The Ste. Genevieve boys varsity basketball team finally had shots fall in the fourth quarter Tuesday night at home against the St. Vincent Indians. Their point production in the quarter was just nine points shy from the point total they accumulated the other three quarters. And it was good enough to earn them a hard-fought 57-49 victory, handing the Indians just their third loss of the season (12-3), and helping themselves to a record above .500 at 9-8.
But as the game started, it seemed as if the scenario the team had faced numerous times recently was going to play itself out again. In the first quarter, the Dragons couldn’t buy a bucket. Ste. Gen would only get two three-pointers, one from Ricky Hunter, and one from Logan Trollinger. This was after the team fell behind 6-0 to start the game. Trollinger’s three pointer would fall through the net at the 3:07 mark, registering the first points of the game for the Dragons.
The second quarter saw a resurgence in the offense, and a cutting of the lead. The Dragons showed some resilience in going into halftime down, 28-25. SGHS was down by eight two minutes into the quarter, but Hunter hit his third three-pointer of the game with 5:34 to go to pull the Dragons to within five. A minute later, Aiden Boyer drained a three to make it 21-17. The Indians were also having success on their end of the floor, but the Dragons were heating up.
At the 3:27 mark, Anthony Nash knocked down a three to pull the team to within three points at 23-20. With so many turnovers early, many of the fans may have been wondering how the Dragons could still be in the game. After falling behind by six, Nash hit a shot from the free throw line to make it 26-22. Despite the turnovers, the Ste. Gen defense was still very solid, and when Trollinger hit his second three of the game with 1:12 to go, it pulled the Dragons to within one point. The team had a chance to take the lead with 47 seconds to go, but took two shots that were rushed, and then committed a foul. The Indians got three shots after a missed free throw and made the third to go ahead 28-25. Trollinger’s three point attempt missed it’s mark before the buzzer, but Ste. Genevieve went into the locker room at halftime down three.
“I thought we had some good looks early, but just couldn’t knock down shots,” head coach Rob Coleman pointed out. “St. Vincent did a good job of forcing the outside shot. Luckily our defense was pretty solid the entire game and allowed us to keep it close.”
Both offenses took a step back in the third quarter, as St. Vincent would be able to extend the lead to 37-33 at quarter’s end. After the Indians hit a three to start the quarter, Rudy Flieg had a nice tip in to make the score 31-27. However, just 13 seconds later, Flieg picked up his fourth foul and moved to the bench. St. Vincent was able to build its lead back up to eight points until Aiden Boyer was able to hit a long two-point jumper with 3:35 to go to make the score 35-29. The Dragons had a scoring drought of about three minutes up to that point. Boyer then drove the lane later to score a bucket and draw a foul. He missed the free throw, but with 2:15 to go, Ste. Gen was trailing 35-31.
After a basket off an inbounds play made it 37-31 Indians, the final points came from Josh Pelfrey, who took a sweet pass from Trollinger to pull Ste. Gen to within four points heading into the final eight minutes of play.
At this point, one could throw everything they’d seen from the first three quarters (with the exception of the Dragons’ strong defense and a few turnovers) and erase it from their memory. The Dragons returned to the court, maybe not realizing what they were about to do offensively, but sure that, despite everything, they had themselves in a position to win the game.
St. Vincent moved out to a five point lead in the first minute, but Trollinger hit his third three-pointer with 6:37 to go. Unfortunately, Flieg picked up his fifth foul just nine seconds after coming into the game. The lead was back up to five points until Christian Boyer took another great pass from Trollinger to make it 43-40 with 5:57 to go. At that point, St. Vincent tried spreading out the offense a bit, hoping to find a little more room to work, and milk some of the time off the clock.
The strategy worked, at least for a bit. The Indians scored four straight points and forced the Dragons into their eighth team foul with 4:03 to go in the contest. But Trollinger made his fourth three pointer with 3:49 to go to start the comeback. It was a four point game (47-43), and then Trollinger maybe gave everyone a sign that good things were to come when he made his fifth shot from beyond the arc that bounced off the rim, straight up, and then straight down into the hoop. It was a one point game, and the Indians called timeout with 3:08 to go.
After the timeout, Trollinger stole the ball to give Ste. Gen a chance to go ahead. After a foul, the sixth three-pointer of the game from Trollinger tickled the net and the Dragons were up for the first time in the game, 49-47, with 2:46 to go. It was a nine point run that turned a seven point deficit into a two point lead.
Christian Boyer then drove the lane for a bucket with 2:11 to go to make it 51-47. That strong defense kept the clamps on the Indians, as they hadn’t scored a point since 4:03 showed on the clock. After another foul at 1:22 still didn’t put the Dragons at the free throw line yet, Trollinger slipped and gave up the basketball, leading to a couple free throws for St. Vincent which pulled them to within 51-49. Trollinger was fouled after the Dragons broke the press, and he cooly hit both ends of a one-and-one to make the score 53-49. Ste. Gen stole the ball with 55 seconds left, and then Christian Boyer was fouled and hit both shots to extend the lead to 55-49,
Aiden Boyer grabbed the rebound after a missed field goal attempt, and with 36 seconds to go, he made both free throws to give the Dragons their final margin of victory. Some very clutch free throw shooting never gave St. Vincent a chance to think of a comeback.
“I am very proud of our guys and their determination,” Coach Coleman declared. “I’m happy for the players to see the benefits of it, and their belief to not give up. We are seeing some really good things and improvements.”
The Dragons outscored St. Vincent 24-12 in the final quarter, and by far, Trollinger’s 11 points in the final frame was a huge factor that the team won. Trollinger ended the night with 20 points, and six three pointers. But he also led the team with five assists, and four steals. Aiden Boyer also hit double figures with 11 points, and Hunter scored nine, all on threes, as he also collected three steals. Christian Boyer had eight points, six coming in the final quarter. He led the team with five rebounds. Nash finished the night with five points and four assists, while Rudy Flieg and Pelfrey added two points each. Coy Flieg nabbed four rebounds as well.
Ste. Gen will try to ride this momentum in their next contest which comes up on Friday as the squad battles the Park Hills Central Rebels. Game time at home should be around 7:30 p.m.