CHAMPAIGN — It was St. Thomas More's Senior Night, but St. Joseph-Ogden's sophomores were the ones having a party.
Nate Michael had a game-high 24 points and Brent Schluter recorded a double-double (23 points, 12 rebounds), leading the Spartans to a 74-53 victory Friday.
"When Brent is scoring inside it opens things up so much. Our guys did a great job finding him and finding Nate when he was open," SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said. "The biggest thing tonight was that we played without three starters for a while because of injury, illness and foul trouble. But we didn't miss a beat — our bench was outstanding."
Schluter got SJ-O started, driving the lane and scoring seven points in the opening period as his team went on a 14-0 run.
The Sabers were held scoreless until 1:40 remained in the first quarter, but they trimmed their deficit to eight after going on a 7-1 run.
Michael hit four three-pointers in the second period, and the Spartans led 40-26 at halftime.
"We knew we could go into Brent when we wanted. When he made a couple shots they started collapsing in on him, and I was wide open on the three," Michael said. "It was our goal to upset their Senior Night. It was a good win."
Travis Whitley scored six of his 12 points in the fourth period, but STM's rally fell short after Michael countered with six free throws down the stretch.
STM senior Cortez King led his team with 14 points.
Brooks said the victory was big for many reasons.
"It feels really good to get win No. 20, and it feels really good to go into the postseason playing like this. The way we played will definitely carry over to the postseason," he said.