BELLEVILLE — Althoff continued its fast start to the season Saturday.
Freshman Jordan Goodwin, senior Kevin Renner and sophomore Brendon Gooch accounted for 52 points as the Crusaders improved to 5-0 with a 58-53 victory over Mater Dei.
Goodwin scored a game-high 24 points, while Renner had 18 and Gooch had 10.
"It was a good challenge," said Althoff coach Greg Leib, whose team trailed just three times and fought off the Knights' repeated comeback bids in the fourth-quarter. "We didn't necessarily do as well as what we would have liked, but give a lot of credit to Mater Dei. They made some plays and their kids kept battling."
Senior Eric Vandeloo led the Knights (2-3) with 11 points. Junior Ben Lampe had 10 and junior Zach Haake had 10 off the bench.
Goodwin, who averaged 20 points as the Crusaders finished 4-0 in their season-opening tournament in Effingham, missed two key free throws with 1:08 to play but then sealed the victory with a layup on a leakout with nine seconds left.
Goodwin was 10-for-20 from the field.
"He's got some areas to improve at, but he really plays hard and approaches the game with a genuine, sincere effort," Leib said. "If everyone would approach it like that, we would have a lot better game and I would look a whole lot smarter."
Mater Dei took a 51-50 lead on Lampe's two free throws with 4:05 to play in the game. But Goodwin immediately scored and Renner hit a bank shot --his only points of the second half --to put the Crusaders ahead 54-51.
Lampe had a chance to give Mater Dei the lead with 42 seconds left, but he missed two free throws and Goodwin responded with a layup that made it 56-53.
After a timeout, Mater Dei sophomore Brendan Timmermann missed a layup, and Goodwin then scored to ice the win.
"We got a victory out of this, but we've got a lot of work to get done still," Leib said, adding that he has enjoyed his young team. "The only thing you can watch is Disney films on your bus trips."
Twenty-two of the game's 33 fouls were called in the first half, which ended with Althoff leading 35-31 behind 16 points by Renner. Both teams were whistled for 11 fouls that resulted in 31 attempted free throws.
Althoff led 46-41 after three quarters, thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer by senior Eric Mertens --his only points of the game.
The Crusaders blew out to a 27-18 lead when Renner popped the first of his two first-half 3-pointers with 4:45 left in the second quarter. Mater Dei responded with an 11-1 push and drew within 29-28 on junior Nolan Gerling's bucket in the paint.
Renner followed with back-to-back baskets to make it 33-28, but Haake's 3-pointer made it 33-31 with 1:02 to play in the half. Goodwin sank two free throws with .07 seconds remaining to put Althoff ahead by four at the break.
Goodwin had 13 points in the half. The trio of Renner, Goodwin and Gooch scored all but one of the Crusaders' points.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.