St. Anthony "survives" scare
Bulldogs improve to 29-3 as they edged past host Warriors
CASEY - The mantra of all teams in bracketed tournaments, especially in the postseason, is to “survive and advance.”

On Wednesday night at the 1A Casey-Westfield Sectional semifinals, Effingham St. Anthony did both.

The Bulldogs “survived” a tough shooting night and played nearly ten minutes of the first half with 6-foot-7 senior center Jaccob Dust on the bench with foul trouble.

They also weren't very good from the foul line, as they missed five consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter, and were just 9-of-18 for the game.

However, as it turned out, Coach Cody Rincker's club played very well in one big category.

The Bulldogs were exceptional defensively on the night as they “advanced” to the sectional championship game on Friday night with a 48-39 victory over the host Warriors in front of a near capacity crowd.

Effingham St. Anthony forced 14 Casey-Westfield turnovers, 10 of which came during the first half as the Bulldogs were able to keep an advantage.

Dust, after missing the entire second quarter, scored 14 of his game-high 17 points in the second half to go along with 13 rebounds as the Bulldogs improved to 29-3 on the season.

Kaden Fearday, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, delivered a pair of big 3-pointers and ended up with 10 points in the low scoring defensive struggle.

Senior's Jack Hoene and Aaron Webb added seven and six points respectively in the win while junior guard Logan Antrim also tossed in six points.

Kennan Walsh, a 6-foot junior guard, came off the bench and his lone basket in the second quarter rounded out the St. A scoring totals.

The points came the hard way as the Bulldogs struggled from the field, hitting just 18-of-46 overall, 3-of-6 from the arc to go with the issues at the charity stripe.

But the defense, something the program has always excelled at, saved the day and continued the season.

Casey-Westfield was just 16-of-39 from the floor and only 4-of-16 from the arc.

The turnovers, five each in the first two quarters, kept C-W from taking advantage of Dust being on the bench.

“I just trusted my guys. I didn't panic or get nervous. Obviously it wasn't something we had planned (Dust foul trouble) but we have played without Jaccob multiple times this year due to foul trouble and I have tremendous confidence in (reserve) Jack Elder to come in there and guard,” said Coach Rincker. “Elder is very capable of giving us great minutes. I think it speaks to our depth and our ability to trust each other.”

Six-foot-one junior guard Noah Livingston led the Warriors with 12 points, the only Warrior in double-figures on the night while two of his teammates; junior guard Dawson Dallape and 6-foot-6 junior Jackson Hills each added eight points in the defeat.

Coach Tom Brannan's Warriors ended their season at 23-8 but they didn't go down without a fight.

After falling behind early, Casey-Westfield managed to even the score three times in the first half.

Trailing 3-0 early, Dallape canned his first of two 3-pointers to tie the score.

The next tie came at 7-7 when Hills and Livingston both scored for C-W.

Fearday scored five points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer and a steal and fast break lay in.

Antrim hit the other 3-pointer for St. Anthony as Coach Rincker's team went ahead 13-9 with 1:38 left.

But Dust, who already had a foul next to his name in the book, picked up another foul in the lane on defense and went to the bench with 1:27 to go in the quarter.

Subsequently Livingston hit 1-of-2 free throws as the scoring for the quarter ended at 13-10 Bulldogs.

Junior guard Colin Branson hit a pair of 3-point shots for Casey-Westfield in the game for six points.

His first one to open the second quarter scoring evened the score for the third and final time.

Without Dust on the floor, Hoene scored on a short jumper near the baseline for a 15-13 lead.

The score was significant because neither team would score a point in the next 4:13 of play.

Turnovers by Casey-Westfield and missed field goal attempts by the Bulldogs highlighted a pretty rough stretch.

This played into Effingham St. Anthony's hands because Dust didn't play a second in the second quarter.

With him on the bench, Coach Rincker's club didn't relinquish the lead.

After Dallape broke the scoring drought for both teams with 1-of-2 free throws, St. A ended the half with a pair of baskets, one each by Webb and Walsh.

Webb scored on a drive for a reverse lay in and Walsh scored his only basket on a drive in a the lane for a left handed lay in.

Antrim closed the scoring with 1-of-2 free throws as the teams headed to the intermission with St. Anthony up 20-14.

With Dust on the bench for 9:27 of playing time, the Bulldogs still outscored C-W 7-5 for a six point lead.

Livingston scored a couple of quick baskets in the third quarter to cut into the Bulldogs lead.

When Branson hit his second 3-point bomb of the contest, the Warriors were on the move trailing just 24-21.

Dust, who came back into the game after a long rest, stepped up in the second half.

He scored seven of his points in the third quarter.

Fearday matched what he did in the first quarter as he hit a lay in on an inbounds pass and then nailed down a 3-pointer, with the help of a kind bounce, to close the third with St. Anthony up 34-23.

“I wasn't surprised that our defense was good. We practice a lot with Jaccob out so we can be ready if things happen,” said Coach Rincker. “Our biggest concern coming into tonight was they (C-W) were going to get hot and make 3's. It is their home gym and I was concerned that they were going to shoot better. But I think our length bothered them on some of their 3's, I think it took them out of their rhythm.”

As the fourth quarter commenced, it looked like a blowout was about to happen.

Dust opened the scoring after a C-W turnover as he found himself open in the lane and, with a spin move to the basket, threw down a two-handed dunk.

Another bucket by Dust and St. Anthony led 38-25 with 6:02 remaining.

However the Bulldogs had difficulty putting away Casey-Westfield.

Mainly due to five consecutive missed free throws, two of which were front ends of one-and-bonus chances.

“It (free throw shooting) is something we have to keep working on. We have some good shooters, we just have to go to the line with more confidence,” said Coach Rincker about the free throw issues.

This helped revive the Warriors as Coach Brannan saw his club gradually get back into the contest.

Senior guard Will Hosselton scored his only four points on the night on two baskets inside.

Branson hit a 3-pointer as Casey-Westfield outscored the Bulldogs, 12-3 during a nearly four minute stretch.

However, after missing the free throws, Coach Rincker's squad finally got some to fall by Hoene (3-of-4) and Webb (2-of-2) in the final minute.

The Warriors misfired on three consecutive 3-point shots, all of which were corralled by Dust as the Bulldogs held on to “advance.”

St. Anthony had beaten Casey-Westfield 48-42 back on February 21th in this gym and the rematch wasn't any easier.

Now it is on to the rematch everyone has been pointing towards.

A second game between Effingham St. Anthony and Moweaqua Central A&M will be for the sectional title and a trip to SIU Arena for the 1A Supersectional.

The two top ranked ABV 1A teams and state ranked clubs played at the Teutopolis Shootout back on February 15th with the Bulldogs winning 50-49.

“Lets play. I would play them tomorrow,” said Coach Rincker about playing a second game against Central A&M. “At this point of the season you are not going to change much. They (CAM) are a great basketball team. We were fortunate enough to sneak away with a win against them and I'm sure they haven't forgotten that. Lets go play and may the best team win.”

1A Casey-Westfield Sectional Semifinals
Casey-Westfield (23-8)
Effingham St. Anthony (29-3)

Casey-Westfield (39)
– Branson 0 2 0-0 6, Hosselton 2 0 0-0 4, Livingston 5 0 2-4 12, Dallape 1 2 1-2 8, Patrick 0 0 0-0 0, Stepina 0 0 0-0 0, Hills 4 0 0-0 8.
2FG-12, 3FG-4, FT-3-6, PF-19.
Effingham St. Anthony (48)
– Webb 2 0 2-3 6, Antrim 1 1 1-6 6, Hoene 2 0 3-4 7, Walsh 1 0 0-0 2, Elder 0 0 0-0 0, Fearday 2 2 0-0 10, Walk 0 0 0-0 0, Dust 7 0 3-5 17.
2FG-15, 3FG-3, FT-9-18, PF-7.
Fouled Out
– Hosselton - Casey-Westfield.
Technical Fouls
– None.