Princeton regional: Bureau Valley 64, St. Bede 41
PRINCETON — Marissa Marquis, daughter of the Bureau Valley coach, came to cheer for Monday’s regional opener at Prouty Gym, all decked out in a full cheerleading outfit. Her dad’s Storm gave her plenty to cheer about.
The Storm raced to a 26-4 lead after one quarter and led 37-11 at the half en route to a 64-41 win over St. Bede to advance to Tuesday’s regional semifinal contest against No. 4 seed Rockford Christian.
The Storm beat St. Bede 67-39 during the season with their second meeting canceled by the weather. BV senior Kale Barnett said the Storm knew they couldn’t take the Bruins lightly.
“We knew we couldn’t just come in and think we’d give it to them. We had to play our ball, don’t play down to our level of competition, and we just got things done,” he said. “Everyone contributed, even the bench. When we were in, they were excited and loud, and when they were in, we were excited and loud. It was fun.”
Ten different Storm players scored as all the reserves saw significant minutes in the second half. Noah Johnson led the Storm with 13 points, Nate Paup and Tyler Gustafson had 11 each, and Kale Barnett chipped in nine.
Sophomore Gunner Jauch led the Bruins with 14 points off the bench.
The Storm had a 22-0 run to take a 26-2 lead. Noah Johnson got it started with a steal and a layup. He added a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to stretch the Storm’s lead to 17-2, finishing with nine first-quarter points.
Bureau Valley built a 51-13 cushion midway through the third quarter on a deep 3-pointer by Gustafson and another trey by Dalton Dean.
“They played well, took care of business, executed their stuff, played with energy, played downhill. Credit to our seniors and our bench,” Marquis said. “We had great energy. At times you get up 15, you can start to slack off and get sloppy. They didn’t do that. They executed well all throughout the night.”
St. Bede coach Brian Hanson praised his team for playing hard, because, “it’s not easy going out every night when you’re decidedly the underdogs and do it with enthusiasm.”
“It’s like (the movie) Rocky 4,” he added.
Hanson also said there’s not much you can do when Bureau Valley is playing like that.
“It’s like monkey in the middle. Ball goes this way and we’re turning, then it goes back that way,” he said. “They just played really, really fast. They’re fast and strong. On any given night, they can beat anybody. That’s a good team and I love Jason. He’s a great guy.”
Hanson noted the promise of having both St. Bede’s freshman and sophomores with winning records while praising the nine seniors for always playing hard.
“Even though we didn’t have the kind of record we wanted, those nine guys are going to win in life,” he said. “They’re going to go to good schools, do well and get good jobs. I always say, I try to be nice to them, because I’ll be asking them for a job some day.”
Marquis said the Storm talked “zero” about Rockford Christian before Monday’s game.
“All we talked about was St. Bede. I told the boys to enjoy this until about 9:30 and focus on tomorrow,” he said, noting they would post the scouting report later Monday night for the kids to study.