The De Smet Jesuit Spartans, buoyed by a decided rebounding advantage on both ends of the court, defeated Hazelwood Central Friday in the championship game of the Ameritime Classic held at Missouri Baptist University.
Spartan senior guard Jimmy Barton led all scorers with 25 points. Senior forward Marcus Hinton led the Hawks with 14.
De Smet Jesuit switched to a zone defense early on and took advantage on the interior, with Nolan Berry swatting 4 first half shots and John Barron collecting 6 early points off the bench while also rebounding on both ends of the court.
"Us rebounding really set the tempo the whole night tonight," Barton said, praising Barron. "When he goes to the offensive boards we’re a totally different team."
The Spartans held a six point advantage at 20-14 after the first period and nudged the lead to 30-21 at halftime.
"De Smet just was tougher than we were, they went and got every 50-50 ball, got every rebound... you got to give a lot of credit to De Smet. I didn’t think we defended very well," Hazelwood Central Head Coach Josh Martin said after his team's 11 game winning streak had been snapped.
The Hawks' offensive rebounding improved in the second half, but the De Smet Jesuit lead expanded in third quarter. A floor-length Barton pass to Berry in stride gave the Spartans an 18 point edge halfway through the period. Tempers flared late in the third when an Alec Bausch drive to the basket was ruled a jump ball instead of goaltending when Jordan Martin pinned the ball between the backboard and basket. Martin and Barton earned offsetting technicals.
In the final quarter, Hazelwood Central cut the lead to as few as 7 points as play but could get no closer than that when Berry responded with a three point conversion on a foul. Play was spirited allbeit a bit chippy in the fourth, as the Hawks' coaching staff was issued a technical foul and Berry, who had 19 points, fouled out on a technical following his fifth block on the night.
"Every time we got a little frustrated, we were picking eachother up, we turned it around for four quarters we played really quality basketball which you’ve got to do to beat a really good team like that," De Smet Jesuit Head Coach Kevin Poelker said, adding that the Nolan Berry he saw Friday was what the team expected this season, before a pair of broken arms cost him the early part of the schedule, including a late December loss to Hazelwood in the Meramec Tournament.
The Spartans (13-5) play next at Parkway South Tuesday night before a date Thursday at Scottrade Center against Rockhurst. Hazelwood Central (14-4) plays at Pattonville Tuesday, home against McCluer Thursday and against CBC Saturday at Maryville.