BREESE — Seeded ninth out of 10 teams despite bringing an unbeaten record to the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament, the Okawville Rockets were seeking more than a little respect.
They got some Thursday with a pair of wins, including a thrilling 49-44 victory over the Nashville Hornets that included a 21-point outing by freshman Noah Frederking.
Okawville also beat Mater Dei 59-48 earlier Thursday with Frederking scoring 26 in that one.
"Being the ninth seed, a lot of people didn't know what to expect from us," said Okawville senior guard Jacob Brammeier, who had 14 points against Nashville to help the Rockets move to 8-0. "We haven't lost, but also our schedule hasn't been that great (before today)."
Nashville (6-3) played without 6-foot-7 sophomore scoring leader Royce Newman, who sprained his ankle sprain Tuesday at practice. Hornets guard Daniel Thorson wore a face mask to protect his broke nose.
"It's a bad sprain," Nashville coach Brad Weathers said of Newman's injury. "We weren't going to risk it today, it was still pretty tender."
Okawville led 30-21 early in the third quarter, but the Hornets used a 15-3 run to take a 36-33 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Just when it seemed like the Rockets might fade, guard Alex Wisneski drained a pair of 3-pointers to put Okawville back on top.
Nashville center Clint Johannes scored eight of his 18 points down the stretch to keep things close, but Brammeier and Alex Roessel hit four free throws in the final 30 seconds as the Rockets held on.
"We were pushing really hard at that point in time (in the third quarter) trying to get that gap to double figures," Okawville coach Jon Kraus said. "They made a quick run at us and took the lead, but we hung in there. We got a little low on fuel maybe, but we just gutted it out."
Wisneski's 3-pointers helped revive a struggling Okawville offense that had been carried by Frederking and Brammeier earlier.
"We worked extremely hard to get back in the ballgame because with Okawville, it's really difficult to play from behind," Weathers said. "I was very pleased with our effort to actually come back and take the lead and have the opportunity to win."
In Okawville's earlier win over Mascoutah, Frederking scored 12 of his team-leading 26 points in the fourth quarter and combined with Brammeier for 50 points as the Rockets pulled away late.
Frederking and Brammeier were a combined 17-for-19 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Mater Dei led 38-36 heading into the fourth quarter, but Okawville created some breathing room with a 13-2 run that put things away.
"That was a team win," Kraus said. "We had guys that didn't score a bucket that night have played their best game of the year."
The 6-foot-3 Frederking, son of former Rockets player Bryan Frederking, could be a special talent.
"It's been a lot of fun," Brammeier said of Frederking's transition to the varsity. "He's a lot more talented than I was as a freshman, obviously. He's really good and he's doing all the little stuff...we're trying to push him along as fast as we can."
Edgewater 60, Mater Dei 58
Playing without head coach Ronnie Schadegg, the Mater Dei Knights nearly pulled off a big upset. The Knights led 58-55 with 27.3 seconds remaining, but Edgewater star Eddie Keith hit three free throws in the final 12.9 seconds and stole a pass to seal the win.
A school spokesman said Schadegg, who coached in Mater Dei's earlier game Thursday. was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville as a precautionary measure for an illness.
"He seems to be doing well," said Mater Dei assistant Matt Becker, who spoke with Schadegg's wife. "It doesn't sound like it's anything too major, he should be back here ready to go tomorrow."
Anfernee Simons led Edgewater (7-3) with 17 points and Keith added 15. Mater Dei got 15 points from Ben Lampe and 14 from Zach Haake.
Down by one with 19.5 seconds remaining, Mater Dei was called for an offensive foul and lost the ball on a turnover. Keith was fouled a few seconds later and hit two free throws, then swiped a crosscourt pass and hit another free throw after being fouled again.
Central 53, Mascoutah 49
Making his first varsity start in the 9 a.m. tourney opener, Central High freshman Jack Strieker definitely proved he was a morning player.
Strieker led the Cougars with 15 points and nine rebounds and Chase Schneider hit four free throws in the final 42 seconds as Central held off Mascoutah 53-49.
The teams battled throughout, tied 27-27 at halftime with Central leading 39-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Mascoutah's M.Z. Duprey tied it at 45, but Central took off from there. Shots by sophomore Logan Kohrmann and Strieker pushed the lead to three.
Senior Jacob Timmermann had 11 points for Central and Chase Schneider had nine. Mascoutah (3-7) got 13 points each from Oltmann and Duprey.
Edgewater 57, Highland 55
Highland sophomore Austin Elledge's shot glanced off the rim just ahead of the buzzer as No. 2 seed Edgewater held on for the win. Keith led all scorers with 26 points.
Trailing by 10 in the first half, Highland (6-3) battled back on a pair of 3-pointers by Elledge in the final two minutes.
Keith missed the front end of a one-and-one foul shot opportunity with 25.6 seconds remaining, giving Highland one more chance.
After Edgewater fouled twice, Elledge pushed for a shot from the right wing that was off the mark. Senior Aaron Elledge had 13 points for Highland and Austin Elledge added 11.
Carlyle 55, Mascoutah 45
Carlyle (7-1) got off to a good start as senior Matt Hilmes led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Logan Zachry contributed 15 points for the Indians while Deven Hicks hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Mascoutah (3-8) got 17 points from Alex Oltmann and 12 from Tim Parks.
Springfield SH-Griffin 71, Briarcrest 62
Will Hrubes nailed all six of his 3-point tries and finished with a game-high 24 points, but it still wasn't enough as top-seeded Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin won. Griffin (3-3) landed four players in double-figure scoring led by Ben Sestak's 17 points.