KIRKWOOD, Mo. --Last-minute contributions by Belleville West seniors Donnie Foster and Markkies Goodwin launched the Maroons into celebration mode Friday.
Foster scored the go-ahead basket and Goodwin had a blocked shot that clinched the Maroons' come-from-behind 52-51 victory over Ladue in the championship game of the Vianney Invitational Tournament --West's first title in three years in the tourney.
Foster put the Maroons on top with a layup with 16 seconds to play, and after a Ladue timeout, Goodwin blocked Rams junior Cornell Johnston's shot after Johnston raced through the left side of the lane. Time expired during a battle for the loose ball.
"(Johnston) got past one of our men and I saw him coming through," said the 6-foot-3 Goodwin, who had four fouls but possessed an 8-inch height advantage over Johnston.
"My first reaction was to jump straight up," he said. "Luckily, I hit the ball. They couldn't call a foul if I jumped straight up. I blocked it with my right hand. I got enough to tip it (away)."
Foster's basket was his only one of the game. It came on a feed from senior Nick Van Osdale, who was double-teamed.
"Nick just found me and I put it in," Foster said. "I guess my average now is two points per game. I've just got to keep it going. ... That's a very good team we played tonight. It's a big win."
Fourth-seeded West (3-0) opened the tournament with victories over fifth-seeded Vianney and top-seeded Hazelwood Central.
The win over Ladue, however, was particularly challenging considering the Maroons trailed 46-37 and had no momentum with six minutes to play.
"That's one thing about this tournament," West coach Joe Muniz said. "We played three really good teams and we've had different people step up every night. I know Nick's getting most of the praise, because he's done a lot of great things this tournament, but we had different people step up to help us win games."
Van Osdale led all scorers with 19 points, but appeared fatigued as he was 5-for-15 from the field while being harassed by the speedy Johnston. Van Osdale finished with 93 points in the three games and made the all-tournament team.
Goodwin, despite being on the bench with foul issues for most of the second and part of the third quarter, finished with 12 points, while senior Isaiah Lewis had 11 points and joined Van Osdale on the all-tournament team.
Andrew Maddock, a 6-7 junior, led third-seeded Ladue (2-1) with 16 points. Austin Dague, a 6-9 senior, had 10 points.
The key point in the game came with the Maroons trailing 51-50. That's when Ladue sophomore Jordan Cosby was whistled for an over-and-back violation that gave West the ball. The Maroons capitalized with Foster's basket that proved to be the winner.
"I think our kids battled," Rams coach Chad Anderson said. "For both teams, I think it was difficult to score. I think the refs at times let the game get a little bit out of hand. It got too physical. I thought they were very inconsistent, but that's the way it goes.
"We didn't hold the ball long enough to allow them to foul us and get to the line at the end."
Anderson questioned the over-and-back violation and the cleanliness of Goodwin's block on Johnston.
"It was very close, but again, I think (Cosby) got bumped," Anderson said of the over-and-back. "They weren't calling that kind of stuff. There were a lot of body calls that were called for them and not us."
Of the final play, Anderson said: "I thought (Johnston) got fouled, but that's the way it was all night.
"I'm not blaming the refs for (us) losing. We'll take ownership for the loss. But they shot 20 free throws and we shot nine, and it was a physical game on both ends of the floor."
West trailed 46-37 when sophomore Jeremy Loftin had a three-point play with 6:03 left in the game. But the Maroons responded with an 8-1 run to climb within 46-45 with 3:23 remaining. Goodwin and Van Osdale had three-point plays in the surge.
West finally broke the Rams on Foster's basket.
"It was a grind-it-out game," Muniz said. "We see this every night in our (Southwestern) conference. Our kids are used to it, but these guys have done it at the freshman, sophomore and JV levels, not at the varsity level. They learned how to win tonight."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.