Wesclin rallies past Rockets
Warriors make key plays late in title game win; Gibault tops DQ for third
OKAWVILLE - The Wesclin Warriors got the job done when the game was on the line on Saturday night in the title game of the Okawville Invitational Tournament.

Defensively they made the key stops in the final minutes and offensively they made the plays that resulted in photos being taken with a championship trophy.

When they missed two late free throws trying to extend their slim advantage, they came up with two huge offensive rebounds.

Despite their own flaws, Wesclin grabbed that elusive championship award as they outlasted the hosts in a closely played contest between two state tournament contenders.

Coach Brent Brede's club dug down deep to preserve a late one-point lead and then made enough free throws in the final minutes to edge the host Rockets, 50-45 in front of a large crowd at the O-Rena in Okawville.

With Okawville having possession with just over three minutes to play and Wesclin clinging to a 44-43 lead, the Warriors guarded the Rockets in the half court for nearly a minute and a half.

They eventually came up with a defensive stop and, more importantly, the defensive rebound.

Then two different times in the final minute, the Warriors missed key free throw attempts but managed to out work the Rockets for the precious offensive rebounds.

When it came down to clinching the championship, Wesclin hit 5-of-6 from the line to get the victory.

In a battle of two very familiar foes with a long history of competition, Coach Brede's team got its first win over Okawville since the 2015-16 season.

“The stops we got were really big, we had two big defensive possessions where we guarded for what seemed like a half an hour and we ended up getting that stop,” said Coach Brede. “The back-breaker for them is we missed the free throws but we were able to secure the offensive rebounds. That was no fault to Okawville, it was just kind of lucky on our part.”

The Warriors went inside in the first half but trailed the Rockets by seven at the intermission.

When they came out for the second half, they moved their offensive to an outside assault.

Six-foot-three senior Justin Kellogg led the Warriors with 14-points that included four 3-pointers, two of which came in the third quarter run, as Wesclin got a lead after trailing the Rockets 24-17 at the break.

Three other Wesclin players; junior forward Nate Brede, and seniors' Hunter Ottensmeier and Mick Stephens, scored nine-points apiece.

Six-foot-four senior guard Brandon Courtney added eight-points for Wesclin, including a pair of 3-pointers in that outside third quarter onslaught that gave the club a 34-30 lead with 2:04 left in the stanza.

“We didn't hit many (shots) in the first half. But we hit some huge 3's in the second half,” said Coach Brede.

Coach Jon Kraus' Okawville club was paced by 5-foot-10 senior guard Payten Harre with 13-points and 6-foot-7 senior forward Luke Hensler.

Junior guard Wyatt Krohne added eight-points for the Rockets, including a big 3-pointer that gave Okawville a 40-34 advantage in the early going of the fourth quarter.

It closed a 10-0 run that appeared to give Okawville the space they needed to pick up the tournament title.

One of the issues the Rockets had on this night was the free throw line.

Not only did they not get there often, they weren't very successful when they arrived at that stripe.

Okawville was only 3-of-9 overall and they missed a pair of charities at the end of the 10-0 run that could have extended that advantage.

Instead the Warriors came right back and took the lead.

Kellogg scored his final five points on a 3-point bomb from the left wing and a rebound bucket with 3:55 left to give Wesclin a 41-40 edge.

Six-foot-two senior guard Caleb Frederking scored five-points in the game and his only 3-pointer of the night found the mark to give Okawville its final lead with 3:18 remaining.

Ottensmeier came up with a pair of big plays in the fourth, hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing and also grabbing one of the missed free throws by his teammate Stephens with under a minute left.

Nate Brede finished off the Rockets by canning 3-of-4 free throws in the final :26.2.

“They made some good defensive stops. You have to give them credit,” said Coach Kraus. “We were down one and we could run some clock and I was okay with that. They (Wesclin) had a little bit of momentum. I think maybe we were a little tired and we didn't get as low on the block like we wanted. For the most part the kids executed what we wanted and I don't have a whole lot of beefs. It was a great high school basketball game. It was one of those games that could have went either way.”

The Rockets can look at several glaring factors in the loss.

Wesclin pounded the glass, holding a 29-15 edge in rebounds.

After picking up four first quarter second chance rebounds, Okawville went three quarters with just one offensive board.

Okawville didn't take full advantage of the Warriors 10-turnovers, especially the five first quarter miscues by the guests.

The Rockets led just 9-6 after one period of play as they missed 10 field goal attempts and all three of their free throws.

“There were a lot of things that we didn't finish early in the game. Buckets around the rim, bunnies that we didn't make. Those sometimes go unnoticed at the end of the games and those are the things that we stress to our guys that those are championship points and those are plays you have to make,” said Coach Kraus. “We missed them throughout the game, not just at the end.”

Hensler had his best run of the game during the second quarter as the Rockets got him the ball near the goal and he did the rest.

He scored nine points, with four buckets in the paint and a free throw, that included a score on a nice lob pass assist from Krohne to give Okawville a 20-14 lead.

But the Warriors limited his output in the second half, holding him to just one made field goal in the final 16-minutes.

“We just did our best in the second half to stay behind him (Hensler) to maybe try and have him score over the top of us,” said Coach Brede. “As opposed to trying to front him and have them lob it to him. He is really long and athletic, he is a tough matchup.”

Okawville junior forward Lane Schilling scored in a paint and Harre hit two free throws to close out the second quarter with the Rockets up seven.

Wesclin finished 17-of-36 from the floor (47.2 percent) and 8-of-20 from the 3-point line.

The hosts ended up 19-of-40 (47.5 percent) and 4-of-12 from downtown.

“You have to make free throws and you have to finish them (shots around the basket) and we didn't do that,” said Coach Kraus. “They hit three or four big shots that changed the momentum of the game.”

The Rockets handled the ball about as well as possible in this sort of matchup, committing just two turnovers.

“This was a great high school basketball game. You are envious of the kids who get to play in a game like that and the fans to be able to watch it,” said Coach Brede, who saw his club improve to 17-2 on the season. “Both teams played great, I thought. It was just a great game. “What an atmosphere. Absolutely (this helps) everyone is looking towards the end of the year and towards the postseason and we still have a long way to go. But this is a great springboard for us into the last three or four weeks.”

Trenton Wesclin
Trenton Wesclin (50) – Rakers 0 0 1-2 1, Stephens 1 1 4-7 9, Courtney 1 2 0-1 8, Ottensmeier 3 1 0-0 9, Kellog 1 4 0-0 14, Brede 3 0 3-4 9.
2FG-9, 3FG-8, FT-8-14, PF-9.

Okawville (45)
– Harre 4 1 2-3 13, L. Frederking 0 0 0-0 0, C. Frederking 1 1 0-2 5, Aubel 3 0 0-2 6, Krohne 1 2 0-0 8, Hensler 5 0 1-2 11, Schilling 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-15, 3FG-4, FT-3-9, PF-15.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.
The Hawks, who have struggled this season finding wins, picked up a third place win over the Indians to finish 2-2 for the week and 5-15 overall.

Coach Dennis Rueter had three players in double-figures in scoring in the contest.

Karson Huels topped the club with 18-points while Logan Doerr and Josh Besserman added 15 and 14.

The Hawks held off Du Quoin by hitting 18-of-26 from the foul line.

Du Quoin (8-11) got 21-points from junior guard Josh Heape in the loss while sophomore Lamontay Daughtery added 11-points for Coach Justin Barrington's squad.

Du Quoin
Waterloo Gibault
Du Quoin (58) – Daughtery 3 1 2-4 11, Heape 7 1 4-4 21, Stewart 3 0 2-2 8, Pursell 3 0 3-4 9, Woodside 2 0 3-4 7, Smith 1 0 0-1 2, Winters 0 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-19, 3FG-2, FT-14-19, PF-24.

Waterloo Gibault (66)
– Sweeney 1 0 0-0 2, Kohnz 0 0 0-0 0, Huels 4 1 7-9 18, Doerr 2 2 5-8 15, Altadonna 1 1 2-3 7, Adams 1 0 0-0 2, Kesler 1 2 0-0 8, Besserman 5 0 4-5 14.
2FG-15, 3FG-6, FT-18-25, PF-18.

Fouled Out
– Daughtery - Du Quoin.
Technical Fouls
– None.