Having split with Crosshill Christian and Willamette Valley Christian earlier in the week, St. Paul could have punched its ticket to the Casco League district tournament with a win at Jewell Feb. 14

The Blue Jays dashed those hopes by racing past the Bucks 62-40 to secure the No. 4 seed at districts.

Entering the game, St. Paul head coach Vince Drago said he believed that a loss would drop the Bucks into a fifth-place tie with Perrydale, but that because the Pirates had beaten second-place Crosshill, Perrydale would get the tournament bid and his team’s season would be over.

Before the bus ride to Jewell, Drago was informed that if the Bucks did lose, a neutral-court playoff game would be staged versus the Pirates Saturday.

Unfortunately, St. Paul was unable to take advantage of its second chance, falling 52-40 to Perrydale at Gaston High School.

The Bucks (9-13, 6-8 Casco) opened the week by shooting the ball well at Crosshill Christian, but a seven-point third quarter ceded control to the high scoring Eagles, who nailed 10 three-pointers en route to a 59-48 win Feb 11. Cody Southerland scored 19 points in the loss, with Tyler Smith adding 14.

St. Paul got off to a slow start at home Feb. 12 versus Willamette Valley Christian and trailed 4-3 after one quarter, but outscored the Warriors 14-4 in each of the next two quarters en route to a 43-33 win. Southerland again led the Bucks with 12 points and Cody Faber pitched in with nine.

The difference in the loss to Jewell was Ryan Harhart, who poured in 37 points to lead the Blue Jays to the emphatic win.

Against the Pirates, the Bucks jumped out to a 10-2, but sputtered offensively from that point on, combining to score just 26 points in the final three quarters. A 2-for-9 shooting performance in the third quarter, when the game was still close, proved to be especially fatal.

Southerland finished his final game with 11 points and Smith scored 12 as St. Paul, which will move to the 2A Tri-River Conference in the fall, said goodbye to the Casco League for at least the next years.

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