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St. Regis and Superior split rivalry games

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | January 19, 2022 12:00 AM

Like the freeway nearby, the Interstate 90 rivalry renewal was a split success this year.

The St. Regis Tigers boys made the 14-mile trek down Mineral County’s main corridor and came home with a convincing 59-36 win over their Superior counterparts last Monday night.

The same was true with the Superior girls, who defended their home court against the Lady Tigers, 50-28, to give each community a “W” in their long-standing rivalry for Mineral County bragging rights.

The boys battle, like the girls game, was a Western 14C conference contest. St. Regis came to Superior in a first-place tie with Hot Springs for the 14C lead with the District playoffs looming in the not-too-distant future.

In the beginning, the game looked like it would be a classic nail-biter as the top-standing Tigers and the young but feisty Bobcats battled to a 14-14 tie after the first quarter of play.

St. Regis junior standout Caleb Ball scored two quick baskets in the opening quarter as the Tigers bolted out to a 7-3 lead at the midway point. However, Ball was saddled with his third foul of the game in that first quarter, relegating him to the bench the rest of the first half and part of the second to prevent him from fouling out of the game.

Even with Ball riding the bench, the Tigers would have held the lead at the end of one had it not been for a buzzer-beating three-point shot from Superior’s junior guard Isaac Miller, who banked one in from the sideline.

With his little brother Caleb on the bench in foul trouble, senior forward Adam Ball picked up the slack both offensively and on the defensive end, scoring six points on three steals and full-court lay-ins that propelled the Tigers to a 23-14 lead at the four-minute mark of the second quarter.

With ample help from 6-2 senior Tanner Day, the Tigers began to build an even bigger lead. Along the way they got a three from Miller and sophomore guard John Pruitt began to heat up from the outside.

With the offense clicking and the defense swarming all over the younger Bobcats, St. Regis was able to run their lead to 38-21 by the end of the first half.

Caleb Ball returned to action in the third quarter and began contributing scoring punch in the form of a three-pointer and a pair of two-point lay-ups off steals.

The only bad news for St. Regis during the third quarter was that Day, who finished tied for game-high scoring honors with freshman Kaleb Park, picked up his fourth foul of the game and was on the bench for a long stretch of the second half.

By the end of the third quarter, St. Regis had amassed a 55-29 lead. They were outscored 7-4 in the fourth quarter when mostly reserves were on the court, but still had plenty to hold off Superior for the win.

Day and Park scored 16 apiece to lead all scorers during the game, while Superior post Wyatt Haworth paced Superior with nine points.

The win boosted St. Regis to 2-0 in conference play and 5-3 on the year. Superior dropped to 1-7 overall and 1-3 in Western 14C play.

Unlike the boys game, Superior’s girls came out and grabbed an early lead which they never relinquished in subduing their I-90 rivals 50-28 in what was also a 14C conference encounter.

Superior jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the early moments of the first quarter, then held off a min-run by the Lady Tigers, who narrowed the lead to 9-8 on a three-point bucket by Baylee Pruitt, the senior guard who is bound for Providence College to play basketball next year.

The Lady Bobcats finished the first quarter with a 14-8 lead, thanks in large part to a three-pointer from talented sophomore Lanie Crabb.

The home team Bobcats then turned up their defensive pressure in the second quarter, outscoring St. Regis 6-4 on their way to a 20-12 halftime lead. That lead was aided by a three-point buzzer-beater by Superior guard Isabella Pereira.

Crabb added another three during the opening minutes of the third quarter, during which Superior added six points to their halftime lead to head into the final quarter with a 34-18 advantage.

The Lady Bobcats added another half-dozen points to their lead over the final eight minutes to secure the win.

The victory boosted the Lady Bobcats to a tie with perennial champ Charlo, with both teams sporting 4-0 conference records. Superior also improved to 5-3 overall while St. Regis fell to 3-4 on the year.

This week the Lady Bobcats and their boys counterparts are slated to play at Two Eagle this Thursday, then return home for a contest with Noxon this Saturday. The Bobcats are one of two area teams, including Plains, who were forced to cancel or postpone athletic events due to an upswing in co-vid cases.

Check the school’s website for updates.

The St. Regis teams, meanwhile, will face Hot Springs in a rescheduled conference set tonight (Tuesday), then travel to Charlo Friday and return home to face Drummond Saturday evening.

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