The two-time defending Class 2A state champion Althoff Crusaders got what coach Dan Polites called "a reality check" at the South Seven Conference Golf Tournament.
Senior Michael Johnson and sophomore Matthew McCarthy shot rounds of 74, but the Crusaders struggled otherwise and had to settle for third place in the six-team event at Greenview Golf Course in Centralia.
"The kids were a little down on the way home, but sometimes a little bump in the road is good for a team. It's reality check time," Polites said. "We had two very good scores by Michael and Matthew today (Thursday) and to be honest about it, two not very good scores.
"We shot 319 which is a respectable total. But we had an 83 and 88 included. If we count 83 and 88 at the regional and especially at the sectional, we're probably not going to state."
Sophomore Connor Eghigian shot an 83 and senior Grant Strieker added an 89 for Althoff, which finished six shots behind champion Marion (313) and three strokes behind host Centralia (316).
Marion senior Brendan Lewis took medalist honors with a three-under-par 68, while Johnson and McCarthy tied for second.
McCarthy won a sudden-death playoff on the first hole to take the second-place medal.
Johnson, winding down a brilliant high school career, and McCarthy were rock solid on a tough Greenview Golf Course which is owned and operated by Centralia native and Champions Tour player Tom Wargo.
"Greenview is a tough golf course and the wind made it more challenging today. But as usual, it's in great shape," Polites said. "Michael and Matthew both played very well today. We just need our number three through six players to step up the next two weeks."