By ERIC X. VICCARO
The Ste. Genevieve High School boys’ basketball team had been desperately searching for teams to play in the aftermath of recent poor weather.
The Dragons scheduled regional powerhouse Cape Notre Dame Regional on Monday, Feb. 24.
Ste. Genevieve (15-8 record) stayed stride for stride with Cape Notre Dame early; however, the Bulldogs went on a 19-0 run during the second quarter to take control — and eventually beat the Dragons 69-43 at Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium.
“We struggled to stop their big (Caleb LeGrand) inside,” said Ste. Genevieve head coach Robert Coleman regarding the Bulldogs’ scoring barrage. “Some of this was because Rudy Flieg got in foul trouble, and didn’t play in the second quarter. He was set too deep (in the post).
The Dragons then defeated visiting Perryville, 63-32, in their final tune-up before the postseason.
Coleman was pleased to play a team the quality of Cape Notre Dame, and finish the regular season with that 31-point win over the Pirates.
“It was very good to get a win with the last game of the season,” Coleman said. “Hopefully, it gets our confidence back up. I think playing South Iron and Notre Dame prepared us. Even though they were losses, it allowed us to raise our level of play.”
The Dragons are slowly rounding back into defensive form just in time for the postseason, paraphrasing Coleman.
Landon Rose was the lone Ste. Genevieve to score in double digits with 12 points while Ricky Hunter was held to seven.
Both Anthony Nash and Aiden Boyer collected five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass for Nash. Boyer distributed four assists. Logan Trollinger had four pass deflections, and four Dragons snagged two steals apiece.
Hunter drove the baseline for two points, giving Ste. Genevieve a 29-23 lead with 5:47 remaining in the second half.
That’s when the bottom dropped out for the Dragons. Cape Notre Dame, fueled by LeGrand inside, went on a 19-0 run during the next 4:24. By halftime, the Bulldogs were up 47-31.
The Dragons’ struggles continued in the second half with single-digit scoring outputs in both the third and fourth quarters — and Cape Notre Dame slowly billowed its cushion.