BY SAM SCINTA
KIRKWOOD – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball team has spent much of this season searching for the consistency that has made the program among the top of the Southwestern Conference for the past decade plus.
They were still licking their wounds after a 75-58 loss to archrival Edwardsville, one of the top teams in Illinois, just one week after a 27-point loss to Marist.
Monday night, they completed a big step in the right direction just as the team is beginning to stare down the final stretch of their regular season schedule.
The Panthers, led by three All-Tourney honorees, used a compelling 55-51 win over Jennings to capture the Denver Miller Tournament Championship in Kirkwood.
O’Fallon finished on top of a highly-touted field, featuring some of Missouri’s best squads.
Last year’s Panthers took home the Consolation Championship.
The Blue and Gold opened the 2017 bracket with a strong win over a talented McCluer North team before edging an experienced and feisty Ladue squad.
OTHS had not run out of magic by the tournament finale, however, as the Panthers used a strong start and some clutch senior-play to upset the favored Jennings Warriors.
Senior Alex Orr was perfect at the line in the final minute of the game to hold off a late Warrior push and crown the Panthers as the Denver Miller Tournament Champions.
The tourney run gives the Panthers a three-game winning streak and moves their record to 12-5, but their record in the Southwestern Conference sits at 2-3 after inconsistent play against SWC foes. They will look to break that streak when they return to the hardwood on January 27 to take on the Collinsville Kahoks in an important road contest.
O’Fallon won’t return to the Panther Dome until February 10 when the Lancers make the trip from Belleville.