Briarcrest Christian senior Cedric Henderson scored eight of his 26 points in the third overtime Thursday as the Saints outlasted Mater Dei 64-58 at the 57th annual Mater Dei Christmas Tournament.
Playing their eighth game in a little more than two weeks, the battered and bruised Saints rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit, then watched as the 6-foot-5 Henderson — an all-region selection in the talent-rich Memphis area a year ago — took over in the third overtime.
With Corban Smith and Henderson scoring in the opening 30 seconds of the final overtime period, the Saints took a four-point lead against a Mater Dei team that finally fell short despite a brilliant 24-point performance by senior Lucas Theising.
The win pushes Briarcrest to 3-0 in pool play and a win away from advancing into the championship game. The Saints (16-0) will play Sacred Heart-Griffin in their final pool game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Mater Dei falls to 1-2 in the tournament and 5-7 for the season.
“We’re exhausted. We played five games in our own tournament last week, and we’ll play five this week,” Saints coach John Harrington said. “We’ve got some kids that are banged up and bruised in that locker room. ... It was a great effort by these kids.”
It was also a great effort by the Knights, especially Theising. Playing in the Christmas tournament for the final time, the 6-3 senior was unstoppable in the first two quarters, scoring 18 of his 24 point as Mater Dei took a 27-26 lead into the intermission.
Theising’s play carried over to his teammates in the final two quarters and 12 minutes of overtime as teammates Devin Rensing, Drew Tonnies and Blake Gebke all made big plays in the second half. But it wasn’t enough.
“We’ve been looking for someone to step up into a leadership role, and Lucas did that tonight,” Knights coach Ron Schadegg said. “Even when we were down in the third overtime, he remained very positive in the timeouts, telling the rest of his teammates that they could do this.
I actually have a better feeling tonight then I did after a winning effort yesterday. Anytime a group of kids gives the kind of effort and competes like these kids did tonight, you have to be pleased and proud.”
The Saints had chances to win the game several times, but none was better than at the end of the first overtime. Smith was fouled with 0.3 seconds left, but with Schadegg calling two time outs to ice the shooter, Smith missed both free-throw attempts, sending the game on.
Ben Sivils then missed a shot at the end of the second overtime before Henderson took over in the third extra period.
“We just told him (Smith) that we had his back and to not worry about it. We were going to win the game,” Henderson said of the missed free throws. “We were tired, but we just found a way to win the game.”
Freshman Kennedy Chandler added 18 points for Briarcrest, while Sivils added 11.
Okawville 59, Central 52
Luke Hensler scored 19 points and Payten Harre added 15 — including six straight free throws — as the Rockets improved to 2-1 for the tournament with a win over rival Central.
Tyler Joest led Central (5-5) with 26 points, while Camden Wempe added 14. The Cougars are now 1-1 in pool play with two games Friday.
Nashville 56, Sacred Heart-Griffin 46
Nashville (9-3) survived a scoreless first quarter and rallied to beat the Cyclones in a Pool B game.
Bryson Bultman scored 19 points, while Carson Parker added 12 for the Hornets, who improve to 2-1 for the tournament.
Nashville will play Mater Dei at 6 p.m. Friday.
Okawville 51, Carlyle 37
Rockets junior Wyatt Krohne made 5 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc as Okawville (9-2) handed the Indians their first loss of the tournament.
Okawville (9-2), which saw a nine-point fourth quarter lead disappear in a loss to Highland on Wednesday, outscored Carlyle (5-7) 30-18 in the final two quarters to post the win.
Krohne led Okawville with 17 points, while junior Lane Schilling added 11. Carlyle senior Tyler Siever led all scorers with 19 points.
Nashville 50, Metro East Lutheran 38
Bryson Bultman scored 17 points, and sophomore Carson Parker added 10 as the Hornets evened their tournament record with a win over the Knights.
Mascoutah 43, Highland 41
The Indians (7-6) built a six-point lead, then withstood a furious Bulldogs rally to win the battle of Mississippi Valley Conference powers.
Jarred Johnson led Mascoutah with 10 points, while Blake Weiss added nine. Jake Kruse paced Highland (8-4) with 11 points, while Sam LaPorta added 10.