St. Regis moves to top of 14C with win over Charlo
St. Regis senior forward John Pruitt (with ball) looks for a path around Charlo forward Jacob Tomlin during their game Friday night in St. Regis. (Chuck Bandel/Mi-VP)
Freshman St. Regis guard Conner Lulis (1) looks for a lane to get past Charlo senior guard Hayden Hollow during their game Friday night in St. Regis. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)
St. Regis guard/forward Colton Todd defends against Charlo senior Hayden Hollow (10) during their game Friday night in St. Regis, won by the Tigers 67-44. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)
Valley Press | February 7, 2024 12:00 AM
Anyone who has watched the St. Regis Tigers boys basketball team this year most likely came away with the feeling that they had seen a good basketball team.
Those who saw them conquer Charlo Friday night in St. Regis would have to upgrade that to a “very good” basketball team.
“You know,” one fan said on the way out of the gym following the Tigers’ 67-44 win over the Vikings, “These guys (St. Regis) have a chance to be really good. They played at an amazing level tonight”.
That was the consensus among the fans who filled the St. Regis gym last night as the Tigers exploded in the second half, fueled by their signature swarming defense and deadly outside shooting, to run away from Charlo and take control of the 14C regular season standings.
The win, which boosted the Tigers to 13-3 on the season (two of those losses were by two points), and gave them a one-game lead over second place Two Eagle River (TER) in the conference regular season title race.
St. Regis is now 6-1 in Western 14C play, one game up on TER, one of the teams that beat them last month, 45-43 in St. Regis. The two teams play this Friday evening (Feb 9) in Pablo, home of the Eagles in what will likely decide the final standings and the top seed in the District 14C playoffs February 16-17 in Polson.
Friday’s game had the makings of a barn-burner between two teams who have gone head-to-head for the conference crown several times in recent years.
The Vikings took a short-lived lead early in the first quarter behind their twin towers of 6-6 Wesley Anderson and aptly named Titan Inman, a 6-5 mountain of a man, who scored eight points between them in the first part of the opening quarter. But St. Regis managed to stake out a 13-11 lead by the end of the quarter with sophomore forward Barrett Bassette and freshman guard Conner Lulis netting four points each.
The Tigers then unleashed their frenzied defense in the second quarter, generating several steals and turnovers that helped them outscore the Vikings 15-8 and take a 28-19 lead at the half.
Then, in the third quarter, the Tigers dialed in from long distance, led by a pair of high-arching three-pointers from Lulis, who had eight points in the quarter, and junior Dillon Thomas, who dropped in four two-pointers to lead a break-away performance that generated a 53-29 lead by the end of the quarter.
Both teams played even up in the final quarter, as Hayden Hollow poured in a trio of threes from beyond the arc for Charlo. But it was not enough to overcome the big St. Regis lead as the Tigers coasted to victory.
Lulis paced St. Regis with a game-high 19 points, including three treys. Pruitt, who also dialed in three from beyond the arc, added 11 points to the Tigers’ cause, while Thomas chipped in 10.
The Tigers hit nine three-pointers on the night.
Hollow led the Vikings with 15 points, 12 of those points coming on four threes. Inman scored 11 points for Charlo and teammate Anderson added nine points before fouling out in the early minutes of the final quarter.
With just two conference games remaining, St. Regis can clinch the league’s regular season crown outright this Friday with a win over TER. Before their game Saturday night at home against Noxon, the Vikings have a home game this Friday vs Hot Springs, then close out their regular season next Saturday night in Alberton.
Two Eagle River plays this Thursday (Feb 8) in Alberton, then hosts St. Regis Friday.
St. Regis coach Jesse Allan was pleased with his team’s effort and enthusiasm in the win over Charlo.
“The guys definitely wanted this one tonight and they played well enough to get the job done,” Allan said.