MARSEILLES — Following Friday’s semifinal win at the Marseilles Holiday Tournament, St. Bede boys basketball coach Mike Kilmartin pointed out an interesting fact to his team.
In the tournament’s first three years of existence, the No. 1 seed has never won.
The No. 2-seeded Bruins hope it stays that way this year.
St. Bede — which was the No. 1 seed the last two years but did not win — rolled into today’s Marseilles Holiday Tournament title game as it had little problems dispatching No. 3 Lexington 54-41.
The Bruins (11-3) will meet top-seeded Kewanee (10-2) at 8 tonight for the title. The Boilermakers rallied to beat Putnam County 56-49 in Friday’s second semifinal.
It’s the first title game appearance for Kewanee and the second straight for SBA, which lost to PC in last year’s title game.
“It feels really good to be in the finals,” SBA senior Joe Pyszka said. “We were in the finals last year but got beat, so we’ve been telling ourselves, ‘Just focus on the next game’ and now we have just one more. We definitely want to get the win.”
St. Bede 54, Lexington 41
The Bruins took control early as they built a 10-4 lead and a 17-12 cushion after the first quarter.
Pyszka came up big in the first eight minutes as he scored 10 of SBA’s 17 points, while the Bruin defense held the Minutemen (10-5) to just four points in the game’s first 5 1/2 minutes.
St. Bede kept up the pressure in the second quarter as Lexington managed just four second-quarter points as the Bruins took a 29-16 cushion at half.
“I think (the four-point quarter) was a lot of our doing,” Kilmartin said. “I think we played good defense overall for most of the game. It was a good start.”
Lexington was able to keep the Bruins from pulling away, but the SBA lead never dipped below nine points in the second half.
Senior Brad Groleau scored a game-high 18 points for SBA, while Pyszka added 16 points and 10 rebounds. Damin Smith chipped in 11 points.
Kewanee 56, Putnam County 49
After the Panthers won in double overtime on Thursday, the defending champions nearly advanced to the title game.
Down by 10 at half, No. 5-seeded PC started the third quarter on a 6-0 run, and junior Harold Fay later tied the game at 34-34 when he converted a four-point play with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Following a free throw from Kewanee, Fay gave PC a 36-35 lead with a lay-in with 2:48 to go in the third.
He added a pull-up jumper in the lane and Sam Garland went 1-for-2 from the foul line to give PC a 39-35 advantage and to complete a quarter in which the Panthers outscored the Boilermakers 17-3.
Unfortunately for PC, fouls caught up to it in the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, Kewanee’s Dayton Ince made three free throws to pull it to 39-38, and a jumper from Donovan Oliver gave Kewanee the lead for good with 5:50 remaining.
The Boilermakers sealed the win from the foul line as they were 13-for-15 in the fourth quarter.
“We had an incredible third quarter and then we just kind of went stale offensively in the fourth,” PC coach Josh Nauman said. “We couldn’t get any shots to fall, and we didn’t score until about (3:33) left in the game.”
Kewanee was 18-for-21 from the foul line in the game, while PC was 5-for-26 from beyond the 3-point line.
Fay finished with a team-high 19 points and six rebounds for PC (9-6), while Xavier Warren added 16 points. Garland chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
The Panthers play Lexington for third place at 6:30 tonight.
Flanagan-Cornell 64, Marquette 47
The Crusaders built a 19-14 lead with 3:48 left in the second quarter, but the Falcons went on a 16-4 run to end the half. The run was part of a 29-8 spurt overall.
F-C (8-5) led by as many as 16 points midway through the third quarter, but Marquette (5-8) pulled to 44-36 after three quarters.
However, Marquette put F-C into the bonus late in the third quarter and the Falcons took advantage as they went 8-for-9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Elliot Kowalski scored a team-high 14 points for Marquette, while Curtiss Johnson added 13 points and six rebounds.
The Crusaders will play Tri-County Conference foe Midland for seventh place at 3:30 p.m. today.
Leland-Earlville 66, Gardner-South Wilmington 61
In the battle of the Panthers, L-E trailed by as many as 18 points, including 54-41 after three quarters.
However, L-E outscored G-SW 25-7 in the fourth quarter to secure the come-from-behind win.
A 3-point shot by L-E’s Tom Johnson with 1:20 left in the game gave it a lead that L-E held the final 80 seconds.
Andrew Walsh scored a game-high 19 points for L-E, while Johnson added 12 points.
With the win, L-E will play Little Ten Conference foe Serena at 10:30 this morning for 13th place.
Serena 52, LaMoille-Ohio 33
The Lions scored just 13 points in the first half, including four points in the second quarter as they fell to their LTC foe.
Julian Gonzalez scored a team-high 10 points for L-O, which plays G-SW in the 15th-place game at 9 this morning.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.