Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Knights Celebrate Winning First-Ever Championship

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Knights Celebrate Winning First-Ever Championship

Article excerpt

When Francis Howell North beat Rosary in the title game of the Mary Institute/Country Day School Holiday Tournament last week, it marked the Knights' first championship in boys basketball.

It just doesn't seem possible.

"We're a relatively young school. We've had some good teams and some outstanding players, but for some reason, we've never been able to win the big one," coach Bill Moyer said. "We've come close a few times - we lost to Kelly Thames and Jennings one year at Country Day and lost to Ritenour and Eric Bickel a couple of times in the championship game at Union - but we've never been able to pull it out."

Until now. The Knights rallied with a big fourth quarter to beat Rosary 73-56 at MICDS.

"We were down three after three quarters," Moyer said. "We played a good part of the game without (top players) Steve Kuehler and Shawn Lynch, but we managed to hang tough through the first three quarters and then we really picked it up down the stretch."

The Knights outscored the Rebels 28-8 in the final quarter.

"It's nice to get that first-place trophy; we'd won just about everything else at Country Day," Moyer said. "And I was glad to see us win the way we did. Even though we ended up winning by 17, it was a good game against a quality team. It was a championship we worked for and earned."

For their efforts, the Knights are the St. Charles Post Team of the Week.

Howell North dominated the early rounds of the 16-team event at MICDS, beating St. John's (90-43), Brentwood (77-47) and Alton Marquette (73-44) to reach the title game.

"Going in, we believed we were the team to beat. But believing it and making it happen are two different things," Moyer said. "It would've been real easy for us to get down on ourselves against Rosary. But we didn't let that happen.

"We battled to keep the game close and then came on strong late to win it."

The key, Moyer said, was defense.

"We used a zone to protect some guys, but with about 5 1/2 minutes to play, we went to the man-to-man," the coach said. "We shut down Rosary and also were able to get our own offense going."

Third-year starters Kuehler and Lynch played their usual major roles for North. But the team also got solid play from outside threat Tony Martinez, point guard Bob Heimos and juniors Chris Pedersen and Karl Tenkku. …

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