McCullough leads St. James to third at Basehor Invitational
Basehor Clint McCullough scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and led St. James Academy to a 61-43 victory over Ottawa on Saturday.
He was perfect from the foul line, hitting 6 of 6 attempts during the Thunder’s 18-5 run late in the basketball game. For the quarter, St. James Academy outscored them 26-15.
The Thunder also played tough defense throughout the game.
Joe Kelling had the assignment of guarding Austin Hasty, holding him to just 3 points after he scored 37 points in a game earlier in the tournament.
“Joe Kelling, that is the best game that he has played for us,” St. James Academy coach Andy Tylicki said.
The Thunder work on defense in practice and play a disciplined style of basketball that doesn’t allow opponents to get a lot of open looks at the basket.
“We kind of pride ourselves in practice on our defense,” Tylicki said. “It is something that we work on in practice on a daily basis. Ottawa was pretty good on defense too; it was 27-20 for a long time in the third quarter. This was just a hard fought, physical game.”
St. James Academy led 27-18 at halftime, but both teams ratcheted up their defense in the second half.
Ottawa scored an early field goal in the third quarter, but the score remained 27-20 for a long time afterward. The Cyclones were able to outscore the Thunder 10-8 in the quarter and the score was 38-28 entering the fourth quarter.
Tylicki said the game was one of the biggest the team would play all season. Following the second-round loss to Basehor-Linwood he wasn’t sure how his players would respond, and said a second consecutive loss would have been difficult for the team to overcome.
“This was a really big win, one of the biggest of the year,” he said. “After the other night, our season could have gone one of two ways.”
Now, the Thunder believe they are on the correct path as they prepare for Tuesday’s game against Kansas City Christian.
Kevin Barber led the Cyclones with 21 points and Chase Dengel scored 12 points.
In addition to McCullough’s big night, other St. James scorers were: Kevin Lysaught, 12; Mike Huppe, 8; Jim Getto, 5; Jordan Bichelmeyer, 5; Brock Borovetz, 3; Kelling, 3.
St. James improved to 9-3 with the victory and avenged its loss to Ottawa in the season-opener.