By Jason Maholy
St. Laurence did its best to keep up with the frenetic pace with which Bogan plays when the two faced off last week in a sectional semifinal contest.
In the end, the Vikings simply ran out of gas against the bigger, stronger and more athletic Bengals.
They also had no answer for the biggest, strongest and most athletic player on the floor – Bogan’s 6-foot-8 senior forward Rashaun Agee.
The high-flying, slam-dunking Agee scored 36 points – 20 of them in the fourth quarter – as the Bengals topped the Vikings 74-60 in a Class 3A St. Laurence Sectional Semifinal on March 9. Agee scored half of his points on an array of jams, including one of the reverse variety late in the final quarter.
St. Laurence’s season ended at sectionals for the second consecutive year, and coach Jim Sexton has his program on a strong foundation. The Vikings (27-6) won the most games since the 1976-77 team, and they were regional champs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1978-79 and 1979-80.
Sexton acknowledged Agee’s size, combined with his overall skill set, was just too much.
“Obviously, at the end there we were scattering, trying to trap and trying to get back in the game, but he’s a great player,” Sexton said. “It’s tough to handle him in the post, and I think that he was definitely the difference in the game, especially when he got loose late.
“Our guys were gassed. I mean, we play an up-tempo style, and they play a real up-tempo style. We were fatigued but our guys battled all the way.”
St. Laurence junior forward Jeremiah Williams had the unenviable task of trying to contain Agee, and despite giving up five inches held his own for most of three quarters.
But Bogan is not a one-man show, and the attention given to Agee opened up opportunities for the Bengals’ supporting cast. Jordan Booker scored 15 points and Tyreon Hardin had nine.
Williams had an outstanding game of his own, scoring 23 points on 11 of 12 shooting from the field. He hit his final 11 shots after missing his first attempt of the night.
St. Laurence senior guard Donovan Slater gave all he had in his final high school game, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring 19 points. Slater provided a spark off the bench, and scored seven points on a trey and two nifty scoop layups during a 12-2 Vikings run that turned a 25-16 deficit into a 28-27 halftime advantage.
Bogan pulled ahead for good with a 10-3 surge to open the second half and outscored St. Laurence 18-10 in the third to grab control of the game.
The Vikings didn’t go down easily, and a Slater three made it a 56-49 game with 4:13 remaining in the game. Agee, however, scored 14 of Bogan’s next 18 points as the Bengals put the game away.
St. Laurence will return most of its top players, including starters Williams, Finn Walsh and Trey Davis, from one of the most successful teams in program history.
“My whole plan when I took the job was to be successful right away,” said Sexton, who completed his third year at the helm. “We have been. I go full blast at anything I do, and I knew we had the kids in the program who could do that. We’ve just got to get over that hump in the sectional next year.”
The team’s seniors – Slater, Billy Rappold and Lance Jackson – will leave their legacy on the program, Sexton said.
“Those guys had more wins in a four-year career than any players in St. Laurence history, so we owe a lot to them,” he added. “But the future’s really bright.”