For the first time in eight days, and since feasting throughout Thanksgiving Break, the Waynesville boys basketball team played a tough St. Clair team on Tuesday night in the second regular season game.
Waynesville was outscored by St. Clair 16-8 in the final quarter, but held on to win 57-50.
The time away from the court wasn't what created problems for the young Waynesville squad. According to Coach Chris Pilz the problem was "foul trouble."
Sophomore forward Juwan Morgan, who battled his way to a double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds) in the season opener committed three fouls in the first half and played only about eight minutes in the first half.
Senior guard D.J. Hargrow was in foul trouble of his own, but still led the Tigers to victory with a game-high 16 points.
"[We were] on the road for the first time and got ourselves in some situations where we were touching and grabbing, holding and pushing," Pilz said.
The coach considered Tuesday's game "learning experience" for his team.
Nick Crabtree, a 6-foot-3-inch junior forward, who didn't see any playing time against Glendale on Nov. 19, "got and opportunity and was ready to play," Pilz said. Crabtree, who came off the bench, didn't record any points but his hustle provided a much needed spark for Waynesville's defense.
In the first three quarters St. Clair was held to 12 points or less and was outscored 49-34.
While Pilz was impressed with his team's ability to build a lead, he acknowledged that his Tigers must improve in the latter minutes of future contests.
"We built a good lead...[but St. Clair] hit some really tough shots," Pilz said. "We took a couple bad shots and turned it over a couple of times."
These are things that must certainly improve as the schedule gets tougher but at least Waynesville was able to hang on and generate a precious win to go to 2-0.
The Tigers will play a tough Hickman team Saturday at 5 p.m.