The Mater Dei Knights overcame poor shooting from the field and the charity stripe by playing tight defense, smothering Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 44-39 on Wednesday at the 56th Annual Mater Dei Christmas Tournament.
After the second day of pool play, the Knights and crosstown rivals Central are the only teams without a loss. Should Mater Dei defeat both Metro East Lutheran and Nashville on Thursday, and if Central knocks off Mascoutah, the Knights and Cougars would meet for the title Friday night.
Mater Dei (6-2) shot just 30.4 percent (14-46) from the field and an even 50 percent from the foul line (14-28), but the Knights held the Cyclones (5-4) to just two points in the third quarter, erasing a 3-point halftime deficit.
Lucas Theising led Mater Dei with 14 points and added eight rebounds. Nolan Robben scored 9 and Mason Toennies had 8. Sacred Heart’s Jack O’Connor led all scorers with 15 points.
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Sacred Heart-Griffin 78, Metro East Lutheran 47
Sacred Heart followed up a last second upset victory over Nashville on Tuesday with a rout of the Knights in Wednesday’s opener.
Matt Moseley and Austin Chapman led the Cyclones (5-3) with 13 points apiece. Noah Coddington and Demonte Bean scored seven each for the Knights (4-9).
Mascoutah 54, Highland 36
Mascoutah (8-4) never trailed, hitting five treys in the opening period to take a 15-11 lead. The Indians led by 10 at halftime, but the Bulldogs opened the third quarter on a 12-3 run to pull within one. Sophomore Malik Green took over the game, hitting three layups and a 3-pointer in succession to put the Indians back up 40-27, and he also banked in a trey at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
Green led all scorers with 21, with teammate Blake Weiss adding 10. Brady Feldman led the Bulldogs (3-10) with nine, with Jake Kruse, Stephen Schniers and Sam LaPorta adding six each.
Nashville 46, Carlyle 23
The Hornets improved to 2-1 in Pool B with a runaway victory over the Indians (4-4). Bryan Brink scored 19 for Nashville, with Brycen Bultman adding 11. Brogan Kemp pulled down 13 rebounds for the Hornets (10-2).
Nashville held Carlyle to five points in the first two periods, six in the third and seven in the fourth. The Indians were ice cold from the field, shooting just 5-for-37. Connor Toennies had eight points and eight rebounds.