BREESE — For the first time in its 52-year history, the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament first-place trophy is leaving the state.
Briarcrest Christian Academy of suburban Memphis became the first team from outside Illinois to win the tourney by downing defending champion Central 30-29 in the title game Saturday.
In other games, Sacred Heart-Griffin of Springfield edged Mascoutah 62-60 in overtime for third place; the host Knights defeated Okawville 55-35 for fifth; Nashville defeated Highland 65-45 for seventh; and Carlyle bested Chicago Julian 51-36 for ninth place.
Named to the all-tournament first team were Central's Austin Rickhoff and Jacob Timmermann, Marshall Moore of Mascoutah, Austin Nichols of Briarcrest and Jeremy Weeke of Okawville. Second-team selections were Adam Etter of Mater Dei, Mitch Carriger of Highland, Nate Lowis and Malik Turner of Sacred Heart-Griffin, and Chris Hodges of Briarcrest.
Briarcrest 30, Central 29
The Saints' Donnovan Spralls made one of two free throws with a second left on the clock to get Briarcrest the win and the title.
"We just didn't make enough shots the whole game," said Central coach Stan Eagleson whose team was 11 for 38 from the field including 5 for 24 on 3-pointers. "But I thought we played hard and battled."
Neither team led by more than three points.
After Nichols' stickback with 1:06 remaining tied the game at 29, the Cougars (10-5) ran the clock down to seven seconds before launching a 3-point attempt. It missed and rebounded long to Spralls who was fouled while going up for a shot. He made the first shot and missed the second, and Briarcrest fouled on the rebound with three-tenths of a second left. Central wasn't in the bonus and only had time for a long pass downcourt that Nichols intercepted as time expired.
Nichols had 12 points for the Saints (15-3). Timmermann led Central with 10.
Sacred Heart-Griffin 62, Mascoutah 60 (OT)
The Cyclones (9-3) overcame a three-point deficit in the final 90 seconds to take third place.
Down 60-57, Sacred Heart-Griffin got consecutive steals from Malik Turner in a 12-second span resulting in a layup and two free throws by Turner which put the Cylcones ahead 61-60 with 1:06 remaining.
After a turnover by the Indians, Gabe Green hit one of two free throws with 42 seconds left to give Sacred Heart a 62-60 lead. Mascoutah (5-9) held the ball for a final shot but Marshall Moore's 21-footer from the left side was off and the Cyclones grabbed the rebound as time expired.
Turner had 22 points for Sacred Heart-Griffin and Nate Lowis added 12.
Moore led Mascoutah with 17 points and Nelson had 15.
"It [the loss] hurt, but no one expected us to be in this situation," said Mascoutah coach Cody Reynolds, whose team was 10th-seeded. "I told the kids if we can continue playing like this, we should be in good shape for the second half of the season."
Mater Dei 55, Okawville 35
Connor Obermeier's 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter pulled the Rockets within six at 36-30, but Mater Dei responded with a 14-3 run to pull away in the fifth place game.
Okawville had trailed by as many as 14 in the third period.
Eric Vandeloo posted career highs with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Ben Lampe had 11 points. Zack Deiters hit two 3-pointers and had an assist during the Knights' fourth-quarter run.
"I thought we showed some character this week," said Mater Dei coach Brian Perkes, whose team bounced back from a first-day loss to Central in which starter Zach Haake suffered a dislocated kneecap. "With the injury and losing to Central like we did, I told them that it was a pretty good week for us. Not a great one, but a pretty good one."
The Knights (8-7) were 3-2 in the tournament.
Jeremy Weeke had 11 points for Okawville (11-3). The Rockets whose top two scorers in Weeke and Jacob Brammeier were shadowed by Mater Dei's triangle-and-two defense were 4 for 24 on 3 pointers.
"We had a feeling we might see something like that (triangle-and-two)," said Okawville coach Jon Kraus. "We didn't have a lot prep time for it but you have to give them credit. It worked and they beat us."
Nashville 65, Highland 45
The Hornets had four players in double figures and gradually pulled away from Highland to win the seventh-place contest.
Chance Reuter went 4-of-6 on 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. Devin Holle added 12, Scott Brown 11 and Royce Newman 10 for the Hornets (10-4).
Joe Duncan scored 14 to lead the Bulldogs (10-6).
Carlyle 51, Chicago Julian 36
In a battle of teams that were winless in pool play, Carlyle (7-6) claimed ninth place.
Logan Zachry and Tyson Boehne each hit three 3-pointers for the Indians and finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Cody Huels scored 12.
Demzrctius Cooper had 13 for the Jaguars (2-8).