The Althoff Crusaders rolled to a 75-33 win over the Gibault Hawks on Saturday at Althoff High School.
Gibault (10-7) led 7-6 at the 5:27 mark in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by junior Jacob Rueter, but then struggled to keep pace with the Crusaders.
“They’re quicker and stronger. They were quick to the glass,” said Gibault coach Dennis Rueter of the Crusaders. “They did some things wrong, but they were superior, athletically, against us,” .
Althoff (13-2) scored seven straight points to lead 13-7, and scored two baskets in the final 45 seconds of the opening quarter to take an 18-10 advantage.
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Althoff’s defensive prowess limited Gibault’s field-goal attempts at the other end. A barrage of blocks by sophomores Jordan Goodwin and Marvin Bateman and junior Tarkus Ferguson made shots hard to find and kept the Hawks from tightening the deficit.
A 9-2 Crusaders run to start the second quarter put them up 27-12 and previewed the second half.
“We came out flat, we adjusted, and started getting better looks,” said Althoff coach Greg Lieb. “Jordan [Goodwin] got a lot of attention. He gave some guys some great looks with looking for the extra pass,”
Goodwin scored 17 points while helping junior Brendon Gooch to team-high 20 points. Ferguson finished with 12.
Althoff’s second quarter lead shrunk to 11 at halftime when Gibault’s Zach Rueter dropped in a floater at the buzzer.
The Hawks took that momentum into the second half, but the Crusaders responded with two quick third-quarter scores to make it 37-22.
“They were never really in danger of letting us win the game. We hung around for a while,” Rueter said. “When the other team is more athletic than you, you have to play twice as hard as them to stay in the game.”
Althoff gave up a 3 to Hawks senior Jacob Bircher in the middle of the third quarter, to cut the lead to 42-29, but held them scoreless for nearly seven minutes until 4:31 remained in the game.
Althoff built a 69-29 lead on a 16-3 outburst filled with second-chance lay-ups and outside field goals.
“Our defense in the second half confined them and didn’t give them the angle,” Lieb said.
Gibault scored 11 points in the second half with four in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a good experience for our kids to go play this type of game,” Lieb said. “Regardless of the score, our kids were still guarding and getting in the passing lanes. That goes to the kids. They did a great job.”
Althoff earned its second win in as many nights, and has beaten Gibault three consecutive seasons.
“In every game, you play against an opponent, but you also play against yourself,” Lieb said. “If you can’t get yourself up to play, you might let yourself or your teammates down when it really counts in March.”