were Austin Subke, Patrick Menke, Dane Meyer and Trey Walsh.
Casey Teson paced the Pirates with 16 points. Luke Joslin added 15 points.
Sam Kohrs finished with nine points. Chase Morfeld had eight points. Brice Wiggs scored six points and Artie Day had three.
Teson and Kohrs were named to the all-tournament team.
“We’ve brought a lot of these kids up when they were freshmen,” Foster said. “They play all the time. They’re gym rats. Now they’re at the peak of their career.”
The Pirates held leads of 20-10 after one quarter, 31-23 at halftime and 36-31 after three quarters. They scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to complete the 14-0 run.
“St. Charles is one of the top-ranked teams in Class 4. Teson is a very good leader. For all of their kids, everything is generated through their defense,” Young said. “We really executed well in the Bayless game and I thought that was going to carry over. We were just flat.”
Washington outlasted fourth-seeded Bayless Friday in the semifinals, 58-51.
The Blue Jays held a 42-32 lead with 2:55 left in the third quarter, but saw Bayless pull to within 45-44 with 5:10 remaining in the fourth period.
Holding a 51-49 edge with 2:45 left in the game, the Blue Jays ended with a 7-2 run to close it out.
Bayless guard Patrick Triplett, who scored 33 points in the first round against Westminster, was held to just one field goal and six points. He represented Bayless on the all-tournament team.
Edin Mehmedovic, Bayless’ second-leading scorer, was held to 10 points. Munir Hirkic paced the Bronchos (9-4) with 15 points.
“You have to give our kids so much credit for executing our game plan on Triplett,” Young said. “We made him have to take tough shots all night long. We made other people try to beat us.”
Suggs paced the Blue Jays with 17 points. Carpenter added 12 points.
Morgan finished with nine points. Subke and Meyer both scored six points. Mulkey added five points. Menke had two points.
“Our post players were great. Austin and Dane did a great job stepping up in the paint,” Young said. “The whole team was so proud when Patrick hit his three-pointer to give him some confidence. He’s such a spark defensively. That made us go more when he hit that.”
Washington held leads of 25-23 at halftime and 42-35 after three quarters.
“After the St. Clair game in the first round, where we underestimated our opponent, we had three good days of preparation,” Young said. “Our kids are buying into the fact that we can’t guard people on our own. We have to have great help defense and stop dribble penetration. We had two guys surrounding Mehmedovic the whole time with how we shifted over on the back side. We did a good job of making other people beat us.”