Scoring nearly half of its points at the free-throw line, the St. Dominic Crusaders pushed past Borgia Friday at the Ray DeGreeff Memorial Gymnasium, 52-44.
“Little things make so much difference in the game,” Borgia Head Coach Dave Neier said. “We didn’t play with good chemistry offensively and didn’t get the shots we needed. We weren’t hitting from the outside. We weren’t doing basic fundamental stuff like closing out. The biggest place they beat us was the free-throw line. They were very aggressive in trying to get to the basket and that gave them a lot of free-throw chances.”
St. Dominic (7-6, 1-2) trailed only once in the game, 1-0, before scoring the next five points to take the lead for good.
The Crusaders excelled at the free-throw line, hitting 25 of 37 chances. Neier said aggressive play helped St. Dominic gain extra shots at the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, Borgia went 4-6 from the free-throw line.
Borgia (4-7, 0-3) stayed winless in 2018 and in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division with the loss. The Knights will try to reverse that trend Tuesday against Union in the opening round of the Washington Tournament.
In Friday’s game, Borgia had the lead just once, 1-0, after Jacob Unnerstall hit a free throw 53 seconds into the game. That was the last time the Knights led.
While St. Dominic controlled the advantage throughout the rest of the game, the Knights did have chances where they cut the gap to one possession.
St. Dominic led 18-11 after one quarter and 28-24 at the half. It was 39-32 after three quarters.
“Our passing was not crisp enough,” said Neier. “I think we could have gotten the ball inside but we didn’t. The little things added up as the game went along.”
Josh Willenbrink led the scoring attack for St. Dominic with 13 points. He hit nine of his 12 free-throw chances.
Keith Beckmann was the only other Crusader to reach double digits. He scored 11 points.
Andy Chassaniol netted six points with all six coming from the free-throw stripe.
Brennan Kiger, Ben Mueller, Nate Heiligenstein and Jack Niggemeier each scored five points. Kiger’s points all came from the line.
Jack McCormick chipped in with two points.
The Crusaders knocked down three three-point baskets.
“Give them a lot of credit,” said Neier. “They have a nice team. I have a lot of respect for their coach (Kevin Roberts).”
Borgia had seven players get into the scoring column with two reaching double digits.
Freshman Max Meyers scored 10 points with two three-point baskets. He also had four assists and three rebounds.
Unnerstall also ended the game with 10 points and recorded a double-double with 19 rebounds. He had eight of those on the offensive end. He also contributed three assists and one steal.
Alex Brinkmann was next with eight points, three rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot.
Brendan Smith netted five points with two rebounds and a blocked shot. He hit three of Borgia’s four free throws.
Will Elbert scored four points and was hampered by foul trouble. He also had five rebounds and a blocked shot.
Hunter Mehler played in the second half and scored four points with five rebounds and one steal.
Michael Baylard knocked down a three-point basket for his scoring. He also had three assists, two rebounds and a steal.
Eli Marquart added an assist and Dalton Shust pulled down three rebounds.