In what had all the makings of a late season, everything-on-the-line basketball contest, the Ste. Genevieve Dragons came back from a massive deficit, and had several chances to go ahead, only to be denied and lose to Valle Catholic Friday, 59-58. The loss leaves the Dragons at 3-2 on the season.
The visitors, if you can call a cross-town rival that, took a slim 11-9 lead in the first quarter, but really put some distance between them and their hosts in the second quarter. A ten point differential in the second eight minutes gave the Warriors a 33-21 lead at halftime. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, and we weren’t aggressive in the first half on the defensive end,” said head coach Rob Coleman. “We were on our heels and fouling in the first half.” The only bright spot was the play of Logan Trollinger who had scored 11 of the team’s 21 points.
The deficit, which had been as large as 17 points in the second quarter, continued in the third quarter until the Dragons started their comeback journey. Rudy Flieg got hot, hitting for six points in the third quarter, which helped the Dragons eventually trim the Valle lead to 44-37 heading into the final eight minutes.
Christian Boyer helped continue the Dragons’ pressure as he was hitting the boards hard and scoring seven fourth quarter points. Trollinger was hitting clutch free throws, and Ricky Hunter drained a couple threes. With only one point separating the two teams, SGHS has several opportunities to go ahead, but just couldn’t get the ball to go through the basket. Valle survived, winning 59-58.
“We played much better in the second half,” Coach Coleman explained. “We were much more aggressive on defense, and took better shots.” Anthony Nash, who dished off three assists, said the two halves were vastly different. “When we were behind, we didn’t have much energy as a team, and our defense wasn’t the best,” he admitted. “In the second half, our defense was good, and it caused good energy and helped us get on a run.”
Trollinger was outstanding for the Dragons, leading the team with 20 points, collecting five steals, and handing off three assists. Christian Boyer had a strong game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds (seven offensive boards). Hunter was crucial in the second half, scoring nine of his 11 points. He also added three steals. Rounding out the scoring was Rudy Flieg with six points, Coy Flieg with three (five rebounds), Chaytin Lea with two points, and Aiden Boyer with one.
A couple players got their first taste of the rivalry as high school basketball athletes. Freshmen Ricky Hunter and Aiden Boyer were asked their perspectives of the contest. “We need to come out more focused and be on the same page as our other teammates,” Hunter said in explaining the slow start. Boyer said the game was fun. “It wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for, obviously, but it was a good fight, and a good experience for my first basketball game against our crosstown rival,” he noted. “We made a big comeback in the second half, but we came out flat in the first half and it cost us.”
The Dragons will be back in action on Tuesday, taking on the Hillsboro Hawks on the road. The two teams met in the first contest of the season in the Fountain City Classic. The Hawks took that game, 77-42. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.