Indians 'play best game' to earn third place in Warrior Classic

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St. Vincent boys basketball coach Bruce Valleroy was not impressed with team’s effort the night before during a loss to Valle Catholic. However, he felt his team did a total 180-degree turn.

St. Vincent’s stifling defense and constant attack off the dribble kept Saxony Lutheran off balance the entire night as the Indians claimed a 50-36 victory over the Crusaders in the third place game of the Winter Warrior Classic on Wednesday at Valle Catholic High School.

“I thought our defense and our overall effort was the best I’ve seen all year,” Valleroy said. “We moved and got in the shooter’s faces, got in the passing lanes and disrupted things. Saxony had some guys that were scoring well this tournament and we held them to 20 points through three quarters, which was nice to see.”

John Wibbenmeyer led St. Vincent with 16 points, while Phillip Ernst added 14. Shawn Koishor added six, wile Evan DeWilde chipped in five points for the Indians.

For Saxony, John Hartmann was the only Crusader in double figures with 11, while Wilson Lodge was limited to seven points. Jacob Johnson and Wade Eggenmeyer had four points apiece.

While the St. Vicent defense forced 17 Saxony turnovers, many of which turned into transition lay-ups on the other end, the Crusaders were also hampered by foul trouble all night. Lodge, who led Saxony Lutheran with 18 points in their semifinal loss to top seed Seckman, was forced into two fouls within the first two minutes of the contest and had to sit much of the first half. His teammates Koenig and  Pruitt also were forced to sit with a pair of fouls in the first quarter.

“When you take Wilson out of our lineup, we just simply aren’t as good,” Saxony Lutheran coach Justin Callahan said. “That was very noticeable tonight. When you have all three of them sit for an extended period, that’s just not going to be good for us.”

St. Vincent took full advantage of three starters sitting for Saxony as they continually drove the lane. Ernst made a nice cut on the backside of the defense to give St. Vincent a 6-0 lead and Wibbenmeyer converted a steal into a lay-up minutes later to stretch that lead to 11-0 with one minute left in the first quarter. Saxony finally got on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer from Hartmann with 32 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

Callahan thought his team was fortunate to be down just 10 after the first quarter.

“I was amazed that after how bad we played that we were down just 10,” je said. “But we could never get going offensively and nothing we put up tonight looked good. Some didn’t even draw iron.”

That’s when Valleroy instituted a rule to begin the second quarter.

“I pretty much called off the three-pointers after the first quarter,” Valleroy said. “I thought that we were dominating inside and I wanted us to take full advantage of that."

The Indians did not make a three-pointer in the game, but they did plenty to supplement that offensivly. Ernst converted an offensive rebound into points, and a steal by the senior turned into points for Wibbenmeyer on a lay-up as the Indians had a 25-12 lead at the break.

“St. Vincent had a lot of length that bothered us,” Callahan said. “They looked bigger, faster, and stronger than us tonight.”

That lead was stretched to as many as 20 in the second half as St. Vincent continued to put pressure on the Crusaders.

“That’s the type of defense I want to see from us every night,” Valleroy said. “If we can get that type of effort every game, we will be hard to beat.”

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