Gibault's basketball team walked into their rival's stadium - the O-Dome - of Okawville High School on Saturday night to face the always-tough Rockets in the title game of the Okawville Invitational. The Hawks are having a strong season at 14-6, while the boys of Washington County are a state ranked small school who had only lost two games all season (17-2) coming into this match-up. Okawville was riding a seven-game win streak, while the Catholic boys of Waterloo notched five in a row. The grandstands were filled and noisy for the tourney's title game. With two strong teams, only one would go home with the big trophy.
Gibault came out of the gates shooting hot and playing tight defense. Time after time down the court the Hawks shooters found nothing but net. After one quarter of play, Gibault had a 15-4 lead. Both teams settled into a steady rhythm in the second quarter with each team putting up 10 points. The Hawks went into halftime with a comfortable 25-14 lead. Play was also consistent in the third period with both teams putting 11 points on the scoreboard. Into the fourth quarter, Okawville's defense tightened up and Gibault's shots began to miss the mark on a few occasions. GHS was also whistled for more than their share of fouls in the second half - Karson Huels (4), Josh Besserman (4), Logan Doerr (3) and Collin Kessler (5). Kessler fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter is when Okawville began to hit on all cylinders - outscoring the Hawks 17-12 in the final frame. The Rockets pulled to within two (44-42) with 1:14 to go in the game. With the pressure on their back, Gibault found the confidence and poise to settle down and get their job done. The Hawks played smart defense, pulling down several key last-minute rebounds. They also sank clutch free throws with the game on the line, including a pair by Ryan Gool with 8 seconds to play. Gool's shots put the game out of reach for the home team.
When the final buzzer sounded, Gibault won the game 48-42, and took home yet another trophy to add to the team's illustrious award's case. Gibault's offense was led by Trevor Davis (16), Collin Kessler (12) and Ryan Gool (11). The Hawks' top rebounders were Davis (8), Logan Doerr (5), Ryan Gool (5) and Collin Kessler (5). Also a key to Gibault was their steals - Davis had 3 and Huels - 2.
"This was a complete team effort," said Davis. "Besides the starting five, we had strong play from the bench, including Josh (Besserman) and Logan (Doerr), who all contributed to this win." Davis said tough games like this will hopefully give the team confidence as the playoffs roll around next month. Davis was named to the All-Tournament Team.