By ERIC X. VICCARO
PARK HILLS — The Ste. Genevieve High School boys’ basketball team faced a pair of challenges last week.
The Dragons played Farmington and Festus on back-to-back days at the 65th Annual Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament.
Ste. Genevieve head coach Robert Coleman thought the team learned a valuable lesson taking on such tough foes as the Knights and Tigers.
“I think the guys realize they have to play at a high level for four quarters,” Coleman said, “and we didn’t do that against Farmington and Festus.”
Farmington knocked off Ste. Genevieve 78-62, sending the Dragons to the consolation bracket on Wednesday versus Festus.
“We played Farmington, and we were able to see a lot of other teams in our conference play,” Coleman stated. “(Playing in the tournament) It gave us a chance to see where we were at, and match-ups.”
Festus eliminated Ste. Genevieve from the tournament, winning 75-62. The Tigers eventually earned fifth place in the 15-team event, defeating DeSoto, 63-46, on Thursday.
Coleman said Festus’ played a stout 1-2-2 zone, which caused Ste. Genevieve problems.
Ste. Genevieve moved the ball better during the fourth quarter versus Festus, and they attacked the rim more — resulting in a 24-point salvo.
However, it was too little too late as the Tigers already had built up a 51-21 lead with 5:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Festus was ahead 19-10 by the end of the first quarter, and the Tigers outscored the Dragons 26-9 in the second frame for a healthy 45-19 halftime cushion.
Ricky Hunter paced all Dragons with 21 points, all on seven 3-pointers. Aiden Boyer dropped in a season-best 20 points, including 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Blake Morganthaler chipped in with seven.
Boyer also grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Logan Trollinger and Anthony Nash both dished off four assists. Trollinger also had four steals, and Nash deflected three Festus passes while on defense.
Cole Rickermann, Collin Weinhaus and Connor Westhoff all scored in double figures for Festus, with 19, 16 and 13 points, respectively.