O’FALLON, Mo. • The points came fast and furious late in the first quarter for St. Charles and, even though it was at an early juncture, the scoring spurt seemed to doom host St. Dominic on Tuesday.
Tied with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter, St. Charles closed the quarter by scoring 10 of the final 12 points, including six in the last 9.6 seconds on the way to the 60-49 win in a Class 4 District 7 semifinal.
“That got us going a lot and it really got our intensity up,” St. Charles sophomore guard Casey Teson said. “To come out and get some easy baskets really fired us up.”
With St. Charles up 13-11, Chase Morfeld drained a 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds left in the quarter and, after a steal, Corey Whiteside got an open look and splashed it home just before the buzzer to make it 19-11.
St. Charles coach Rick Foster said he felt that a common practice used by the Pirates really helped Tuesday.
“We use a lot of guys, so our plan was to get out there and run them,” Foster said. “We stayed fresh and we played hard, and we wore them down.”
As it turned out, the run was important, because St. Dominic would never get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“That hurt,” St. Dominic coach Kurt Schneider said. “We kind of lost a guy. We also had a designed play we’d run all night off the inbounds, and we didn’t run it there. It led to a tip (and a steal, which ultimately culminated in the second 3-pointer).”
While the Pirates were firmly in control, the game never really was out of reach until late.
St. Charles (20-6, No. 10 in the STLhighschoolsports.com small-schools rankings) led 34-23 at half and 44-37 after the third quarter.
A large reason for the Pirates’ ability to maintain separation from the Crusaders was Teson.
He scored 23 points on a variety of jumpers and slashing drives through the lane.
“I really didn’t think I was hitting my shots early,” Teson said. “That’s when I started to cut to the basket more. My teammates did a great job of finding me. I just didn’t hit shots early.”
For Schneider, the inability to find an answer for Teson proved costly.
“He’s a kid that plays a complete game,” said Schneider of Teson. “He can take you off the dribble (with penetration), and he elevates and (protects the ball well) on the jumper. There are so many ways he can hurt you.”
In addition to Teson’s effort, Whiteside added 12 points for the second-seeded Pirates.
Michael Schneider led third-seeded St. Dominic (17-8) with 23 points, while Sam Runge added 12.
The win means St. Charles will return to St. Dominic for the district championship game Friday at 7:30 against top seed Duchesne (21-4, No. 5 SS) a 56-49 winner over St. Charles West on Tuesday.
“I am looking forward to playing Duchesne,” Teson said. “We didn’t get to play them this year, and I really want that chance. It should be a good game.”