VANDALIA — St. Anthony’s first-ever appearance in the Vandalia Holiday Tournament was shaping up to be a successful one on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs took the lead against the host Vandals early on in the first quarter and led by as much as 10 in the first half, as Vandalia had little luck slowing down the inside-outside combo of John Goeckner and Jacob Schuette.
Still, St. Anthony could never quite come up with that knockout blow, thanks in large part to Vandals point guard Tim Ritchey, who kept his team afloat by ending the first half with a pair of big free throws before closing the third quarter with a buzzer-beating layup.
The latter basket came off of one of Ritchey’s five steals and foreshadowed a nightmarish fourth quarter for the Bulldogs (2-7), who saw a nine-point third quarter lead evaporate in a 70-65 loss to the Vandals.
A Schuette jumper with just under a minute to go in the third quarter put St. Anthony up nine points, but the Vandals outscored the Bulldogs by 14 points the rest of the way, including a 23-13 advantage in the final quarter.
Turnovers proved a huge factor in St. Anthony’s demise, as the Bulldogs coughed the ball up five times in the first three minutes of the fourth, fueling a 13-4 run that put the Vandals up for good. The Bulldogs also rushed shots throughout the second half, and the little things added up to big dissapointment in St. Anthony’s debut in the 41st annual event.
“We talked about doing the things you’re supposed to be doing on every possession,” Bulldogs coach Mark Tovey said. “It gives you a chance to be successful, but if you don’t, you’re never going to have a chance. Very seldom do you luck out and have something good happen when you’re not doing the right things.”