After playing each other four times last season, the St. Francis Borgia Regional boys basketball Knights and Pacific Indians got an early start on this year’s series Wednesday.
Playing in the opening round of the 69th annual St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament, third-seeded Borgia defeated the No. 6 Indians, 46-32.
“Overall early in the season we will take all the wins the boys can get,” Borgia Assistant Coach Adam Fischer said. “We played really well at times in the game, and we got a little sluggish at times as well.”
Pacific Head Coach Cody Bradfisch felt his team adjusted in the second quarter.
“We had a good first half as far as guarding them and battling,” Bradfisch said. “In the middle of the third quarter, we just weren’t being as aggressive as had been earlier. We lost a little bit of our attack. We’ve got to figure out moving forward how we can be a little more consistent and how we can play a full game 32 minutes. The big thing for this group is building and maintaining consistency.”
Borgia plays University City, the second seed, Friday night in the semifinals. Pacific moved to the consolation semifinals against seventh-ranked Gateway City Elite.
Borgia blasted off early, outscoring Pacific by a 21-12 margin over the first quarter. Grant Schroeder scored 12 points, all on three-point shots, during the quarter.
“Offensively, we came out and did things we have been working on, but in the second quarter, we started moving a lot less offensively,” Fischer said. “Defensively I thought the kids did a nice job locking in the last three quarters, especially the second half. Pacific did some really nice things offensively against us and it took us a while to counter them. We have some work to do, but that where we want to be at this time in the season. This group of kids will keep battling each day at practice and in games to help us improve day in and day out.”
The Knights needed that as Pacific clamped down defensively and Borgia led at the half, 26-20.
“I thought we struggled guarding them in the first quarter,” Bradfisch said. “We weren’t doing a good job communicating, and we gave up some threes that we shouldn’t have. We made a few adjustments where we were chasing through screens and showing more. I thought in the second quarter, we battled back and made them take tougher shots. We were able to get some good stuff off of diagonal passes against the matchup. We did some good stuff. We’ve got to keep working, focus on the good and try to extend it for longer periods of play.”
The offensive pace of the second quarter prevailed through the rest of the game. Borgia outscored Pacific in the third quarter, 12-6, to lead by a 38-26 margin going to the final eight minutes.
Schroeder led the Knights with 21 points, including four of Borgia’s six three-point baskets.
Adam Rickman was next, netting 13 points. He was the only Borgia player to score in each quarter.
Heath Landwehr scored four points.
Drew Fischer and Nathan Kell each concluded with three points.
Alec Riegel added two points.
Borgia hit six three-point shots and went 4-7 from the free-throw line.
Quin Blackburn came close to a double-double for the Indians, netting nine points to go with 16 rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.
Nick Iliff netted eight points with four rebounds.
Jack Meyer was next with seven points and three rebounds.
Matt Reincke added three points, two assists and two rebounds.
The two players with an “x” in their names, Drex Blackburn and Xavian Cox, each scored two points. Cox also had three rebounds and an assist.
Logan Bonds contributed three rebounds and an assist. Carter Myers handed out three assists and grabbed a rebound. Cole Hansmann had one rebound, and Joey Gebel contributed a steal.
Pacific hit one three-point shot and went 5-5 from the free-throw line.