Ugly Wins are better than Pretty Losses might be “coach speak” to many, but on Thursday night, that saying held true for the Lancer Faithful.
The “Ugly Win” was picked up by St. Pius X, who defeated the Brentwood Eagles 52-45 in the 3rd Place game of the Valley Park Tournament. According to Lancer Head Coach Chris Miller, the second half was drastically different than the first.
“In the first half, and particularly the second quarter, we were playing well, both offensively and defensively,” said Coach Miller. “But for the second straight game, we let up on our opponent after halftime, and this time, our opponent was a little more skilled and disciplined. We are fortunate to come out with a win…but we will take it!”
The Lancer defense was once again giving their opponents fits as they held the Eagles to just 17 points at the half. The Lancer offense was clicking for a second consecutive game, this time fueled by Junior Patrick Flanagan, who tallied 12 points in the first half of the game. At halftime, the Lancers looked to be rolling towards another blowout win, leading 33-17.
The second half opened with the Eagles cranking up the pressure defensively on the St. Pius. Poor shooting (33%) and five turnovers allowed Brentwood’s offense to chip away at the lead. The Eagles shot perfectly from the field in the 3rd quarter (7-7), including three big 3-pointers. At the end of the third quarter, the Lancers were clinging to a 40-35 lead.
St. Pius X entered the fourth quarter on the ropes as they witnessed momentum swing heavily in the direction of Brentwood during the previous quarter. However, the Lancer defense that seemed dormant during the second half, stepped up in a big way as Junior James Smith, took two key charges in the fourth quarter that kept the Eagles off the board and eventually fouled out one of their most dangerous scorers. For the game, St. Pius X took five total charges, which is something that Coach Miller loves to see.
“Charges are the ultimate sacrifice that a teammate can make for his team,” said Coach Miller. “Charges also kill momentum and fire up kids on the bench. It just shows that our guys are willing to do that for each other and that’s only going to make us better down the road.”
Killing momentum is exactly what happened as the Eagles were never able to get closer than four points to the Lancers in the game. The Lancers iced the game behind two big free throws each from Junior John Whitman and Sophomore Jonas Andrews to close out the contest and give the Lancers a 52-45 win.
Whitman led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Flanagan had a solid all-around game with 14 points, five assists and five steals. Andrews rounded out the top scorers with eight points and three assists.
St. Pius X improves to 2-2 on the season and travel to Affton on Tuesday, December 6th to take on the Cougars.