The St. Vincent boys showed plenty of fight, but could not get that one basket they needed in a 66-60 loss to visiting St. Pius on Feb. 2.
“It just felt like when we got the lead, or started to play better, St. Pius stepped up and made a shot,” St. Vincent coach Bruce Valleroy said. “You have to give St. Pius credit for taking and making those shots, but we have to make a stop as well in tight ball games like that.”
Jacob Schremp led the way for St. Vincent with 18 points, while Max Wheeler had 13 and Parker Ellis had 11.
St. Pius was led by three players in double figures as Patrick Flanagan had 18, while John Whitman had 16, and John Jercinovic had 12.
The whole theme of the game could be boiled down in the third quarter as St. Vincent trailed 30-24 at the half and came out in the third quarter on a 9-2 run after a three-pointer by Payton Strattman to take a 33-32 lead.
The two teams traded the lead multiple times in the quarter on a three-point play by Jacob Schremp and a three-pointer by Max Wheeler, but by the end of the third St. Pius still had a six- point lead after a quick nine-point flurry in the final two minutes.
St. Pius grew the lead to as many as eight in the fourth quarter, before St. Vincent cut the lead to four on several occasions.
Valleroy said his team could not hit the “broad side of a barn.” St. Vincent shot 36 percent from the field and was 5-30 from three-point range for the game.
“I don’t know why it was like that because we shoot every day,” he said. “We missed a lot of chip shots close to the basket, both inside and out. When you’re in a slump during a game like that, it spread to everyone.”
Both teams started well as it was close throughout the frame. Ellis converted a three-point play with four seconds left and Jercinovic hit a three to tie the game at 15-15 at the end of the first. The Lancers used that momentum to take a small lead and St. Vincent struggled to score to kick off the frame. Strattman scored the first points for the Indians with 4:40 left before the half.
The loss eliminated the Indians from the JCAA conference race. Valleroy noted the winner of the St. Pius-Jefferson R-7 game later this week will decide the title.
Despite being eliminated, Valleroy is still confident in his team, which is 6-3 in 2024.
“We still have to keep working,” Valleroy said. “We have several game coming up to get ready for districts and try to make a run. Unfortunately we are out of the conference race, but there is still a lot to play for yet.”