Maturing: St. Louis growing with game experience

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

SULPHUR — The young St. Louis basketball team is showing signs of growth in the second week of the season.

The Saints rolled past Midland 70-41 for their second win in as many days at the Sulphur Thanksgiving Classic.

St. Louis (2-1) held Midland (2-6) to four points in the first quarter to take a double-digit lead it maintained throughout the rest of the game. Eleven Saints scored as St. Louis stretched the lead out in the second half.

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Mika Ducote led the Saints with 15 points. Bennett McElveen added 10, including eight in the first quarter when St. Louis outscored the Rebels 16-4 to take control.

A fourth-quarter Midland run reduced its deficit from 30 to 17, but the Saints closed the game with a 17-5 run. Holden Jackson started the outburst with a 3-pointer and Ducote added a pair of baskets.

Saints head coach Mack Guillory said defense was the key to the big start.

“Defensively we came out with a lot of intensity, really played hard today,” he said. “I’m glad we had the opportunity to play a lot of kids today. A lot of them played well. It is always good to see kids that practice well do it in the games as well.”

Kayden Bourque led Midland with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half as the Rebels whittled away at the St. Louis lead.

The Saints opened the tournament with a 59-45 win over Benton on Monday night, outscoring the Tigers 16-3 in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Guillory said his group needs game time to adjust playing at a higher level.

“We’re just getting better with our composure,” he said. “We are a young team. As we get more games, I think we’ll continue to get better and better. Right now we are just in the process of continuing to improve. We limited our turnovers today and are showing signs of progress.”

Guillory said he doesn’t doubt the progress will continue.

“I love this group,” he said. “They enjoy playing together and has great chemistry. They play hard and are a fun bunch.”