North Technical Boys Basketball Wins Lutheran SCC Nike Classic
By Jim Wieners
For the first time in a very long time the North Technical High School Boys Basketball team has won a tournament and it took place last weekend at Lutheran High School-St. Charles County in St. Peters, adjacent to that city’s Rec-Plex.
North Tech, a high school with no freshmen and all transfers from other high schools in St. Louis County, not only won Nike Cougar Classic for the first time the Golden Eagles defeated host Lutheran St. Charles County 63-60 in the tournament championship game. It is not know when they last won a tournament but the writer of this article, a 1975 North Tech graduate, remembered that in 1974 North Tech, known that time as the “Yanks” won the Windsor (Imperial, Mo.) Tournament and defeated Special School District rival South Tech (“Rebels” now “Hawks”) in the championship game. South Tech, today, does not compete in athletics.
Lutheran SC took charge in the first half scoring the first eight points and took a 23-17 lead to the second quarter. It was a 37-31 Cougar lead as the teams headed to the locker room at half time after a 14-14 second quarter. “The kids,” said North Tech head coach Don Boyce, “they didn’t give up.” And North Tech had fan support in nearly a quarter of the Alice Achelpohl Arena, a small LSC gymnasium
The first 3:11 of the third quarter saw the Golden Eagles on a 10-4 run to tie the game at 41-41 and going into the start of the fourth quarter the game was tied 46-46. What helped North Tech in the second half is holding down the turnovers to four, according to Boyce and it paid off in the fourth quarter as the Eagles outscored the Cougars 17-14.
What helped the North Tech is playing in front the opponents home crowd including a student rooting section pounding the bleachers every time the Golden Eagles were at the free throw line leading Boyce to say “They are mentally tough. We settled down and tightened up” and defensive rotation picked up.
Ni’Sean Rigmaiden scored a game-high 29 points and made nine out of 12 free throws including two with five seconds left to seal the title. For his efforts including a 45-point effort in the tournament Rigmaiden was named Tournament Most Valuable Player. Cameron Ussery and Kevin James were named to the All-Tournament team. “They are gelling as a team,” Boyce said.
North Tech got to the championship game with wins over St. Louis Priory, 54-36, and Lift for Life Academy Charter, 57-39. James and Rigmaiden each scored 14 against Priory while Michael Henderson-Burt scored 14 against Lift for Life Academy.
North Tech will be in the Moberly Shootout, Dec. 28 at 2:30, against Booneville.
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