The Ste. Genevieve Dragons Boys’ Basketball Team (1-1) had their eyes set on the finals of the Sullivan Bank It Championship on Thursday, but to get there, they needed to defeat the Potosi Trojans (1-0). The Trojans kept it close throughout, but thanks to great shooting in the second half, the Dragons came out on top 62-53.
The Dragons got their first win of the season Monday night, narrowly escaping the first round of the tournament with a 66-65 victory over Battle. The Dragons’ Thursday night matchup would be equally as challenging in the Potosi Trojans, a team that has been evenly matched against St. Genevieve in recent years, splitting the series 2-2 since the 2017-18 season.
It was clear this game would be another close one straight from the tip-off, as both teams came out shooting the ball well, but it was the Trojans who closed the first quarter with a 15-13 lead. The second quarter saw the Dragons improve on the defensive end and snatch back the lead heading into half time up 26-23. It was Junior Rudy Flieg who led the way for the Dragons in the first half, scoring 10 of their 26 first-half points on five shots from the field. Senior Anthony Nash contributed to the scoring as well, putting up seven points and knocking down one of the Dragons’ two three-pointers of the half.
The second half saw Ste. Genevieve pad their lead, thanks to a massive 20-point third quarter. The Trojans weren’t going out without a fight, as they began to chip away at the Dragons lead in the fourth, but despite a 21-point fourth-quarter , Ste. Genevieve was able to hang on for a 62-53 win.
Following the game, Head Coach Rob Coleman following the game said the Dragons’ defense was the key to getting back into a game .
“Potosi came out firing on all cylinders,” Coleman said. “Our defense did a great job of pressuring and getting turnovers that led to offense.”
Defense was the name of the game for the Dragons, and the individual defensive efforts from Nash and Blake Morganthaler were an essential piece to that puzzle. Morganthaler led the team in steals with five, while also finishing second in scoring for the Dragons with nine on 3-of-9 shooting. Nash finished the game with four steals, and he managed to contribute four assists and seven points as well.
For Morganthaler, the Dragons’ effort in practice led to the team’s semi-finals victory.
“I think our team has been working really hard during practices and preparing well for our games,” Morganthaler said. “We have been working really hard on the defensive end and have a great offense with lots of guys who can hit shots.”
While defense was a big reason for Ste. Genevieve’s Thursday night success, the scoring output from Flieg was just as crucial to the Dragons. Flieg finished the game with a double-double, leading all scorers with 21 points while not missing a single shot, going 8-for-8 from the field and bringing down 10 rebounds. Flieg managed to dish out three assists and had a block and a steal on the night as well.
The Dragons, now 2-1, will have a chance to play for the Sullivan Bank It Championship on Friday night when they play the Farmington Knights (1-0).