Last Modified: Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:57 PM
Make it two in a row for the St. Thomas More Cougars, who broke their Washington-Marion hex last year and beat the Charging Indians again Wednesday to win the championship game of the Whitney Bank/St. Louis Classic.
The Cougars used shooting outbursts in the first and third quarters to take control of the game in a 59-44 win.
STM (3-0) scored 13 straight points in the first quarter to take an 11-point lead, shooting the Charging Indians (2-1) out of a zone defense with a trio of 3-point baskets, including two by Ryan Randle.
W-M stormed back, closing the first half with a 13-4 run to take a one-point lead into halftime. But, the Cougars took the lead for good with an 18-7 run to open the third quarter. The 3-pointer was the weapon of choice again as STM made all five long-distance attempts in the quarter. Trey Touchet scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the quarter.
Randle added 16 and Charlie Padgett added 12 for STM.
“Our man-to-man defense in the second half was the difference,” said STM head coach Danny Broussard, who lost his first nine games against W-M before STM won the tournament championship game last year. “We were able to block out better. We knew coming in that we would have trouble against them on the boards. We took some bad shots in the first half, but were more patient in the second half. We are doing a good job of blocking out. We have some tough kids. I think they will be a special team.”
Dionte Dixon led W-M with 16 points.
W-M head coach Albert Hartwell said he was pleased with his team’s performance in the tournament.
“We started settling for jump shots,” he said. “Experience caught up with us and they just outplayed us. We have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but we are going to get there. St. Thomas More played well. They are well organized and played together as a team. We are still searching for our identity.”