Rolla, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- For the second year in a row, the Borgia Knights pulled out a close Class 4 sectional game over a southwest Missouri-area team at Missouri S&T.
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A year ago, senior guard Jordan Miller stuck a jumper at the buzzer to help Borgia knock off Springfield Hillcrest. On Wednesday, Borgia rallied in the second half to pull out a hard fought 64-59 win over Marshfield.
The loss ended a strong late-season run by Marshfield, which had won 12 straight games and the Missouri Class 4 District 10 tournament by knocking off both the No. 2 seed Bolivar and No. 1 seed Hillcrest.
The Blue Jays did it in large part to an old-school philosophy — but one that still works.
Under first-year head coach Damon Seiger, the Marshfield Blue Jays carved out its first district title since 1993 by carving opponents up in the paint and continued to have success throwing the ball into the post on Wednesday.
Lukas Clift, a 6-foot-4 junior post player, scored 24 points, including 19 in the second half and all but nine of the Blue Jays' 28 points in the second half.
Clift, who has an array of old-school post moves, scored 19 points in the Jays' championship game against Hillcrest, and 21 points in its semifinal win over Bolivar.
"We're an inside-out team and we are blessed with some kids that can shoot it from the perimeter and that makes us an even tougher match-up," Seiger said. "We make no bones about it, we are going to try to get the ball inside. That probably makes us a little different than a lot of teams that are so guard oriented. And don't get me wrong, it works. You can be successful that way, but that's just not what we do. Fortunately, for us, we have a junior in Clift and a couple of seniors in Shelby Dowler and Logan McAnarney that are big bodies and not everybody has the size that we have. We just try to take advantage of it."
Marshfield (15-14) held a nine-point lead on Wednesday with three minutes remaining in the first half (31-22), but Borgia ended the first half with a 6-0 run, getting a three-point play from senior guard Zachary Schweissgarth with 2:04 remaining, and a 3-pointer from sophomore Luke Delice and went to the half trailing by three.
Borgia then opened the second half by scoring on its first five possession and knocking down its first five shots to build a 39-35 lead.
But the Blue Jays rallied behind 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by Bradey Welsh to take a 43-42 lead with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter.
Borgia rallied and led by six (51-45) with 7:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Jays got a 3-pointer from sophomore Wyatt Findley and a free throw from Clift to tie the game at 53 with 4:31 remaining.
The Jays were within two points after a pair of free throws by Clift with 1:47 remaining, then forced a traveling violation by the Knights with 1:41 remaining.
On the next possession, Marshfield had four shots at goal, including a pair of misses in the paint and a pair of missed 3-pointers. Borgia senior forward Joe Helfrich finally hauled in a defensive rebound, and after a timeout, Delice scored on a sideline out-of-bounds to take a 61-57 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
At the other end, Marshfield missed a 3-pointer, which led to a run-out and a three-point play by Delice with 13.7 seconds to ice the game.
Marshfield got 18 points from sophomore Wyatt Findley, including 15 in the first half. The 6-foot-2 guard knocked down four 3-pointers. Welsh finished with three 3-pointers and nine points.
The Blue Jays also got a game-high 11 rebounds from senior Blayne Armstrong.
Borgia was coming off an overtime win over Pacific in its district championship game and head coach Dave Neier said the Knights' tradition and recent run of success in close games helped the Knights on Wednesday. Borgia (19-9) has won 20 district title since 1991 and missed out on the state playoffs just once between 1991 and 2006.
"We have been in some close games, especially as of late and that helps you get ready," Neier said. "But you have to give Marshfield credit, they came on at the end of the season and really played some great basketball. I think they are hard to beat the way they shoot the ball, they really play well together, and having Clift on the inside, that makes them really hard to guard."
High school boys' basketball
BORGIA 64, MARSHFIELD 59
on Wednesday, at Missouri S&T
Borgia 18 10 20 16 — 64
Marshfield 18 13 14 14 — 59
Borgia — Luke Deline 13, Adam Meyer 4, Joseph Helfrich 5, Zachary Schweissguth 25, Walton Eckelkamp 15, Gus Kleekamp 2.
Marhsfield — Wyatt Findley 18, Blayne Armstrong 2, Lukas Clift 24, Josh Powell 4, Bradey Welsh 9, Mathew Clancy 2.