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Defensive intensity fuels Priory to runaway win over Principia

By: Jonathan Duncan

Saint Louis Priory School sophomore guard Charlie Ferrick looks to spin on the dribble to get past Principia senior guard Kevin Wingert during a Metro League basketball game on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at St. Louis Priory School. [Jonathan Duncan/West Newsmagazine photo]

On the night that the Priory soccer team was honored for winning the Class 3 championship in November, the Priory basketball team led by the strong hustle of Charlie Berns, Charlie Ferrick, and Brett Greiner showed it can flash defensive moxie as well.

Ferrick, and Greiner keyed a 7-1 late first quarter run that wiped out a 9-6 deficit as the Rebels surged to a 16-9 lead after the first quarter.

Priory turned up the defensive heat in the second quarter, outscored the Panthers 27-3 and breezed to a 66-34 Metro League victory over Principia Tuesday night at Priory.

It was a perfect start to the conference schedule for Priory as the Rebels had four different players score eight points to share the wealth on offense. Berns scored 8 points. Frank Kostecki scored 8 points, Nick Kurz clicked for 8 points and freshman post Harrison Wilmsen added 8 points. Ferrick and Greiner also contributed with 6 points each.

“Once we hit a couple of shots in the first quarter, the shooting just became contagious, we got really hot and we really focused in at the end of the first quarter,” Berns said. “I really think that intensity level just skyrockets after the first couple minutes of the first quarter and we focused on boxing out, getting rebounds, and playing defense.

That intensity and defensive energy was a thing of beauty for Priory coach Bobby McCormack to behold as he watched the Rebels force nine steals and 18 turnovers against a game but outgunned Principia club.

“Once we finished the Affton Tournament over the (Christmas) break, we’ve been coming in and working hard and the thing that’s been kind of nice is that our guys that don’t start, have been pushing our starters and kind of vice-versa, so it’s one of those deals where we feel pretty confident about the guys we’re bringing in off the bench,” McCormack said.

Principia (6-4, 0-2) had a three-point lead late in the first quarter, but the Panthers, playing just their first game in three weeks coming off the holiday break, were done in by a brutal  shooting second quarter that left them down 43-12 at halftime.

“We’re a boarding school, so we’ve been on break for quite a while, so I think we started off well but it showed but Priory’s a good team and they play hard,” Principia coach Kyle Johnson said. “The trapping out of the 1-3-1 is tough for us and when you turn the ball over 13, 14 times in the first half, you’re not going to win many games.”
Willmsen and Greiner knocked down buckets to push the Rebels lead to 56-22 as the third quarter came to a close.

Priory (6-3, 1-0) emptied its bench with 6:45 left and the Rebels got to have some fun in the final stanza.

“I think we came in with a lot of confidence and we knew this should be our game in our first conference game of the year and we came in and took care of business,” Berns said.

Kevin Wingert led Principia with a game-high 13 points.

Priory will be back in action on Friday with a 7 p.m. conference home game against John Burroughs. Principia looks to rebound at home in a 7 p.m. nonconference affair against Lift For Life.




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