There's something about the game of basketball, and its tendency to go down to the last shot, that makes coaches consider investing in a season-long stockpile of antacids.
Wednesday night's game between St. Bernard and Mater Dei was one of those. Visiting Mater Dei won, 56-53, in overtime on point guard Mark Ramstack's three-point play, but the game was enough to leave both coaches clutching their stomachs.
Said St. Bernard Coach Jim McClune, whose Vikings fell to 3-4 in league and 15-6 overall: "My blood pressure is still level, and there's a reasonable amount of acidity in my digestive system. But our four losses in league have been by a total of 10 points. There must be a more merciful way to lose."
Said Coach Gary McKnight of Mater Dei, now 6-1 in league and 15-6 overall: "These games are always like this. This league is the best in the Big Five (Conference). Every night you've got to go to war just to survive."
The last shot in Wednesday night's war was fired by St. Bernard guard Mark Raveling, but his desperation three-pointer at the buzzer fell short. Ramstack had given Mater Dei the winning basket 12 seconds earlier when he sank a driving layup, was fouled, and connected on the free throw.
Mater Dei's big gun all night, however, was forward Kevin Rembert, who led all scorers with 26 points. When St. Bernard opened a 13-point lead in the second quarter, Rembert's clutch shooting trimmed that to three. Rembert also brought the Monarchs to within three in the third quarter, erasing a 34-23 St. Bernard lead.
In the fourth quarter, Rembert gave Mater Dei a 49-47 lead with an emphatic slam when Ramstack fed him with a halfcourt pass through the Vikings' press.
"Rembert doesn't get to do as much as he can at Mater Dei because he plays on a pretty evenly balanced team," McClune said. "But tonight he dug down deep and showed he's a really outstanding basketball player."
Ramstack finished with 7 points, center Char Ruppel added 11, and guard Dillon Rigdon had a pair of three-pointers in the first half for Mater Dei.
Ed Stokes, 6-10 center, led St. Bernard with 17 points, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one at the end of the fourth quarter that could have clinched the game for the Vikings. Aron Williams added 9 points for St. Bernard, Juno Armstrong and Keith Brown had 8 apiece, and forward Eric Nelson, who was averaging 16 points per game, was held to 7.