The St. Paul’s Concordia boys basketball team may be the best kept secret when it comes to basketball near the Kansas City area.
With just two losses on the season, one against the Higginsville Huskers and another against the Knob Noster Panthers, the Saints beat another good opponent last night at home in the Pilot Grove Tigers by a score of 52-40.
Of course the game was a lot closer than the final score as Pilot Grove trailed by just three (11-8) after first period’s end and 10 (27-17) at the break. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, the Tigers outscored St. Pauls 13-10 to cut the lead back to seven at 37-30. Unfortunately for Pilot Grove, they would get no closer in the final period as the Saints held a 15-10 advantage to win by 12.
Pilot Grove coach Rick Grunden said if you look down the list of similar opponents that both share, you will see that they have dominated each team.  
“I think it might be fair to say that this is one of the best teams that we have faced this season,” Grunden said.  “In all, we didn't play a bad game.  Our defense managed to hold them to 52 points and although the score may not show it most of the game was close.  In fact, at one point in the second half we cut it to within three.  However, foolish turnovers on our part time and time again allowed them to take the game away from us.  Additionally, several times in the game our shooting was as cold as the temperature outside.  Although no individual shined for us offensively, Kendall Kraus worked his tail off on the court and battled his way all night long.
“Jake Leverton, Mason Schlotzhauer, and Regan Meisenheimer each hit some key shots for us that gave us important momentum swings.  Additionally, Dylan Twenter  and Adam Newell pulled down some big rebounds.  I can't say enough about how much Colton Glenn has surprised me this season with his leadership skills and team management on the court.  I know I have some kids who are pretty down right now.  We have had a rough week and a half.  They are competitors, and in this program we don't just hope to win ballgames, we expect to win ballgames. Period.  It is that determination and desire that will carry us in to the start of our conference play.”
Elijah Rodewald had the game-high for St. Pauls with 13 points.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 14-6 on the season, Jake Leverton had nine, Kendall Kraus, Dylan Twenter and Mason Schlotzhauer eight each, Regan Meisenheimer with five and Colton Glenn with two.
St. Paul’s also won the JV boys game against Pilot Grove 22-17.
In that game, Brandon Brown tallied eight while Ben Glenn chipped in four.
As for the Pilot Grove girls, they fell on the road as well by a score of 66-53.
The Lady Tigers, dropping to 5-13 on the season, actually led St. Paul’s 19-15 after first period’s end but was outscored 13-8 in the second quarter to trail at the break by a score of 28-27. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, Pilot Grove again outscored St. Paul’s 17-14 to go up by a score of 44-42. Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, they had no answer for the Saints in the final period as St. Paul’s held a 4-9 scoring edge for the victory.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said this game was a shootout and a lot of fun to watch.
“Going into St. Paul, we knew we were going to have to shoot the ball well to stay close and quite frankly both teams shot the lights out of the ball, and St. Paul was able to make more in the end than we did,” Daniel said. “This was the second game in a row where as a team we hit 10 threes but we went cold in the fourth quarter.
“St. Paul had six girls with over eight points and we have to give them credit because when we had to start fouling they hit their free throws in the end going 11 for 20 in the fourth quarter alone, but I’m super proud of the girls for really playing hard all game and for having a shot to come away with what would have been a great win for us.”
Tiffany Bennett led three players in double figures for St. Pauls with 17 while Madison Pitsch added 13 and Manssa Brockman 10.
For Pilot Grove, Kerigan Wessing had 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and one blocked shot.
Melissa Schlotzhauer, meanwhile, finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot while McKalie Lorenz added eight points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one steal, Cynthia Brumback with three points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal, McKenzi Schuster with three points, three rebounds and two assists and Katelyn Renfro with three rebounds and one assist.