Saints edge Odessa to stay unbeaten: Schmidt, Roepe lead Saint Paul to seventh win of season
Staying unbeaten on the season came down to the visiting Saint Paul Saints digging down deep and laying a better final three quarters than they did the first at Odessa Thursday.
The Saints outscored the home team 36-27 over the final 24 minutes, pulling out a 45-39 victory.
"This was a very physical game that went back and forth pretty much the whole night," SPLHS head coach Monte Pitsch said.
The Bulldogs started fast, racing to a 12-4 advantage be-fore Saint Paul scored the final five points in the last 1 minute, 17 seconds of the first quarter to pull within 12-9.
Saint Paul surged into the lead with a 16-5 second-quarter spree.
The Saints maintained a comfortable lead throughout much of the third quarter, but Odessa scored the final four points of the stanza to pull within 33-29.
The Bulldogs eventually took a 35-34 lead with five minutes left in the game.
But the Saints rallied back to grab a 39-36 advantage, Isaiah Roepe canning a clutch three-point shot in the time frame.
Saint Paul finished the game on a 6-2 run, including hitting all four of their free-throw attempts.
Pitsch points to the Saints' ability to handle Odessa's pressure as a key to the victory.
"We only turned the ball over four times against Odessa's full-court press and half-court defense," he said.
Sam Schmidt, who left the game due to a cut over his right eye at one point but re-turned in the fourth quarter, paced the Saints with 16 points, five assists and four steals.
"Our subs played great," Pitsch said. "Luke Stuenkel gave us some great minutes when our posts were in foul trouble. Michael Nebel did a nice job under pressure in the fourth quarter when Sam had to leave (the game)."
Roepe supplied 11 points and Elijah Rodewald seven.
"I was proud of our kids keeping their poise in a very physical and close game," Pitsch said.
Saint Paul 68,
at Lincoln 14
The Saints put their stamp on this game early on, outscoring the home team 22-4 in the opening eight minutes.
Saint Paul built the lead to 39-5 at the end of the first half and to 60-14 after three quarters.
The entire fourth quarter was played under the quick-clock rule because of at least a 30-point lead.
"Everyone saw significant (playing) time," Pitsch said. "We really liked the way our younger kids played and executed our offense."
All 10 Saints, 7-0, scored, including 13 points from Stuenkel and 10 each from Eric Allen and Gabe Stum-baugh.
The Cardinals had only four field goals, all from three-point range.