St. Vincent was able to edge Puxico for its 19th victory of the season and sixth in a row on Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 2, District 3 tournament.
What’s their reward for doing so?
They get to play a team who St. Vincent coach Bruce Valleroy said is “playing the best basketball in southeast Missouri.”
St. Vincent will travel to Advance today at 6:30 p.m. for a district semifinal matchup with the Hornets. Advance (19-4) has won 13 of 14 games including a 102-55 victory over Delta in their final regular season game last Friday. Valleroy does not expect anything but the best from Advance.
“They are a very good team, who likes to get up and down the floor and play a pressure trapping defense,” Valleroy said. “We certainly have a tough game ahead of us.”
The two teams met in this exact game one year ago in an instant classic. St. Vincent was victorious 67-66 in overtime and was able to advance to the district tournament championship before falling to Oran. Valleroy believes this year’s version has all the makings of another great game and he knows to win any championships his team will have to play quality competition .
“If we ever want to move on and win district championships or anything like that, we are going to have to play and beat teams as good as Advance is.”
Advance has scored at least 100 points twice this season and 80 points five times. St. Vincent on the other hand has not reached that 80-point plateau at all and averages 56 points per game.
“We can’t get in a track meet with these guys,” Valleroy said. “Last year’s game was in the 60s in overtime. That’s the exact type of game this needs to be for us to win.”
St. Vincent allows just 43 points per game and to illustrate his team’s good defensive mindset, Valleroy pointed out that in last Friday’s triple overtime victory against Scott City his team allowed 61 points.
“We have to play our style,” he said. “We have to take our time on offense, put the ball in the basket and get back and play solid defense and limit their chances for offensive rebounds. We want to make this as much of a half court game as possible.”
Advance has beaten Dexter (20-4) and Bernie (20-5) twice this season and are led by their post players according to Valleroy. Forward Jaren Schrader scored a game-high 29 points in the Hornets’ victory over Delta Friday.
“They love to dribble penetrate into the lane and get into their post players,” Valleroy said. “we have to keep them on the perimeter and force them to make difficult shots.”
The winner will take on the victor in the other semifinal between Oran and Valle Catholic. Valle defeated Meadow Heights 61-47 on Tuesday.