Mehlville boys finish disappointing season in strong fashion

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Imagine going through a whole season and winning just three games.

That’s exactly what the Mehlville Senior High School boys’ basketball team faced last week when it entered the District 5 tournament with a 3-21 record.

Yet that did not phase the Panthers as they posted a 35-34 upset over Oakville in the quarterfinals before losing to the Lind-bergh High Flyers 51-39 in the district semifinal.

“We had played Oakville earlier in the year, and they beat us by about 14,” Mehl-ville head coach Andy Guethle told the Call. “We were playing with a lot of confidence, and it was a very exciting win for us.”

Against Lindbergh, the Panthers (4-22, 0-8 Suburban West) held on to a 10-10 tie after the first quarter before falling behind 25-22 at halftime. Mehlville pulled within two points as Lindbergh tightly held on to a 33-31 lead after three quarters.

But it was the fourth quarter that became the deciding factor for the Panthers as Lindbergh went on an 18-8 run en route to the Flyers’ 51-39 win over Mehlville.

“We played Lindbergh pretty tough,” Guethle said. “The kids were playing with a lot of confidence, but down the stretch we took some ill-advised shots and we were fatigued.”

The Mehlville head coach was quick to give credit where it was due when it came to Lindbergh.

“You can’t take anything away from Lindbergh,” Guethle said. “They’re strong and deep and play a pretty physical game.”

Mehlville was led by David Williams’ 16-point effort that also included 10 re-bounds.

The junior guard also racked up one steal while shooting six of nine from the field and four of five from the free-throw line.

“David had some flashes of being a pretty dominant player (against Lindbergh),” Guethle said. “He came off the Oakville game with just four points, so he really bounced back in that game.”

The Panthers will lose just one senior to graduation this season — 6-foot-1 forward Ben Kellison.

Kellison appeared in 23 games this season, where he averaged nearly one point and 1.3 rebounds a game.

Guethle believes that with a year of experience under its belt, Mehlville is poised to make strides next season. That’s coupled with some hard work in the off-season.

“We’re going to have to work hard in the off-season,” Guethle said. “I was most proud of the way we finished the last week of the season.

“A lot of teams would have packed it in at the end of the season. But I always tell our kids that good things happen to those who work hard.”