Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.

Two weeks after slotting out of the starting lineup to being the sixth man, St. Anthony’s Michael Martelli might have his coach rethinking that move.

The 5-foot-10 senior drilled a 3-point shot in overtime, sparking a 10-3 run as the Bulldogs defeated a short-handed Charleston squad, 61-51, on Saturday evening.

Charleston falls to 3-5 while St. Anthony moves to 7-4.

“I’m just trying to play my role and get back in there,” he said. “Whatever it takes, however I have to do it. I’m just trying to give our team the best chance to win.”

Martelli hesitated for a moment, got his feet set and made the shot, swishing it with 2:33 remaining.

“I saw Collin (Westendorf) driving down in the paint and my defender started to help in,” he said. “I knew I had to get ready. I got my feet set ready to shoot because I knew he’d kick it out to me. It felt good off my hands and luckily it went in.”

St. Anthony then came out in a full court press inducing a Charleston turnover, but couldn’t capitalize. 

Charleston broke the Bulldog halfcourt trap on their next possession, finding 6’5” senior Charles Hess under the basket for an uncontested layup, but. St. Anthony junior Max Koenig, giving up almost six inches in height tapping the ball from behind, altering Hess’ shot. 

Koenig got back into the offensive zone and was fouled, sinking one of two free throws, extending the St. Anthony lead to four.

Martelli said that sequence was key to the Bulldogs’ overtime win.

“We were keeping up with them a little bit, and trying to chip away,” he said. “After that happened, the flag was on our side. It was a big sequence there that we can learn from it.”

Alexander said the Bulldog pressure was key in the loss.

“I think one of things was that St. Anthony brought a little more pressure in the second half,” he said. “They started the game and thought they could sag a little bit off of us. They brought a little bit more pressure off the press at the halfcourt, and sped it up too fast and caused some turnovers.”

Alexander admitted the lineup was short with a player out sick but the team did what they could.

“We were shortstaffed with just seven guys,” Charleston boys coach A.J. Alexander said. “All of them came and busted their tail for us. I look at the game and they busted their tails defensively. It was a collective effort on the offensive end. We shared the ball pretty dang well. We didn’t have any stars that shined, but we’re getting better and better with playing unselfish basketball and as a team. I love it.”

The Trojans stormed out to a 7-0 lead, with four of those contributed by 6-foot-2 senior Will Applegate. 

Charleston was mostly in control through 3 1/2 quarters, weathering the Bulldogs’ advances.

Set. Anthony took advantage of a turnover, a CHS player slipping and double-dribbling, to go on a 6-0 run and take the lead.

St. Anthony’s 6-foot-3 senior Griffin Sehy made a bucket, cutting the Trojan lead to three. Westendorf, who led all scorers with 18 points, followed up with a score of his own, cutting Charleston’s lead to one. 

The Bulldogs put the full-court press on again, eliciting a Trojan turnover that led to a fadeaway jumper by Koenig, who gave St. Anthony its first lead with just over a minute remaining. 

Play got chippy under the home basket, and Applegate was called for a technical. Sehy made the pair of free throws to put his squad ahead by three.

But Applegate then sank two free throws to tie the score at 46 which stood after the Bulldogs missed the winning shot.

“There were a couple tough calls,” Applegate said. “They had a lot of momentum there. It just didn’t go our way. We fought hard and came back and tied it up with two free throws. We did what we could do, but the calls didn’t go our way. It just didn’t turn out.”

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CHARLESTON – Spour 0 1-2 1, Bonstetler 4 2-2 14, Applegate 3 7-8 13, T. Oakley 1 0-0 3, Hess 4 6-9 15, C. Oakley 1 2-4 5. Three-pointers: Bonstetler 4, T. Oakley 1, Hess 1, C. Oakley 1. Totals:13 18-25 51.

ST. ANTHONY – Link 1 0-0 2, C. Westendorf 5 3-4 18, Fearday 6 2-3 14, Sehy 4 4-4 13, Koenig 3 2-4 8, Martelli 2 1-1 6. Three-pointers: C. Westendorf 1, Sehy 1, Martelli 1. Totals: 23 12-16 61.