St. Anthony’s talented offense often garners the most attention. But for a shining moment, the Bulldogs defense was the star against Casey-Westfield during their Class 1A Casey-Westfield Sectional semifinal 48-39 victory Wednesday evening.
The Bulldogs held the Warriors to just four second quarter points as center Jaccob Dust sat for most of the first half due to foul trouble.
“Defense travels. When you go on the road and in an environment like this in the postseason, you have to guard,” St. Anthony head coach Cody Rincker said. “You have to be locked and communicate. It’s not something where you can just show up. And oh it’s the sectionals and you can guard that way. We’ve been guarding like this all season.”
The Bulldogs took a 13-10 first quarter advantage on the hot hand of Kaden Fearday who drained a three and a bucket.
The Warriors would open the scoring in the second quarter by a three from Collin Branson tieing the game at 13 a piece.
Without Dust, the rest of the Bulldogs would pick up the slack.
Logan Antrim would take a charge on Jackson Hills two minutes into the second quarter nullifying his score.
Not to be outdone, Fearday would take the second charge of the quarter on Noah Livingston just two minutes later.
The Warriors Dawson Dallape would score the only other points of the second quarter on a free throw and the Bulldogs took a 20-14 lead into halftime.
St. Anthony’s Aaron Webb, Jack Hoene, and Kennan Walsh would each have a bucket adding to Logan Antrim’s free throw giving the Bulldogs a 7-4 second quarter advantage over the Warriors,
“Offense is fun. Offense is pretty,” Rincker said. “You dunk the ball and everyone gets excited. Defense wins champions. I don’t care how good your offense is. If you can’t get a stop whenever you need a stop you’re not going to have the chances you need. Our boys have been doing that all season long.
Dust would get his revenge 54 seconds into the fourth quarter as he took a pass and drove the baseline slamming the ball home giving the Bulldogs their largest lead of the night at 36-23.
Free throws would once again plague St. Anthony as they went 0-5 down the stretch late in the fourth quarter.
“That’s something that’s been plagueing us all year,” Rincker said. “We’re aware of it. We know. We just have to step up there with confidence.”
Jack Hoene and Aaron Webb would change that securing the victory by making five of six free throws in the last 60 seconds giving the Bulldogs a 48-39 victory.
They will face Central A&M for the second time this season, but for the sectional championship on Friday.
“We have to continue to stay humble about it and be disciplined about it and continue to do the job ,” Rincker said.
For St. Anthony who goes to 29-3, Jaccob Dust had 17; Kaden Fearday had 10; Aaron Webb and Logan Antrim each had 6; Jack Hoene had 7; Logan Antrim and Kennan Walsh each had two.
For Casey-Westfield whose season ends at 24-8, Noah Livingston had 12; Dawson Dallape had 9; Jackson Hills had 8 and Collin Branson had 6, and Will Hosselton had 4.