The Colmone Classic saw pivotal position games Wednesday as the Hall and St. Bede boys basketball teams won at Hall High School in Spring Valley.
Hall blew out Stark County 63-39 to go 2-0 in the White Pool and St. Bede kept a late Bureau Valley surge at bay for a 61-54 victory.
The victory over the Rebels puts Hall in championship game contention. The Red Devils will face Fieldcrest, which also is 2-0, at 8 p.m. Friday with the winner advancing to the title game.
The Hall-Fieldcrest winner will face Mendota, which finished pool play 3-0 after a 74-41 victory over the Hall JV on Wednesday.
“Anytime you play Fieldcrest they play great defense, so we’re going to have to survive how they begin the game defensively,” Red Devils coach Mike Filippini said. “I think today was as close to a complete game as we played all year. We’ve played good halves, we’ve played terrible and then good halves. Tonight was as close to four quarters as we could get.”
The Bruins are 2-1 and will be in Saturday’s third-place game against the loser of the Hall-Fieldcrest game.
St. Bede 61, Bureau Valley 54
The first three minutes of the game seemed like it was going to be a defensive battle with little scoring as neither team scored but both had steals.
After the feeling out process, the offenses got going and the fans in the stands witnessed what the Bruins and the Storm have been doing early in the season — scoring.
St. Bede sophomore Jarret Olson knocked down four 3-pointers in the game and finished with a game-high 23 points, while Bureau Valley juniors Parker Neuhalfen and Tommy Johnston scored more than half of the Storm’s points.
“Johnston and Neuhalfen are pretty difficult to guard,” St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said. “I don’t know what they average, but I know one got 16 and the other got 15, so that’s 31 of their points. We figured that looking at the box scores, they get half of their points and over half their shots. We played it that way and tried to make the other people beat us.”
Olson’s skill behind the arc proved superior and helped the Bruins in a critical time in the game.
The Storm’s David Miller connected on a layup on one of Josh Mead’s game-high six assists to cut the Bruins’ lead to 33-32 with 5:25 left in the third.
A 3-pointer from Olson started an 11-0 St. Bede run, which featured another Olson long ball and one free throw. The other four points came on two fast-break layups by Justin Shaw. The run gave the Bruins a 44-32 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
“We held the ball quite long in quite a few possessions — probably two minutes or so without turning it over and getting a decent shot,” Kilmartin said. “I was really proud of the kids down the stretch because we played really well early in the season against Byron and Kewanee over in Oregon and then we had 13 days off (before playing Mendota on Monday).”
With a 12-point deficit, the Storm tried to battle back as Neuhalfen and Johnston came alive.
Neuhalfen scored eight of his 16 points in four minutes to help pull the Storm within four at 49-45.
A Kilmartin timeout halted the resurgence as the defense returned with intensity and pick-pocketed BV four times in the remaining two minutes for quick fast-break layups.
“I just think our effort wasn’t sustained for 32 minutes,” Storm coach Jason Marquis said. “Maybe we didn’t work hard in stretches, but I thought we lacked a little passion during certain stretches of the game. We didn’t execute well enough to get things done.”
Although Johnston hit two 3-point shots in the last 40 seconds of the game, the Bruins’ transition game was too much and closed out the game.
Hall 63, Stark County 39
Filippini had been waiting for a shooting performance like this from his team from the beginning of the season.
“We have the capability to shoot like that, but we haven’t done it all year,” Filippini said. “We made 10 3-pointers — Ian (Trevier) had six and AJ (Gaeta) had four — I think we probably hit for 6-of-7 which is pretty nice too. We have good shooters, we just haven’t really shot the ball.”
The first two baskets of the game were 3-pointers by Gaeta. He had one more in the first quarter and was then helped by Trevier, who hit back-to-back 3s at the three-minute mark and made another with one minute remaining in the opening quarter.
Trevier made three more without missing a single attempt as he scored a game-high 18 points. Miguel Villareal had 16 and Gaeta added 14.
Hall (4-4) didn’t win the game simply by shooting as the defense harassed the Rebels (0-4) to cause 18 turnovers. Senior Collin Aimone had three of the Red Devils’ 11 steals.
“We have a really great point guard starter and backup where both are probably our two best defenders,” Filippini said. “We can stick Taggart (Venegas) on the kid and run him until he’s ragged and then pull him out and do the same thing to Collin.”
Venegas contributed on offense as well as he had a game-high six assists — one less than Stark County had as a team.
The Red Devils led 33-26 at halftime and 52-33 after three quarters.
Mendota 74, Hall JV 41
The Trojans officially stamped their ticket for Saturday’s championship game with a rout of the Hall JV team.
Mendota outscored the Red Devils 21-7 in the first quarter to establish early dominance and later had a 29-12 advantage in the third quarter.
Trojan coach Jan Thompson went to his bench in the fourth quarter and was still able to outscore the JV team, 10-6.
Junior James Carroll scored 25 points and classmate Ryan Reeder added 22 for the Trojans.
The Red Devils were led by sophomore Jake Merkel’s 13 points.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.