By Chris Pobst
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Coming out of the timeout, Charleston head coach Danny Farmer wanted either Deonte Jones or Greg Tucker taking the game-winning shot.
With eight seconds left and the Bluejays down by two, 62-60, it was the 6-2 sophomore Tucker who fired off the potential game-winning 3-pointer. Tucker's shot was off the mark.
"We wanted one of them to shoot a three and go for the win," Farmer said. "We wanted to practice that for when it counts at the end of the season."
Notre Dame junior Jacob Tolbert, who led the Bulldogs with 22 points, would later seal the game with two free throws and just 2.5 seconds remaining as the Bulldogs defeated Charleston 64-60 to claim the seMissourian Christmas Tournament third place trophy.
"We stayed right there with them and we had a chance to win it," Farmer said. "We wanted to run the clock down and go for the win. We had the look and it just didn't go in."
Neither team could distance themselves from the other as it never was once a double digit lead for any squad. Charleston held a 21-19 lead at the end of the first quarter while a late basket by Notre Dame's Luciano Starling gave the Bulldogs a 33-31 at half time. Notre Dame got up by as much as nine points in the third quarter but an 11-4 run by the Bluejays made it a 50-46 Bulldogs advantage heading into the fourth quarter which eventually led to Tuckers attempt at a win.
"We want to be in these tough battles," Farmer said. "We like these tough battles."
Jones led all scorers with 24 points while Tucker and Fabreizio Wright each chipped in with 13. Wright, a 6-3 senior, has given Charleston a post presence they have lacked for the first part of the season. He came up with a few big time rebounds and also gave them a viable option down low.
"He's improved a whole lot since our first game," Farmer said about Wright. "He's played well up here also and we didn't expect to get that out of him. He along with a lot of the sophomores are getting to know their roles and are trying to adapt to those roles."
Nick Koeppel added 17 points for the Bulldogs while Starling chipped in with 14.
Charleston left the tournament with a fourth place finish, just as their No. 4 seed would indicate, as well as a lot to look forward to in the new year.
"We're pleased with where we are right now," said Farmer. "Some of these close games that we're losing, our goal at the end of the season is that we want to be winning these close games."
CHARLESTON (60) -- Deonte Farmer 6, Ryan Parham 4, Greg Tucker 13, Deonte Jones 24, Fabreizio Wright 13. FG 20 FT 15-21 F 20. (3-pointers: Tucker 3, Jones 2. Fouled out: Wright.)
NOTRE DAME (64) -- Nick Koeppel 17, Keke Kellum 2, Alex Carroll 3, Luciano Starling 14, Jacob Tolbert 22, Matt Helle 4, Derek Landewee 2. FG 24 FT 15-23 F 16. (3-pointers: Alex Carroll. Fouled out: none.)
Jackson 71, Advance 50
The Jackson Indians came away with a fifth place finish after defeating the Advance Hornets 71-50.
A relatively close 31-26 first half gave way towards the Indians favor as they outscored Advance 22-11 in the third quarter.
Henrie Williams led Jackson with 16 points while Bobby Clark added 14 and Caleb Newcomer chipped in with 12.
Advance's Darren VanGennip led the Hornets with 14 while Grant Gray added 13.
ADVANCE (50) -- Luke Steil 7, Grant Gray 13, Matt Ware 6, Darren VanGennip 14, Brad Steil 7, Law Duncan 2, Ethan Barr 1. FG 19 FT 10-18 F 9. (3-pointers: Gray 1, VanGennip 1. Fouled out: none)
JACKSON (71) -- Caleb Newcomer 12, Taylor Williams 6, Kyle Keith 9, Law Duncan 2, Zach McDowell 6, Eli Gohn 6, Bobby Clark 14, Henrie Williams 16. FG 32 FT 3-3 F 17. (3-pointers: Newcomer 2, T. Williams 1, Keith 1. Fouled out: none)
Leopold 70, Meadow Heights 50
The seventh place trophy went to the Leopold Wildcats following their 70-50 win over the Meadow Heights Panthers.
David Fluchel led the Wildcats with 18 points. John Bohnsack and Anthony Seabaugh added 14 and 13 respectively.
Meadow Heights was led by Dustin Hubler's 15 points.
LEOPOLD (70) -- Kyle Stroder 14, David Fluchel 18, Ryan Davis 3, John Bohnsack 14, Lance Seiler 8, Anthony Seabaugh 13. FG 28 FT 8-16 F 8. (3-pointers: Stroder 1, Bohnsack 3, Seiler 2. Fouled out: none)
MEADOW HEIGHTS (50) -- Adam Walker 8, Dustin Hubler 15, Daylan Davis 6, Trent Kiefer 2, Calen Buerck 6, Nick Webb 3, Trever Hotop 4, Dustin Doublin 2, Ethan Mayfield 2. FG 22 FT 4-6 F 14. (3-pointers: N. Webb 1, Hotop 1. Fouled out: none)