Althoff sophomore Jordan Goodwin was a man among boys Friday at the Chick-fil-A Classic at Belleville East.
The 6-foot-3 Goodwin scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, 12 on the offensive end, as the Crusaders defeated McCluer 69-55.
“Coach (Greg) Leib had told me before the game started that they were physical and he told me I had to set the tone by going to the glass, and I just did it,” Goodwin said. “It’s all about who wants it. My size (helps), but it’s just about who wants it more.”
Althoff, despite going 6-for-20 from the free-throw line, improved to 16-2 and could win the tournament with a victory Saturday over St. Louis University High. Another performance like the one Goodwin provided against McCluer (5-7) might do the job.
“Rebounding is 99 percent will and 1 percent technique, and (Goodwin) did a great job,” said Leib, who also credited junior Tarkus Ferguson for his rebounding and sophomore C.J. Coldon for his defense on the perimeter.
Junior Brendon Gooch scored nine points for the Crusaders, while Coldon had nine. Althoff led 52-30 in the third quarter, but saw its lead trimmed to 60-50 with 4:46 to play. The Crusaders closed the game on a 9-2 run.
McCluer coach Brent Rueter saw enough of Goodwin to last a while.
“He’s a very good player. Very physical. A good athlete,” Rueter said. “He’s hard to contain. We didn’t do a good job boxing out tonight. That’s what our kids have to be willing to do. I don’t think anybody stepped up to the challenge of boxing him out, and if you don’t box him out, he’s hungry to get rebounds.”
The Comets’ cause was hindered by foul trouble on guard Ryan Warren-Hogue. The 5-6 sophomore was whistled for his third personal with 35.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and he sat out the entire second quarter. Warren-Hogue finished with 14 points, three coming on a halfcourt shot that cut McCluer’s deficit to 60-45 after three quarters.
“C.J. Coldon did a nice job on that No. 4,” Leib said, referring to Warren-Hogue. “He’s like the Allen Iverson of North County. That kid can shoot it up, he can take it in, he’s fearless. I’m just glad he got in foul trouble. ... They’re a pretty good ballclub.”
Rueter would have liked to have Warren-Hogue on the floor more regularly. His spirited play helped the Comets rally from 11 points behind in the fourth quarter to defeat Belleville West in the first round of the tournament Tuesday.
“Getting in foul trouble kind of messed up his game,” Rueter said. “Obviously, we’re going to struggle when he’s not in there. We’ve got to have people stand up and handle it in case he gets in foul trouble or gets hurt. We’ve got to learn to deal with that.”
Sophomore Ryan Neil led McCluer with 16 points.
St. Louis U. High 61, Belleville East 58: The Lancers trailed by 13 points with 3:46 to play, but twice cut their deficit to two before falling in the final seconds.
Junior Matt Nester made one of two free throws for the Junior Billikens (9-7) with 9.8 seconds left, leaving the door open for the Lancers (6-11). But sophomore Rico Sylvester’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was well short.
“SLUH’s a very good team,” East coach Abel Schrader said. “I was happy with our fight, certainly toward the end. In the first half, I didn’t think we made enough shots, even though I thought we got some pretty good attempts at the basket and some pretty good shots from the perimeter. We just didn’t make enough.”
The Lancers trailed 16-8 after one quarter, 29-23 at halftime and 43-35 after three quarters. After sophomore B.J. Wilson made two free throws to put the Junior Billikens ahead 52-39, it looked like it was over for East.
A 9-1 run followed, however, and sophomore Javon Pickett’s 3-pointer cut SLUH’s advantage to 53-48 with 2:11 to play.
East fell behind 58-51 on a free throw by senior Hunter Schmidt with 1:28 left, but junior Drew Millas popped a 3-pointer and senior Brady Schanuel had a tip-in to make it 58-56 with 36 seconds to play.
Nester made two free throws to make it 60-56 before Schanuel countered with a basket in the lane with 9.8 seconds left. East, however, couldn’t complete the comeback.
“The boys really held their composure late,” SLUH coach Erwin Claggett, of Venice, said. “We probably gave up a couple of shots we didn’t want to give up. But we handled the pressure well and got to the free-throw line. We got key stops when we needed to, but give them credit for making a run at us.”
Pickett topped East with 17 points. Schanuel (13), Sylvester (12) and Millas (11) also reached double figures. Sophomore Brandon McKissic led all scorers with 20 points, while Schmidt had 18 and Wilson had 12.
“We’re showing progress as a team and we’re playing better together,” Schrader said. “We’ve got eight games after (Saturday) night. We’ve got to continue to work at it. We enjoy being around these guys even though it’s been tough so far.”