MARSEILLES — After a pool play loss to Mendota at the Colmone Classic last week kept them out of the title hunt, the St. Bede boys basketball team came into the Marseilles Holiday Tournament with the No. 1 seed and a championship trophy on their mind.
They got their redemption Saturday in the Marseilles’ title tilt with a 76-63 win over Kewanee.
“Coach told us before ‘You can’t get into many championship games, and when you do, leave everything on the floor.’ That’s definitely what we did tonight. They made a run in the fourth quarter and we fought it. We shot our free throws well,” said St. Bede senior Brad Groleau, who had a team-high 21 points and earned all-tournament status.
“After that loss we had to Mendota at the Colmone we really came together as a team. We’re getting better each game and really playing well. Everybody’s contributing and it’s really going well.”
Fellow Academy senior standouts Damin Smith, and Joe Pyszka also registered big games for the Bruins. Smith tallied 17 points and hauled in a team-best 10 rebounds, while Pyszka — an all-tournament pick — finished with 16 points and five rebounds.
“We started it in grade school, and we’re keeping it going” said Groleau of the offensive chemistry between the Bruins’ big three, who were junior high teammates at Peru Catholic. “We sometimes know where we’re at without seeing each other. When Damin gets his shot going it opens everything else up for us.”
“Sam (Lucas), Grant (Bosnich), and Bobby (Morrow) help pass us the ball and they drive really well to distribute it,” Groleau said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re supposed to score to help the team win and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
St. Bede (12-3) trailed 16-14 after the first quarter, but outscored the Boilermakers 24-18 over the next eight minutes.
Junior post player Ethan Duttlinger provided a second-quarter spark for the Bruins with nine points in the frame as St. Bede tooka 38-34 lead into halftime.
The Bruins used a 9-2 run early in the third quarter to create some breathing room with a pair of 3-pointers from Groleau and another long-ball from Lucas.
Groleau’s third 3-pointer of the third quarter pushed the lead into double digits at 52-40 with inside of two minutes left in the period and St. Bede led 52-44 entering the fourth.
Kewanee managed to trim the Academy advantage down to six points, 65-59, on a layup off a steal from Dalton Nuding with two minutes left in the game. But that was the closest the Boilermakers would come as Bosnich and Smith each knocked down 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch and Groleau and Pyszka provided a pair of baskets in the paint as St. Bede held on for the championship.
“I thought we had a great tournament overall. … I was very pleased with how we played. We had three guys who really did a lot of the scoring (Groleau, Pyszka, and Smith), but that’s not to say the rest of the team (didn’t contribute). They’re good defenders, Bobby Morrow is a great defender,” said St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin.
Tournament MVP Donovan Oliver led Kewanee with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Dayton Ince added 20 points for the Boilermakers.
Putnam County 48, Lexington 46
The Panthers survived a second-half scare from the Minutemen as they held on to claim third place.
Putnam County led 26-15 at half, and saw its lead dissolve in the third quarter as Lexington made a 20-10 push to pull to 36-35 after three. However, the Panthers were able to hold off the comeback in the down-to-the-wire conclusion
All-tournament selection Harold Fay led the way for PC with 14 points, while Xavier Warren and Cody Veronda added 11 points apiece.
Marquette 51, Midland 49
The Crusaders held on to an early lead despite being outscored 23-14 in the final quarter to win the 7th-place game.
All-tournament pick Curtiss Johnson led Marquette with 19 points and Elliot Kowalski finished with 12 points.
Leland-Earlville 55, Serena 39
The Panthers pounced on Serena early with a 16-8 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they cruised to victory in the 13-place contest.
Nolan Baumbach led L-E with 16 points. Clin Bomstad (12) and Danny Pfaff (10) joined him in double-digit scoring, while Andrew Walsh hauled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with seven points
LaMoille-Ohio 59, Gardner-South Wilmington 50
The Lions used a 22-point, 13-rebound effort from Brandon Morris to top the Panthers in the 15th-place game.
LaMoille-Ohio led 26-25 at halftime before outscoring G-SW33-25 in the second half.
Anthony Lovgren added 12 points and Julian Gonzalez had eight tallies for the co-op, which earned its second win of the season.
n Notes: Joining Groleau and Pyszka on the all-tournament team were Putnam County’s Harold Fay and Marquette’s Curtiss Johnson. Other all-tournament picks included Zane Noonan of Woodland, Blake Huseman of Dwight, Nick Varvil of Mendota, Jonny Meints from Lexington and Flanagan’s Matt Harrision.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.