OHS Holds Annual Okawville Invitational Tournament

Bennett Krohne, Staff Writer

On Monday, January 6, Okawville kicked off its annual Okawville Invitational Tournament. The pool-play tournament consisted of 8 teams: the Okawville Rockets, the Gibault Hawks, the Wesclin Warriors, the Roxana Shells, the Columbia Eagles, the Carlyle Indians, the Alton Marquette Explorers, and the Highland Bulldogs. Pool A contained Okawville, Gibault, Wesclin, and Roxana, while Pool B was made up of Columbia, Carlyle, Highland, and Alton Marquette. 

To start the tournament, the Pool A teams faced off. In the first game, Okawville went up against the Gibault Hawks. Gibault came out strong, but the Rockets were able to hold on; the Rockets trailed by only five points at halftime. Throughout the third, the Hawks went on a 14-4 run and were able to run away with it, the final score being 53-27. Later that night, the Wesclin Warriors defeated the Roxana Shells 52-34 in a hard-fought battle.

The next day, it was Pool B’s turn to face off. During the first game, the Eagles of Columbia beat the Carlyle Indians 64-51. The next game was a close battle between Alton Marquette and Highland; Alton Marquette took the victory with a 53-48 win over the Bulldogs. Both contests were fought very hard. 

A few days later, on Thursday, January 19, the losing teams of both pools clashed. To start the day, Okawville and Roxana duked it out. Both teams started at what seemed to be the same pace. Throughout the second quarter, the Rockets started to pull away and by the start of the fourth quarter, Okawville ran away with it, the final score being 57-43. Senior Dillon Teter recorded an impressive 4 three-pointers in the contest. Later that day, the Bulldogs of Highland and the Carlyle Indians played. The Bulldogs were able to defeat the Indians, 69-55. 

That next day, the winning teams of the first few brawls of each pool competed. In the first game, Wesclin and Gibault played. The Warriors defeated Gibault 71-60 in a hard-fought match. In the second game, Columbia defeated Alton Marquette 65-48 in a fast-paced duel. With that game having ended, the bracket had been set for the championship, third place, consolation championship/fifth place, and seventh place games. 

To start the final day of the Okawville Invitational Tournament, Carlyle and Roxana competed for the seventh-place spot. In a close game, the Indians were able to conquer the Shells 46-40. Right after that game, Okawville played the Highland Bulldogs for the consolation championship. The game started very strongly. Both teams matched one another’s intensity. The Rockets led the Bulldogs 18-16 at the half. In the third quarter, the Bulldogs came out strong and outscored the Rockets 15-7; the score heading into the fourth was 35-25, Highland. Throughout the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs continued to pull away and were able to defeat Okawville 48-36 to secure the consolation championship/fifth place. Next, the Gibault Hawks defeated the Explorers from Alton Marquette 60-50 to secure the third-place spot. Finally, for the championship game, the Wesclin Warriors took on the Columbia Eagles. In a very intense and energetic playoff, the Warriors fell to the Eagles 59-48. The Columbia Eagles were named the 2023 Okawville Invitational Tournament Champions. 

Following the championship game, 8 players were named to the all-tournament team. The all-tourney athletes were Sam Donald, Jack Steckler, and Dylan Murphy all from Columbia, Seth Macke and Grant Fridley from Wesclin, Gavin Kesler from Gibault, Matthew Guthrie from Carlyle, and Braden Kline from Alton Marquette. The Dave Luechtefeld Defense Award was awarded to Grant Fridley from Wesclin.
This year’s Okawville Invitational Tournament had a great turnout. All participating teams represented their schools very well and did a great job of competing fairly. Our Rockets finished the tournament in 6th place with a record of 1-2.