Host Tigers to meet top-seeded Sullivan in semifinals Friday.
The fourth-seeded host St. James High School boys' basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the 69th annual St. James Tournament by defeating fifth-seeded Licking 59-42 in first-round action Monday.
The St. James Tigers are scheduled to play top-seeded Sullivan at 8 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Sullivan advanced by holding off the upset bid by eighth-seeded Union 61-52 on Monday.
In Tuesday's first-round games second-seeded Blair Oaks played seventh-seeded Salem while third-seeded Rolla took on sixth-seeded Newburg.
In consolation action on Thursday the Blair Oaks-Salem loser is to play the Rolla-Newburg loser at 6 p.m. while Licking plays Union at 7:30 p.m.
In other games on Friday the seventh-place game is slated for 5 p.m. and the Rolla-Newburg winner plays the Blair Oaks-Salem winner at 6:30 p.m. in semifinal play.
On Saturday the fifth-place game is set for 5 p.m., the third-place game for 6:30 p.m. and the championship game for 8 p.m.
St. James 59, Licking 42
A big second period allowed the St. James Tigers to pull away from the Licking Wildcats for their eighth consecutive victory.
St. James, now 9-3, took as much as an eight-point lead in the first period. Senior forward Zach Dean converted a fastbreak layup with 1:47 remaining in the first period to give the Tigers a 15-7 lead. Licking then called timeout and promptly scored the final five points of the quarter. And a 15-foot jumper by 5-10 senior guard Jake Hood with one second left cut the Tiger lead to 15-12 entering the second quarter.
A 10-foot jumper by 6-4 senior forward Levi Witt off an inbounds play upped the St. James lead to 19-14. However, the Wildcats reeled off nine unanswered points to take the edge. And a three-pointer by 5-10 junior Mason Porter at the 4:04 mark gave Licking its largest lead of the game, 23-19.
The Tigers stormed back into the lead before the half concluded. St. James went on a 7-0 run to end the half, and a three-pointer by 5-10 senior guard Cody Birkner with :34 remaining gave STJ a 28-25 halftime edge.
After Licking cut its deficit to two points early in the third period, St. James reeled off 11 unanswered points. And a driving layup by 6-0 senior guard Jamal Sconiers at the 1:56 mark of the third period gave the Tigers a 13-point advantage, 40-27.
St. James outscored Licking 16-7 in the third quarter and took a 44-32 lead into the fourth period.
With St. James hitting 10 free throws in the fourth period, the Tiger advantage would not dip below eight points in the quarter. The Tigers scored the game's final eight points.
Logan Courtois, a 6-0 junior guard, had 16 points and 6-6 senior forward Addison Conway added 14 points to pace the Tigers.
Zach Melton, a 6-2 senior, had 11 points for Licking, now 8-6.
St. James (9-3): Money 0-1-1, Birkner 3-2-9, Dean 1-0-2, L. Courtois 9-5-16, Sconiers 2-2-6, Rogers 1-2-4, R. Courtois 0-1-1, Conway 5-4-14, Witt 3-0-6, Totals 24-17-59.
Licking (8-6): Hood 3-1-8, Duncan 3-3-9, Ingram 1-0-2, Porter 2-0-6, Melton 5-0-11, Heithold 3-0-6, Totals 17-4-42.