The sign above the entrance to the De Smet Jesuit cafeteria laid out the Spartans’ agenda Friday night against rival Chaminade: “Exorcise the Red Devils.”
But after an emotional last second Chaminade win on a Jayson Tatum buzzer beater ten days ago, the Red Devils (10-7) followed it up with a physical 71-59 victory in Spartan Country.
Tatum, one of a trio of heralded freshmen, led Chaminade in scoring with 18 points. Junior Damon Patterson added 15, while senior Andy Kleinlein had 12 and junior Grant Hollander added 11.
Chaminade Head Coach Kelvin Lee said he told his team to prepare for a "bloodbath" against the Spartans.
“I think we came out and controlled the game right from the beginning. We got a lead, we hit shots,” he said.
"We can play extremely hard when we want to. We play together well and play defense, we have fun,” Tatum said.
The teams were tied at 12 after the first quarter but a pair of Kleinlein three pointers and one by Hollander gave the Red Devils a second quarter edge and after a pair of Brandon Shackleford free throws cut the lead to 39-35 in third, the Spartans (10-5) would get no closer.
De Smet Jesuit’s Nolan Berry led all scorers with 20 points, but was met all night by Berry was met with physical play inside early from Chaminade’s trio of big men, Jack Hummell, Tyler Cook and Will Gladson. That, combined with an unkind De Smet iron made it particularly hard on the Butler bound senior, who finished the night sitting on the bench with a bloody nose from a scrum with less than five seconds left.
“I couldn’t get any shots to go. They were playing good physical defense and it kind of took me off my game a little bit offensively but you know, I try to stay aggressive still look for my shot, not try to pass anything up, just wouldn’t fall tonight,” said Berry, who made his first home start of the season after returning from a pair of broken arms in the preseason.
“We struggled to make shots and that led to frustration, and the game was extremely physical and that was hard to get a rhythm when shots don’t go in and when a game’s that physical it was really hard to get in a rhythm and we never got our heads screwed on right,” De Smet Jesuit Head Coach Kevin Poelker said.
Poelker’s club will look to get back in rhythm Monday in the Ameritime Tournament at Missouri Baptist University against Lafayette. If the teams win out, a rematch with Hazelwood Central could loom Friday.
Lee said he’s seen a different team since his squad lost against John Burroughs in Chaminade’s Christmas tournament. Since then, Tatum, who can play four spots on the floor, has taken over at point guard, and Lee is seeing improved play from Patterson, and Kleinlein.
The Red Devils host Lutheran North Tuesday, with a third shot at CBC at home on the Horizon next Friday.