ST. JOSEPH — The shots won’t always fall for St. Joseph-Ogden. When they don’t, like in the Spartans’ 62-30 win against Chrisman on Saturday at the 24th Leader Classic, SJ-O will have to turn to its defense.
The switch was flipped in the second quarter against the Cardinals in the Spartans’ first pool-play win Saturday.
“We talked at half about we got a pretty good lead not because we shot it well, but we had good possessions defensively,” SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said. “In the third quarter, we relaxed a little bit, but we limited a good Chrisman team that shoots it really well.”
SJ-O followed with a 74-40 blowout win against Stanford Olympia on Saturday night to secure a spot in Friday’s championship game and finish 3-0 in White Pool play. The Spartans (8-0) will meet either Cissna Park (5-2) or Westville (6-1) in the championship game.
Cissna Park and Westville both went 2-0 on Saturday and meet Monday in their final pool-play game.
“Cissna Park’s a huge challenge,” Westville coach Jeff Millis said.
But SJ-O has showed it is the clear favorite with dominating play in its first three games.
“They’ve got guys who have been playing in the system for four years,” Chrisman coach Greg Gisinger said. “They take you out of everything you want to do. They just do a great job. We got after it and did some good things, but their pressure and athleticism won out.”
Guard Chase Patton scored a game-high 15 points against Chrisman on the strength of three three-pointers. Guard Nate Michael added 14 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Aaron Woller (six points) and Dalton Walsh (five points) helped out the cause in the second quarter with their key swipes.
“Once we got the steals, it really got us going,” Michael said. “That’s the name of our game right now.”
The unbeaten Spartans haven’t won a Leader Classic title since 2008. After placing second last year, SJ-O knows the expectation is on it to keep the tournament title home. So far, so good.
“We know people in the community want us to do well,” Michael said. “We go out and play for us and the people in our own community.”
Chrisman 48, Armstrong-Potomac 44
Chris Hoult drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with 24 seconds left to give the Cardinals a 46-44 lead, and Ty Bolen made two free throws in the closing seconds to give the Cardinals (6-6) the four-point lead that was the final margin.
“It was a huge shot,” said Hoult, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “We really needed something. Our defense definitely wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but we kind of made up for it a little bit with our shooting.”
Wade Rogers led A-P with 15 points.
SJ-O 74, Olympia 40
Brent Schluter scored 18 points, Patton had 13 and Michael added 12. Corbin Hesterberg (eight points, six steals) and Woller (eight points) also played a vital role for the hosts.
Cissna Park 55, PBL 35
Alex Rabe led three Timberwolves in double figures with 18 points. Rabe, Cole Hasselbring (14 points) and Beau Anderson (13 points) keyed the third-quarter run.
“We really needed to get ahead and assert control,” Rabe said.
Drew Schrodt and Weston Weber each had 12 points for the Panthers (6-4), who won’t get a chance to defend the last two Leader Classic titles they’ve won after going 1-2 in the Maroon Pool.
“There’s a reason why nobody’s won this tournament 24 straight years,” PBL coach Scot Vogel said. “It goes in spurts.”
Westville 59, Fisher 37
Westville opened the third quarter with a 15-1 run, keyed by eight of Kyle Brazas’ game-high 22 points to go up 41-19 with 4:18 left in the quarter. Jeffrey Thompson (15 points) and Robert Elliott (10 points) also shined.
Hans Carmien had 14 points and six rebounds for Fisher.
Olympia 45, Armstrong-Potomac 40
Dentler Loschen had 16 points in the loss.
Westville 53, PBL 41
Thompson had 17 points and five rebounds for the Tigers, who got 13 points and eight rebounds from Layn White.
Cissna Park 62, Fisher 34
Paced by Hasselbring (24 points, five rebounds, three blocks) and Ben Jennings (11 points, nine rebounds), the Timberwolves led the entire way, mostly by double digits.