Steelville, Salem advance to Friday semifinals

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 1/8/20

Action was fast and furious to kick off the opening night of the 31st Owensville Varsity Boys Basketball Tournament Monday at Owensville High School.

In the opening game of first-round action …

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Steelville, Salem advance to Friday semifinals

Posted

Action was fast and furious to kick off the opening night of the 31st Owensville Varsity Boys Basketball Tournament Monday at Owensville High School.

In the opening game of first-round action Monday night, it was a battle of Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) team with the second-seeded Steelville Cardinals taking on the seventh-seeded Belle Tigers.

Coming in as the two-time defending tournament champions, Steelville didn’t need much time to show people why.

Scoring 17 of the first 20 points in the game, the Cardinals led 19-9 after one quarter before going on to a 94-35 victory over the Tigers.

Having five players score in double figures, Steelville showed that they will be very difficult to beat throughout the tournament.

Ironically enough, their leading scorer Monday night was not even in the starting five.

Junior Preston Lefler came off the bench when senior Josh Earney picked up his second foul at the 3:42 mark of the first quarter.

With 18 first-half points, Lefler had more points than Belle did as a team in the opening half with 17 points.

Hitting eight of his nine shots from 2-point land, Lefler suddenly found himself with a shot at landing himself in the Owensville Tournament record book.

Nailing all four of his shots in the second half, Lefler finished with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds.

Going 13-14 from inside the 3-point line, Lefler shot 92.8 percent from the field breaking the previous single-game tournament record of 91.6 percent shooting held by former Belle Tiger Dylan Lange.

Trailing 49-17 at halftime, Belle was paced by nine points from Jat Ridenhour.

Doubling their point total in the second half, Belle nearly saw all nine of their players in uniform reach the scoring column.

Led by Ridenhour’s 11 points and seven rebounds, Belle also got five points from Gentry Dunn.

Scoring four points each for the Tigers were Eddy Paz, Thomas Lingo and Brett Stewart.

Jace Gieck and Lane Feeler each chipped in three points in addition to a second-quarter free throw for one point from Colten Robinson.

In addition to Lefler’s 26 markers, John Tolly’s Steelville Cardinals had four other guys reach double figures in scoring.

Rylee Mabe nearly posted a quadruple double with 17 points, eight assists, six steals and five rebounds.

Tanner Diaz and Mason Lorraine each netted a dozen points. Diaz also flirted with a triple double adding seven assists and five rebounds.

Chase Cottrell was Steelville’s fifth man in double figures with 11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

In game two, the third-seeded Salem Tigers took on the sixth-seeded School of the Osage Indians.

Osage came in 0-7 hungry for their first notch in the win column while Salem entered the tournament with an even 4-4 mark.

Salem appeared like they were going to run away with the game scoring 10 of the first 12 points.

Osage came back with an 11-7 run trimming the Tiger lead to 17-13 after one quarter.

Tying the game twice in the second quarter, the Indians could not get over the hump before eventually dropping a hard-fought 66-56 decision to Salem.

Dylan Long led Osage with a game-high 24 points in addition to Drew Edwards reaching double figures with 10 points.

Salem’s Reese Dodson led the Tigers with a team-high 23 points.

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