The end of an era

Prologue
To St. Bernard's for the final home game (and possibly final game) in their history.  This one is the 4AA East subsection 4 vs 5 game against St Croix Lutheran.  The diocese of St. Paul has voted to close the school at the end of the school year.  The number of fun games with players like Deonte Roberts, Trevor Mbakwe and Jordair Jett gracing the court along with the old, small and overheated atmosphere made it a fine place to see a game.  One of great games there was last year's game against Hopkins where the Bulldogs pushed the Royals to the limit.  For a trip down memory lane to look back at that classic from December 18, 2008, click here.  Basics at the concession stand with a hot dog and sprite tonight.  All of Minnehaha in the building since they had the night off.  Former Bulldog Zach Lofton, now of Columbia Heights, also in the building for this one.

Game Time
St. Croix's leading scorer Wesley Tucker to the bench with his 2nd foul at the 13:28 mark on a charge.  Not a good sign.  James Walker with a drive and then converts a layup against the press at 11:32.  10-8 St Croix Lutheran after those 2 hoops for their 1st lead of the night.  St. Bernard's coach Ed Cassidy not pleased and he wants a timeout.  That gets the attention of his Bulldogs, specifically soph forward Ricky Suggs.  He scores all 5 of St Bernard's field goals weaving his way inside as part of an 11-2 run.  21-12 Bulldogs with 6:30 left in the half.  Tucker has to return for St. Croix Lutheran.  Then 2 more Suggs buckets and a free throw for 28-20 St. Bernard's at 2:36.  St. Croix closes strong with a lefty finish by Tucker, a 3 by fellow soph guard Cameron Cummings and a putback by Walker.  30-27 St. Bernard's at the half.  Ricky Suggs 8-11 for 19 points in the half.

St. Croix Lutheran fired up to start the half.  Walker runs out off a miss for an easy layup.  Its his 2nd hoop of the half and 6 in a row in 90 seconds give the Crusaders a 33-30 lead.  Timeout St. Bernard's.  Cummings with a tough deuce countered by a Suggs drive.  37 all with 14:05 left.  Then Tucker has frosh guard Ben Buerkle on him and that's a strength mismatch.  Tucker converts that into 2 hoops which forces coach Cassidy to move Suggs over to play Tucker on defense.  Buerkle does get revenge with a 3 thanks to Tucker gambling for a steal and missing.  Then another triple and a Suggs steal for 2 and Asante Simmons with a bucket in a 7-0 Bulldogs run that puts them up 48-46 with 7:30 to play.  Then a great sequence.  Suggs blocks Tucker and we go the other way.  Cummings then swats Suggs as he tries to finish and back the other way it ends up being a Tucker layup with 5:50 left.  Wow.  50 all as St. Bernard's takes timeout with 5:43 left.

Tucker runs out for a layup off a missed 3, then Dominic Cambrice with a steal for 2 and the cheapy foul for 1 more. Simmons misses a 3 but nobody blocks him out and he follows it for 1 of 2 free throws with 3:45 left.  57-53 St. Croix Lutheran and Tucker has 4 fouls.  Coach Boehm rolls the dice and decides to sit Tucker down.  Suggs converts a turnover into a post bucket to cut the lead to 2 with 2:50 left.  The Crusaders turn it over again but the Bulldogs can't convert that.  Timeout St. Croix Lutheran with the ball and 2:07 left and Tucker will come back in.  The Crusaders turn it over for a 3rd straight time with 1:39 left.  Taylor and Suggs can't convert chances on the other end with 1:20 left.  They get another break as Cambrice misses a front end with 58.8 left.  St. Bernard's misses 2 more chances but Tucker goes 0-2 at the charity stripe with 29.8 left.  Suggs can't convert on the other end.  St. Croix Lutheran with 3 turnovers and 0-4 FTs on the last 5 possessions in a 4 point game and didn't give up the lead.  After 1 of 2 free throws, Taylor gets a look from the left corner with 3 seconds left.  That's no good.  Cummings makes 2 freebies and St. Croix Lutheran pulls the upset 60-55 in the final game in St. Bernard's history.

For St. Bernard's, Ricky Suggs finishes with 32 (I had 28 on my sheet) and 10 rebounds.  Shane Taylor with 7 points as the Bulldogs had trouble finding points from anybody else.  They really got out-hustled too.  The Bulldogs finish 12-15 with only 1 senior of note which all told isn't a bad season.  It will be interesting to watch in the offseason where some of the players and coach Cassidy end up.

For St. Croix Lutheran, they avenge a 68-49 loss to St. Bernard's 2 weeks ago.  They improve to 7-20 and will play at top seed and huge section favorite Minnehaha on Saturday night.  Cameron Cummings leads the way with 15 points.  Wesley Tucker with 10 of his 14 points in the second half.  James Walker with 14 points as he came up big and showed great energy slashing around the basket

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