With an ailing Kyleigh Vaught on the bench to start the game, the Althoff Crusaders didn’t falter Tuesday in the first round of the Althoff Class 2A girls regional basketball tournament.
Senior Maggie Reimer scored seven of her 16 points, and four teammates also scored in the first quarter as Althoff got off to a quick lead and was never threatened in a 60-20 win over the Wesclin Warriors.
With Vaught, one of the top offensive players in the St. Louis area, not in the starting lineup after missing school Monday with the flu, Reimer and fellow senior Amanda Kaltwasser set the tone early. After Wesclin took a 3-0 lead on a basket by Hannah Arensten, Reimer and Kaltwasser connected on 3-point baskets for the Crusaders (20-9).
Tiffani Siekman added a free throw, and Gabrielle Siekmann added a short jumper before Vaught entered three minutes into the game with her team leading 10-3. Althoff led 15-4 after one quarter, and when Tiffani Siekmann added a 3-point jumper in the opening seconds of the second quarter, Althoff was on an 18-1 scoring run.
Cold from the floor and overmatched, Wesclin would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the night.
“We wanted to give (Kyleigh) a chance to get a feel for the game. You knew it wouldn’t be long before she was in there, though,” Althoff coach Nick Knolhoff said. “We have confidence that our players off the bench can come in and play well, and that’s what they did tonight.”
The win lifts second-seeded Althoff into the title game Thursday where it will take on Mater Dei at 7 p.m. at Atlhoff Catholic High School. The two teams split a pair of games this season.
Vaught finished with a game high 17 points.