Saxony Lutheran captured their first victory of the season in the opening round of the Winter Warrior Classic with a big win over Fox Monday. They looked to keep that momentum going, but Seckman had other ideas.
The Jaguars used a big run to create some breathing room and pull away from the Crusaders. Top-seeded Seckman defeated fifth seed Saxony 67-54 in the semifinal round of the Winter Warrior Classic Tuesday.
“You have to give Seckman credit,” Saxony boys basketball coach Justin Callahan said. “It came down to shooting 3-pointers and I thought that if they would start to miss a few, then we could get back in the game, but they never did.”
Seckman made a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and 10 for the game as they opening up the final frame with an 11-0 run to turn what was a four point lead into a double digit advantage.
Callahan said that he knew the Jaguars liked to shoot from long range.
“We knew they would shoot a lot of three-point shots,” Callahan said. “We went into a 1-3-1 zone to try and slow them down, but a lot of their threes were in transition. We haven’t faced many teams this year that would pull up from three on the fast break. We had an idea about their tendencies coming in, but even that doesn’t help when the other team is executing like Seckman did tonight.”
Wilson Lodge scored 18 points to lead Saxony Lutheran, while Will Eldridge added 11 points for the Crusaders, while John Hartman added eight points for Saxony.
Seckman was led by Allen Grahovic with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, while Nathan Metz added 17 points.
Seckman had all the momentum heading into the locker room with a 33-26 lead after Nate White hit two 3-pointers in the final minute, including one at the buzzer.
But Saxony stormed back with two consecutive baskets by Lodge to start the quarter, that trimmed the Seckman lead to just 33-30. Metz ignited a 8-0 run for the Jaguars.
Eldridge had an answer. The Saxony junior hit three straight 3-pointers in a flurry as he helped narrow the margin to 43-39 with 2:46 left in the third quarter.
“That was a big boost for us, obviously and got us back in the game,” Callahan said. “Will is a good shooter, but he has to get his confidence going and when it is, he can go on these streaks, like he did in the third quarter.”
Seckman was forced into a timeout and Ethan Miller answered the Saxony run with a three-point play of his own. Saxony went into the final quarter down just 48-44.
That’s when Seckman blew the game open.
A couple of turnovers by Saxony and a 3-pointer by White turned a run that decided the game.
“We just had too many turnovers at times,” Callahan said. “We have to be able to take care of the ball at times. But I was proud of our effort. It was definitely there. I can’t knock us for that.”
Saxony Lutheran was able to stay close because of the shoulders and made shots on Lodge. The junior scored 12 of his points in the first half, which Callahan was something that kept them in the game in the first 16 minutes.
“In the second half I thought he was a little tired because he missed two in the paint that he normally makes,” Callahan said. “But without him we wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with, especially with his ability to play defense and rebound and the points he made early on we wouldn’t have been in the game to start with.”
Lodge tied the game at 20-20 with 3:45 left in the second quarter, but turnovers and made shots from Grahovic widened the lead to 27-22.
White splashed home a pair of threes including one at the buzzer in the final minute to give the Jaguars a 33-26 lead at the half.
Saxony claimed their first victory of the season on Monday with a 54-30 victory over Fox, Callahan has been impressed with the way his team has competed with the pair of Class 6 schools.
“Seckman is the top seed for a reason and when you play those Class 6 schools in the St. Louis area, they are going to have a little more athleticism when you may see from a school at the Class 3 level. The goal is to gace these bigger schools and it will help us down the line when we get to the postseason. Saxony faced St. Vincent for third place in the tournament on Wednesday.