St. Anthony ends drought against BMD
Balanced scoring, defensive effort produces 57-47 win

EFFINGHAM – It has been quite some time since the Effingham St. Anthony boy's basketball program won a game against Breese Mater Dei.

In fact no one close to the program could come up with the date/year of the last victory over the Knights.

However long of a losing streak it has been, that skid is now over.

Defensively the Bulldogs have been strong all season and on Friday night they came up even stronger in all four quarters as they forced mistakes and turnovers.

Coach Cody Rincker saw his club improve to 17-2 on the season with a 57-47 win over Mater Dei in one of the few games played in the ABV coverage area after the severe winter weather struck overnight.

“We were trying to figure out when was the last time we have beaten them. But it has been a significant amount of years,” said Coach Rincker. “We haven't beaten them or even competed with them for a long time. So it definitely feels nice to get the win.”

The Bulldogs got important contributions by committee, which has been the case for the 2017-18 season.

Senior forward Adam Levitt led the Bulldogs with 18-points, including nine-points in the fourth quarter.

Alex Beesley tossed in 16-points in the win and Alex Deters added 13.

Levitt and Deters both delivered big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as St. Anthony held off Mater Dei late in the game.

Coach Ron Schadegg's Knights slipped to 7-9 on the season against a rugged schedule of games as an independent.

Six-foot-one senior guard Drew Tonnies led the Knights with 13-points while 6-foot-2 senior Blake Gebke added 10.

In what turned out to be a defensive struggle between two physical teams, St. Anthony made better use of their offense by getting an early lead and never giving it up.

While neither team shot the ball well, St. Anthony took better care of the basketball as they committed just 11-turnovers compared to 17 from the Knights.

When the visitors weren't turning the ball over late in the game, they couldn't get the ball to fall in the fourth quarter when the door was open for a comeback.

“It's been kind of our problem every game, its been either not valuing the basketball or not being able to hit shots,” said Coach Schadegg. “We play hard, we play good defense but we just have to get a little bit better on offense. We have to get guys that want to shoot and are confident to shoot. We just have to try to keep making progress. The kids are playing hard and you can't fault the effort.”

Both teams established early on that this was going to be a war.

With St. Anthony playing a tough man-to-man defense and BMD using a bothersome zone defense with pressure, the offenses took a beating.

Mater Dei's only lead of the contest occurred in the opening minute as Gebke scored on an early drive to the basket.

He and Tonnies each added scores early.

But the Knights also committed five of their turnovers in the first quarter, leading to a lead for the hosts at the end of the quarter.

Beesley scored five-points in the quarter and his 3-pointer from the left corner gave the Bulldogs a 9-6 advantage.

St. Anthony grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds in the frame with both producing points.

Both rebounds were from Deters with his second one on a tip-in gave St. A a 13-11 at the end of the first.

Levitt hit a 3-pointer to start the second quarter but Mater Dei rallied to tie the game one final time, going on an 8-0 run which was its best of the night.

A rebound basket by 6-foot-3 senior Lucas Theising was followed by a pair of 3-pointer from Tonnies and sophomore Caleb Zurliene.

Both came on set plays and both were knocked down from the right corner.

When Zurliene found the mark, the game was tied at 21-21 with 2:21 left before the half.

But the hosts quickly responded, closing the half with a pair of big plays by Deters to give themselves a lead to the break.

Deters nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing with :38 left.

During the Mater Dei next possession after a timeout, Deters stole an inbound pass and flipped the ball to senior point guard Cade Walsh who raced to the other end for a fast break lay in that gave the Bulldogs a 26-21 lead at intermission.

That turnover was the Knights' 10th of the half as they had three consecutive turnovers to close the quarter.

There is an old saying about keeping the opposition “at arms length”, sort of like a boxer would do.

The Bulldogs kept Mater Dei that way for the rest of the game.

The Knights never made the kind of runs that would produce a road win as St. Anthony never lost its composure.

Mater Dei extended their zone pressure and even went man-to-man late in the game but they couldn't get close.

“They (Mater Dei) have so much length and physicality, so it took everyone on the floor playing their role,” said Coach Rincker. “It's actually great to see a team like that this time of the year to give us an idea about how to deal with teams that can extend their defense. I thought we did a good job handling it for the most part.”

Beesley scored seven of his points in the third quarter on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc on a pass from Deters and then a pair of shots in consecutive possessions that forced a Mater Dei timeout.

He rebounded his own miss on the first try and then took a pass from Deters after a steal for a fast break lay in and a 34-25 spread with 4:35 left.

Mater Dei got to within four (34-30) after a rebound bucket by Gebke and a conventional three-point play by Theising.

However St. Anthony answered once more with a run (6-0) with two baskets by Levitt and a nice reverse lay in by Deters for a 40-30 lead.

The Knights never got closer than nine-points the rest of the contest.

“I thought the game was kind of sloppy early but it was forced sloppiness. Two teams competing wanting to win,” said Coach Rincker. “But in the third quarter we took care of the basketball better and we got some big stops and timely buckets to extend the lead.”

St. Anthony could have expanded on the lead in a much better fashion but they committed five fourth quarter turnovers and hit just 3-of-7 foul shots in the final minutes.

As it turned out the Knights, who solved their turnover problem (just one in the fourth quarter) couldn't make the shots that they needed to rally.

Mater Dei was just 5-for-16 in the final minutes, and 0-of-5 from the 3-point line.

St. Anthony managed to shoot the ball a bit better on the night as Coach Rincker's club hit 22-of-50 from the floor (44 percent) while the Knights ended up 18-of-43 (41.8 percent).

The Bulldogs held a 27-26 rebounding edge.

Breese Mater Dei will jump right back into action next week with a game against Granite City at the annual Nashville Invitational Tournament.

“Credit to them (St. Anthony) they are a very good basketball team and well coached and they did a great job tonight,” said Coach Schadegg. “I think a lot of it (fourth quarter) was shot selection. Sometimes we just take some poor shots. We just got to find a way to grind this out the rest of the season. We are going to keep going and keep trying. These are great kids and they play hard.”

Effingham St. Anthony will play next Friday, January 19 at National Trail Conference rival Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg before taking part in the annual conference tournament.

The Bulldogs are the defending tournament champions and have won 21 of the tournaments in its long history.

“I feel like at any given time that we have five guys out there that can score the basketball, and five guys that can handle the basketball,” said Coach Rincker. “We also have any five guys that can defend. It makes us a well-rounded team and that helps when you play a team like Mater Dei."

Breese Mater Dei
Effingham St. Anthony
Breese Mater Dei (47) – Goebel 1 0 0-0 2, Schadegg 1 0 0-0 2, Rensing 1 0 0-0 2, Jasper 0 0 0-0 0, Toennies 4 1 2-2 13, Zurliene 0 1 0-0 3, Theising 2 0 3-6 9, Schuchman 1 0 0-0 2, Foppe 0 0 0-0 0, Dant 0 0 0-0 0, Koerkenmeier 2 0 0-0 4, Gebke 3 0 4-4 10, Haake 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-16, 3FG-2, FT-9-12, PF-14.

Effingham St. Anthony (57)
– Walsh 2 0 1-3 5, Deters 3 2 1-2 13, Ludwig 0 0 0-0 0, Levitt 4 2 4-6 18, Nuxoll 1 0 1-2 3, Beesley 5 2 0-0 16, Runge 1 0 0-0 2, Dust 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-16, 3FG-6, FT-7-13, PF-15.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.