With scoring leader Logan Kohrmann slowed by a knee injury late in the first quarter, the top-seeded Central Cougars were looking for some offensive reinforcement Monday at the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament.
It came in the form of energetic junior Jack Strieker, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds to help the Cougars move to 3-0 at the tourney with a 54-45 victory over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.
“Jack stepped up big, he had a bunch of rebounds for us,” Central coach Jeremy Shubert said of Strieker, who recently fired off a 28-point game against Carlyle. “He kind of ran the offense for us at times. We got him the ball in the block, he hit a couple threes and got the job done.”
Chase Schneider added 10 points for the Cougars (10-1) and 6-foot-7 sophomore Tyler Joest added eight.
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Griffin (2-7), the No. 8 seed, led 10-8 after one quarter and kept pounding away with a physical style that seemed to bother the Cougars for much of the first half. But after Kohrmann left the game late in the first quarter when he banged his leg on the bleachers, the Cougars got 3-pointers from Strieker, Mitchel Rule and Schneider while reeling off a 17-7 run that kept them in charge the rest of the way.
Shubert was uncertain of the extent of Kohrmann’s injury. The talented senior was a first-team all-tourney pick last season and had scored a combined 40 points in the Cougars’ first two tourney wins.
“You could tell when he came back in it was bothering him,” Shubert said. “We need to figure out what the game plan’s going to be for him. He did go back in (during the second half) and I didn’t think his lateral movement was as good, but he said his leg was numb after the injury.
“We tried him in the second half and he just wasn’t the same. We’ve got to see what the doctors say.”
The Cyclones hung tough for a while but were 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) from 3-point range and struggled to find any offensive rhythm. Avery Andrews had 13 points and Albert Okwuegbunam added 11.
Central can reach the championship game for the second straight year with a win over Briarcrest at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re happy to be 3-0 but I still don’t think we’ve played a complete 32 minutes like our kids are capable of playing,” Shubert said. “We’re happy where we’re at and they’re gutty kids. They’ll rise to the occasion.”
Metro-East Lutheran 73, Carlyle 59
After an off-night with seven points in the Knights’ tourney-opening loss to Okawville, Metro-East Lutheran senior guard Teddy Fifer was back to his old self Monday. Fifer erupted for 30 points, hitting seven of 12 shots overall and five of his eight 3-point tries to lead the Knights (12-2).
“He and I had a long talk,” Metro-East Lutheran coach Anthony Smith said. “I showed him some game film and he basically saw what I saw. Not buying into the system doesn’t work. Half the battle is doing what we’ve been doing that got us to be 10-1.
“We told him get into the offense because it will come. He had a much better game today.”
So did the Knights, who jumped out to a 23-13 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Kenrique Brown added 13 points for Metro-East and Jason Johnson had 11 points and eight rebounds.
“I don’t know who that team was the other night,” Smith said. :We came out and for some unknown reason, I think we thought Okawville was just going to roll over. We didn’t play Metro-East basketball. Today we did the things that got us to be 10-1.”
Carlyle got 19 points from sophomore Tyler Siever and 17 from senior Maverick Taylor.
Metro-East Lutheran 64, Nashville 61
Fifer scored 27 points in the Knights’ second game Monday, giving him 57 points on the day, as Metro-East Lutheran held off Nashville in the final game of the night. Johnson added 13 for the KNights, who watched an eight-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter behind a furious Hornets comeback. Nashville’s Brady Bultman cut the lead to 62-61 on a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining, then Fifher hit the second of two free throws to make it 63-61. After Nashville’s Ryan Brink was short on a 3-point try that would have given the Hornets the lead, Metro-East Lutheran’s Braden Woolsey hit one free throw to restore the three-point lead at 64-61. Nashville got one more wild shot at the buzzer that wasn’t close as the Knights held on.
Highland 59, Mascoutah 57
Highland withstood a 26-point explosion from Mascoutah sophomore Blake Weis as well as a late traveling call that gave the Indians one more shot just before the buzzer. That shot was off the mark and Highland got 15 points from Luke Thies, 14 from Will Greenwald and 10 from Austin Elledge.
Two late free throws by Weiss gave Mascoutah the lead, but a clutch 34-pointer by Greenwald put the Bulldogs on top to stay. The Indians put up a much tougher fight against their Mississippi Valley Conference rival this time after losing 61-40 to Highland on Dec. 10.
Briarcrest 67, Highland 60
Seniors Nate Vaughn and Will Hrubes combined for 44 points and Hrubes drilled five 3-pointers as Briarcrest (12-2) got past Highland (7-5). Hrubes, headed to Rockhurt Uuniversitym scored 23 points while Vaughn had 21. Highland’s Elledge also had 23 points and Luke Thies added 19.