CLARKSON — The book on Humphrey St. Francis’ 2015-16 boys basketball season isn’t closed quite yet.
Though Mead ousted the Flyers 50-39 in a battle of two of Class D-2’s top three teams in the Class D2-3 Subdistrict final Thursday night at Clarkson, HSF apparently will get a reprieve.
Both HSF coach Eric Kessler and Raiders coach P.J. Quinn expect the Flyers to draw a wildcard bid to the State Boys Basketball Tournament based on HSF’s second-place showing in the D-2 wildcard standings as of Thursday morning.
In fact, Quinn surmised that both teams would reach the state D-2 finals and he would welcome a rematch. He said the Raiders will face Riverside Tuesday in the D2-2 district final, and if defeated, Quinn thought the Raiders would garner the other wildcard bid as it sits atop the wildcard leader board.
In both teams’ first meeting this season, the Raiders’ man-to-man defense kept HSF on its toes in a rather physical game and the pressure eventually wore down HSF late in the fourth. The Flyers, top-rated in Class D, were forced to drive to the hoop or shoot short jumpers as its long-range game proved ineffective.
While Mead led for much of the game, Humphrey St. Francis ensured that the Raiders didn’t maintain a large one by using a 1-3-1 defense for most of the game and pressuring its guards in the back court. Mead led by just one after the first, five at halftime and only four heading into the fourth.
The Raiders’ Tristan Hoover scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the first half, while Damien Baumgart sank seven of his 10 points in the first two quarters for the Flyers.
HSF claimed the lead for the first time at 35-34 on a Kyle Wemhoff free throw with 4:31 left that capped a 6-0 run that started at 6:47. Carson Weidner and Riley Jarosz hit a layup and jumper in the paint, contributing to that rally.
But the Flyers committed several turnovers caused by ball handling, mental errors on passing and Raider steals in the final minutes that allowed Mead to take advantage as the Flyers could not score until Weidner’s trey to cut the deficit to 43-38 with 45.1 seconds left. Then HSF was forced to foul in the remaining seconds, allowing Mead to extend its lead on free throws. Baumgart scored the Flyers’ last point on a free throw with 41 seconds left.
Free throws played a critical role as the Raiders made 20 of 25 for 80 percent, compared to 7 of 16 for HSF. Hoover and Josh Quinn, the coach’s younger son, sank 8 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter alone — combining for a 13 of 16 effort for the game.
Mead also snared more defensive rebounds than the Flyers — 26 to 16. The Raiders hit 16 of 48 from the field, compared to 17 of 57 for HSF.
The Raiders move to 22-2 as the Flyers drop to 23-2 — with its other loss to Twin River by nine in overtime last Friday.
Mead (22-2)............................8 14 11 17 — 50
HSF (23-2)..............................7 10 12 10 — 39
M: Tristan Hoover 4-9, 6-8, 15; Alex Quinn 2-6, 2-2, 7; Josh Quinn 1-1, 7-8, 9; Zach Pickworth 2-2, 0-0, 4; Timothy Hughes 3-5, 1-2, 7; Daniel Liese 0-2, 1-2, 1; Dylan Taylor 2-8, 3-3, 7.
HSF: Kyle Wemhoff 1-4, 4-4, 6; Damien Baumgart 4-15, 1-4, 10; Carson Weidner 3-8, 0-0, 7; Pierce Eisenmenger 1-3,0-0, 2; Noah McPhillips 2-4, 1-5, 5; Riley Jarosz 3-4, 1-2, 7.