Wednesday more closely resembled what coach Joe Muniz had in mind for his Belleville West Maroons.
The Maroons got a game-high 31 points from Nick Van Osdale, 17 from Markkies Goodwin, 11 from Isaiah Lewis and eight from D.J. Owens as they overcame Hazelwood Central 75-61 in the semifinals of the Vianney Invitational Tournament in Kirkwood, Mo.
Fourth-seeded West (2-0), which trailed by 10 in the first quarter and 23-20 at halftime, scored 55 points in the second half.
The Maroons also stymied the top-seeded Hawks' top players: 6-foot-8 senior Jordan Martin and 6-6 senior Marcus Hinton. Martin, who has signed with Southern Illinois University Carbondale, finished with just two free throws; Hinton, headed for Lindenwood-St. Charles, scored 12 points.
"It was a team defensive effort," Muniz said in a telephone interview.
Muniz was equally delighted to see Van Osdale receive scoring support. Van Osdale, a 6-2 senior who will join Hinton at Lindenwood-St. Charles next season, had a career-high 43 points and hit six 3-pointers Monday as the Maroons defeated fifth-seeded Vianney 60-54. However, no other teammate reached double figures.
Van Osdale was sensational again, hitting one 3-pointer and going 16-for-17 from the free-throw line. But this time, he had plenty of help from his friends.
Goodwin, a 6-3 senior who had two points in the opener, scored 15 in the second half. Lewis, a 5-10 senior, reached double figures after scoring nine in the opener, and 5-8 senior Owens sank two critical 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as West pulled away.
"Nick had 31, but we had kids step up that struggled Monday," Muniz said. "I knew our kids will respond. I knew they needed to get confidence, and tonight they had confidence.
"We were just relaxing and running our offense, moving the basketball. They had a hard time guarding everybody. We attacked their bigs and got them in foul trouble and they had to go deeper into their bench. That helped us out tremendously."
The Maroons, who were 24-for-31 from the free-throw line, will play third-seeded Ladue in the championship game at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Ladue outlasted second-seeded Eureka 56-52 in the other semifinal. West is looking for its first title in three years at Vianney.
Van Osdale was often double-teamed, creating passing opportunities for his teammates.
He was solid tonight," Muniz said. "They were doubling him and trying to keep the ball out of his hands, and he was finding the open guy. He's unselfish."
Muniz sensed that most of his players were tight Monday.
"A lot of those guys Monday night, that was the first time they stepped on a varsity floor," he said. "They were much more comfortable tonight, no doubt."
Muniz also credited the Maroons' rebounding.
"We played extremely tough and extremely hard," he said. "We boxed out well. If they didn't make their first shot, we got the rebound."
Senior LaDarcus Ford had six points off the bench for West.
"He gave us great defense and rebounding support," Muniz said.
Hazelwood Central (1-1) will play Eureka (1-1) for third place at 5 p.m. Friday.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.