The St. Paul boys basketball team could only slow one of the top offenses in the state for only so long, then fell 78-33 to No. 4 Crosshill Christian in Salem in the final road game of the Buckaroos' Casco League schedule.
Taking on the third-best offense at the 1A level, the Buckaroos (9-14, 8-5 Casco) kept things slow in the opening half of the first quarter in an attempt to limit a Crosshill team averaging nearly 70 points a game.
Senior guard T.J. Crawford scored the first five points of the contest for the Bucks, who held an 8-2 lead after the first five minutes of play. But the floodgates eventually opened for the Eagles, who went on an 8-0 run to end the quarter.
Crosshill (22-2, 14-0) continued its run in the second period, scoring the first eight points of the quarter to build a double-digit advantage before junior forward Adam Cook scored to break a nine-minute scoreless streak for the Bucks and cut their deficit to 18-10.
Cook scored two more field goals in the quarter, but St. Paul was unable to halt the Eagles' offense, which put up 21 points in the quarter to take a 31-14 advantage heading into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Crosshill Christian continued to put its foot on the gas, connecting on five three-pointers in the third quarter and outscoring the Bucks 31-7.
While the game was thoroughly out of reach in the fourth quarter, St. Paul did find some purchase on offense to end the game. Junior forward Broden Lear hit a pair of three-pointers and freshman Hunter Naumann came off the bench to score the final two field goals for the Bucks.
Crawford led St. Paul with eight points, followed by six each from Lear and Cook and four from Naumann. Seniors Hayden Scott and Gianni Grasso each knocked down a three-pointer in the loss.
Junior Andrew Stoddard led the Eagles with 22 points, while senior post Evan Dallum followed with 18.
St. Paul wraps up the regular season with Senior Night on Tuesday against the Falls City Mountaineers (16-7, 9-4).
The two teams played in January, with the Mountaineers earning a 62-50 win.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.