Deja-two St. Vincent beats familiar foe, will go for 2nd title

Saturday, March 19, 2005

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For the Class 1 football fans in the stands Friday at Mizzou Arena, the Class 2 boys basketball semifinal game between St. Vincent and East Buchanan must have seemed strangely familiar.

Following the guidelines of its football championship win over the Bulldogs, St. Vincent again ended East Buchanan's dreams of a state championship with a heavy dose of defense.

St. Vincent limited East Buchanan to 31.9 percent shooting and only 10 first-half points in a 51-44 win.

The Indians, winners of 12 straight and 21 of their last 23 games, will face Marionville in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. today. The Indians (23-6) defeated Marionville (26-3) in the semifinal round of the state football playoffs.

"I think the main thing is we knew they had a lot of athletes," St. Vincent senior guard Alex Armbruster said. "[Andrew] Mead was a heck of a receiver. We were maybe a little intimidated, but you have to think they were intimidated of us."

After shutting out East Buchanan 21-0 in the state football championship, St. Vincent's defense nearly pitched a shutout in the first quarter Friday. East Buchanan managed just two points in the opening quarter, scoring its first and only basket with less than 2 minutes remaining. The Bulldogs trailed 21-10 at the half after shooting just 17.6 percent.

"To hold them to only 10 points in the first half, that's amazing," St. Vincent coach Bruce Valleroy said.

The Indians were in control for nearly the entire game. East Buchanan cut the Indians' lead to 30-25 at the end of the third quarter on Mead's dunk, but that was as close as it got. St. Vincent's 11-for-18 performance from the free-throw line in the fourth period was enough for the Indians to advance.

Danny Rellergert was 7-for-13 from the line in the fourth and finished with 12 points.

"Danny Rellergert hit some big free throws down the stretch," Valleroy said.

Armbruster, St. Vincent's leading scorer, had eight points in the fourth and hit all four of his free throws. While the Bulldogs tried to push the tempo, Armbruster was always there to slow it down for the Indians.

"He steps up each game more and more," Valleroy said. "He gets the job done when we need him."

Added East Buchanan senior Jacob Carver: "I think Armbruster did a good job slowing it down."

For the Bulldogs (25-2), who were riding a 24-game winning streak heading into Friday's semifinal, the shots simply did not fall. Mead, who averaged 23.2 points per game heading into the state playoffs, hit just 5 of 19 shots and finished with 17 points.

"We knew coming into the game we had to shut him down," Valleroy said.

St. Vincent senior defensive specialist Pat Siegmund was given that job. Siegmund scored only two points, but he shadowed Mead every minute he was on the floor before finally fouling out late in the game.

"Look at the stats: Mead was 5 of 19 from the field," Valleroy said. "He did a great job on him."

Added Armbruster: "We knew Pat could stop him."

Mead had no excuses.

"I thought their defense did a good job switching off our picks," he said, "but when we got open looks, we didn't hit them."

The Indians will attempt to win their first basketball state title in their first final four appearance. A victory today against Marionville -- a 37-33 winner against previously unbeaten Salisbury -- would also make the Indians only the fifth squad to win both football and basketball championships in the same season.

"It's a heck of a way to end your senior year," Armbruster said. "It doesn't seem like it's going to be over tomorrow."

Armbruster finished with a game-high 21 points. Rellergert added 12 points and nine rebounds. Jacob DeWilde added 10 points and six rebounds. Siegmund also added nine rebounds, as the Indians outrebounded East Buchanan 38-30.

ST. VINCENT 51, EAST BUCHANAN 44

St. Vincent138921--51
East Buchanan281519--44

ST. VINCENT (51) -- Alex Armbruster 21, Danny Rellergert 12, Jacob DeWilde 10, Pat Siegmund 2, Waylon Richardet 6. FG 16, FT 19-30, F 19. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: Siegmund)

EAST BUCHANAN (44) -- Lucas King 5, Jacob Carver 11, Eric Bright 8, Andrew Mead 17, Mark Burtson 1, Rickey Winder 2. FG 15, FT 13-18, F 22 (3-pointers: Mead 1. Fouled out: none)

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