Last winter was the first time the Saxony Lutheran boys basketball team had ever defeated its crosstown rival Notre Dame, and the Crusaders picked up their second-straight win over the Bulldogs last Friday night.
Saxony (8-8) did so this time on Notre Dame’s home court even though the Bulldogs outshot the Crusaders from 3-point range by knocking down 10 treys.
The Crusaders finished with eight 3s of their own as Saxony breakout junior Jon Hartmann made four of his own, while senior guard Max Richey hit three as well.
“Max Richey hitting a couple 3s was big — he made as many tonight as he has all year,” Saxony head coach Justin Callahan said. “Not that he isn’t capable of making 3s, but he hasn’t shot very many. We encourage him, and we know he can do it.
“We hit eight 3s and that’s been a focus — when we lost to St. Vincent in the Valle Christmas Tournament, we went 1-for-13 from the 3-point line. After that game, we said, ‘We can’t do that. That’s not an option,’ so we’ve been shooting a lot in practice.”
Hartmann and Richey also each finished with 16 points, as did junior forward Luke Eggemeyer, who missed a few games at the beginning of the season, for the three to combine for 75% of their team’s scoring.
Saxony’s big three led the Crusaders to a 10-point, 64-54 victory over Notre Dame (7-10) after beating the Bulldogs by 15 points at 61-46 one year ago. Eggemeyer was the Crusaders third-leading scorer with 12 points in last season’s win.
“To come over here and beat them at their place feels very good — it’s a sweet victory for the kids,” Coach Callahan said. “Three years ago, we had lost to Notre Dame by 50 points. The kids tonight just came out ready to play and really wanted to get this done. They played very well from the get-go and were hitting shots. They came ready to play.”
Saxony also had nice contributions off the bench as sophomores Wes Kiehne and Owen Buchheit each played “quality minutes.” Kiehne and Buchheit combined for 11 points with six and five, respectively, while Owen also knocked down a trey.
Leading the scoring attack for Notre Dame was the 3-point shooting tandem of guards senior Reece Callow and sophomore Kolton Johnson, who combined for seven 3s with four and three, respectively. All of Callow’s points (12) came from beyond the arc, while Johnson also had a field goal to pace Reece with 11.
In this year’s Christmas Tournament, Johnson helped the Bulldogs set a new single-game 3-point record with 17 as a team by making seven of his own for a career-high 35 points in a 101-40 win over Meadow Heights. Callow paced him with six triples for 21 points of his own in the contest.
“We knew coming in that Johnson was just a great shooter for Notre Dame, and they’ve been really trying to get him the ball recently and get those 3s,” Callahan said. “They’ve got others who can shoot, too, but we didn’t want Johnson to go off, so I thought we held him in check pretty well. We can live with him hitting three 3s.”
Also scoring in double figures was sophomore forward Brett Dohogne as he came up with 10 points. Outside of Callow and Johnson, Notre Dame’s three other triples came from junior guard Carson Essner (five points), sophomore Logan Landewee (three), and junior forward Will Thurston (three).
Back after losing to St. Vincent in the Valle Christmas Tournament on Dec. 27 to make the Crusaders 2-6 overall, Saxony has gone 6-2 since then while currently being on a three-game winning streak. Saxony ended up winning the consolation championship of the Christmas tournament, while taking fourth in the Rolla “Duke” Herbert Classic in November and recently won third place at the Chester Invitational Tournament.
“We’ve got district opponents coming up in Kelly (9-9) and Scott City (5-12) coming up, so we want to keep getting better,” Coach Callahan said. “It’s no one’s fault, but our soccer team made it to the final four, so we were three weeks behind everybody else except for a few other teams with football.
“Then throw in Luke’s foot injury, and he played in the Christmas Tournament a little bit, but he wasn’t ready to play. We’ve also had players miss with illnesses like Landon Ochs, and he didn’t practice for like a week and a half. I think getting healthy and having time in the gym now — things are starting to come together.”
Following Thursday’s home game versus Scott City, Saxony will then travel to Doniphan (12-5) on Friday and to St. Vincent (10-8) Tuesday. The Crusaders have fallen to the Indians twice this season (49-36 and 53-50).