By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Bishop LeBlond overcame a slow start and held their own for awhile, but the offensive prowess of Smithville proved to be too much to handle as the Warriors went on to beat the Eagles 61-46 in the LeBlond tournament title game Wednesday night.
After falling behind 9-0 to start, LeBlond (7-4) hit back with a 10-3 run of their own, and only trailed 19-14 after the first quarter.
The Warriors (7-3) started the second quarter on a 9-0 run and took a 33-22 lead into the locker room.
LeBlond went back and forth with Smithville in the third quarter, but could never chip away at the deficit, trailing 44-31 entering the fourth.
"I was proud of our kids," LeBlond coach Mitch Girres said. "We fought back, and got it close (early), but then kind of back and forth. We just couldn't get enough stops to string anything together."
Again, the Eagles were able to hit some shots late, and not let the game completely get away, but Smithville maintained a double-digit lead through the final eight minutes.
Junior Ryker Edwards was phenomenal throughout, leading the Warriors with a game-high 22 points. Senior Keltin Nitsche chipped in 11, while fellow senior Andrew Miller tallied 9.
Senior Chris Guldan led LeBlond in defeat with 15 points, while senior Hayden Cross was right behind with 12. Junior Jake Korell scored nine points - all of which came in the second half.
The Eagles are back in action Tuesday at Mid-Buchanan, and then head to Chillicothe on Jan. 7 to open MEC Conference play.
"It's a tough stretch, but it's good for us," Girres said. "We need to see that, get us ready for our conference season, which is always tough and it's a grind. So, I was proud of our kids and the way we played this week. There's a lot of good things we can take from it."
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