POTOSI — The basketball found Fredericktown center Nick Oertel several times on Friday night, and the Blackcats capitalized on enough mistakes by their opponents to leave the Potosi Tournament with a victory.
The 6-foot-8 Oertel gathered 20 rebounds and scored 14 points to lead Fredericktown past the host squad 49-37 in the 5th-place game.
Senior guard Alex Branum netted 13 points for the Blackcats (1-1), and converted a pivotal 3-point play off a high floating back shot to begin the fourth quarter after Potosi had closed to within 34-29.
Aaron Vinson and Dylan Coleman shared high scoring honors with 15 points, but that duo was forced to carry the offensive workload for Potosi (1-2).
Coleman notched 13 rebounds to compete his double-double, and managed to avert heavy foul trouble after quickly picking up his first two.
The Trojans could not overcame a slow start after making just two field goals and committing eight turnovers in the first quarter. A tipped putback from Oertel capped an initial 10-2 Fredericktown run.
Branum buried two triples during a third quarter that saw the Blackcats claim two separate 12-point leads. A steal and layup from Justin Sawyer restored a 34-22 margin with 1:51 to play in the period.
Potosi mounted a moderate threat with a quick 7-0 run, including a pair of transition putbacks from Coleman and Vinson off turnovers, but could never draw within one possession.
Sawyer converted another of his five steals into a difficult slashing finish, and Oertel followed a miss to make it 43-33 in the waning moments.
Jake Korokis chipped in nine points for the Blackcats, who made 9-of-14 free throws while Potosi had just two attempts from the line.
Vinson provided a rare first-half highlight for the Trojans, using a dazzling behind-the-back dribble to finish on the fast break after swiping a pass near the midcourt stripe.
Potosi 4 9 16 8 – 37
Fredericktown 13 9 12 15 – 49
Potosi – Aaron Vinson 15, Dylan Coleman 15, Colby Eckhoff 3, Dallas Seim 2, Luke Jacobsen 2. 3-point FG – Vinson, Eckhoff. (FT: 1-2)
Fredericktown – Nick Oertel 14, Alex Branum 13, Jake Korokis 9, Justin Sawyer 6, Jeremy Gremminger 4, Jeremy Pridemore 1. 3-point FG – Branum 2. (FT: 9-14)