Gibault's 3-point assault pummels Calhoun

News-DemocratMarch 4, 2014 

— It was raining 3-pointers Tuesday at the Class 1A Okawville Sectional and the Hardin Calhoun Warriors were caught without an umbrella.

Gibault connected on 12 of its 20 3-point shots and got 20 points from senior Nick Row in a dominant 64-40 victory over the Warriors in the sectional semifinal.

Row scored those 20 points through three quarters, including three 3-pointers, while senior Mitch Meyer drained five of six 3-pointers and finished with 15 points for the Hawks (24-8).

"It was a buzzsaw," Calhoun coach Ryan Graner said. "We knew they could shoot coming in, but when a team shoots at that kind of level it really doesn't matter what you do. You can't match twos for threes ... it was like an avalanche almost."

Gibault will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between Springfield Lutheran (26-3) and North Greene (18-12) in the sectional championship.

Hawks coach Dennis Rueter said Row works extremely hard for his points. Row also made sure his shots counted, draining big 3-pointers to end the second and third quarters.

"He shot it really well and got himself inside and muscled in some shots in there as well," Rueter said. "He's a kid you can count on to give you great effort and tonight he made the shots."

Row dropped in 10 of his 14 first-half points during a torrid second quarter that saw the Hawks build a 36-22 halftime cushion.

"We were making shots and Mitch, he can't miss lately and that's nice to have," Row said. "We didn't know too much about any of these teams. But we knew if we played hard we were going to have a shot. We know we're just as good as any other team in 1A.

"If we play well we can beat anybody."

Graner would show the game film from Tuesday's lopsided affair as Exhibit A.

"I think their pressure wore us down a little as the game went on," Graner said. "But there were some bunnies and some easy shots that we normally knock down a little more consistently than we did. It seemed like every time we missed one of those, they'd come down and hit a three."

Calhoun pushed the Hawks hard early on from the opening tip, but Gibault's assault from 3-point land made it tough.

Calhoun crept as close as 15-12 and 18-15, but Row scored 10 of his 14 first-half points during a second-quarter blitz to help build Gibault's 36-22 lead.

The Hawks were 7-for-14 on 3-pointers in the first half, including three by Meyer.

"We shot it awfully well," Rueter said. "We're capable of that, it's not like we've never done that before. We shot it awfully well against Okawville (in the regional final), too.

"I didn't think we played real well, I think we shot it well. We got open looks and we made them and maybe Friday night we can do it again, but you don't want to hang your hat on that. It doesn't always go that way."

Gibault also got nine points from Wes Degener and eight from Jared Rueter. Calhoun got 18 points from 6-foot-6 junior Gus Baalman and 13 from sophomore guard Mitchell Bick.

But once the Hawks began draining threes, the Warriors simply couldn't keep up.

"When the threes start going down there that lead multiplies pretty quick, doesn't it?" Coach Rueter said. "They were scoring on us and they really weren't bothered too much by our pressure. We were just making too many shots and they were having a hard time guarding us."

The senior-led Hawks are trying for the rare trifecta of three consecutive state titles after winning in baseball and soccer.

"We're playing hard because we know every game could be our last," Row said.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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