Sullivan’s basketball Eagles remain unbeaten in Four Rivers Conference play this season after a tight squeeze Friday.

Sullivan (7-8, 2-0) edged St. Clair (6-11, 0-3), 48-45, in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer game between the two teams.

Sullivan carried a 16-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but St. Clair came back to tie things up, 26-26, going into halftime.

St. Clair held a narrow 41-40 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Bulldogs held a two-point lead in the final minute, but Sullivan completed a three-point play for the final lead change of the game.

St. Clair missed on a chance to take back the lead and the Eagles made two free throws to extend their advantage. A three-point attempt to tie at the buzzer did not fall for St. Clair.

“I thought we competed harder and had more energy and focus than we had all season long,” St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “Our kids gave everything that they had. It was disappointing to come up short, but I am really proud of our kids. Sullivan is playing really well right now and shoot the ball as well as anybody we play all year.”

Blaine Downey posted 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, adding three assists and two rebounds.

Chase Walters recorded 12 points with six rebounds, three steals and one assist.

Zach Browne finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.

“Our four seniors — Wes (Hinson), Chase, Zach and Blaine gave us great minutes,” Isgrig said. “They all knew the game plan and executed what we wanted to do, especially defensively. Chase, Zach and Blaine were all balanced in the scoring column, and Wes rebounded the ball well and handled the pressure well.”

Austin Dunn scored eight points, adding two assists and one rebound.

“Austin Dunn played all 32 minutes,” Isgrig said. “He handled the ball against their press and had zero turnovers. He did a really good job taking care of the ball and getting us into our offense.”

Hinson’s seven rebounds and six assists were both team highs.

Anthony Broeker added one rebound and one assist.

“We put ourselves in a position to win the game but have to make a couple more plays down the stretch on both ends,” Isgrig said. 

“Winning is a skill and we are working every day to get better at that skill. In tight games like this, every possession matters, and we needed to finish a couple more plays off.”

St. Clair continued league play Tuesday at Union and will host the defending league champions, St. James, Friday at 7 p.m.