ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The Gateway Steam continued their nightmarish run with a 98-75 loss Thursday versus the Bloomington Flex. The Flex and Steam truly are polar opposites. The Flex (8-1) have won eight in a row, having not lost since their season opener. Meanwhile, the Steam (1-9) have lost eight in a row and continue to find different ways to keep the streak alive. In the latest installment, the basket refused to accept any Gateway shots; the Steam shot just 31 percent from the field. Add to that another stand-out performance by the duo of Justin Bocot and Anthony Slack and it is going to be hard to upset the MPBA’s top team.
Bocot, the league’s leading scorer at 27.9 points per game, posted a game-high 23 points, 17 of which came in the first half. Slack, the thunder to Bocot’s lightning, scored 16 points and hauled in 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. C.J. Hampton, the league’s leading 3-point shooter, had 19 points while going 4-of-10 from 3-point range. Chris Colvin — getting many of the injured Fabyon Harris’ minutes – scored a season-high 19 points.
On the Steam side, they did have four players reach double figures, but it took all of them at least as many shots as they had points to reach their totals. Terrell Williams had the best shooting night only taking 11 shots to get to his 11 points. Lee Fisher had a team-high 14 points and 6 rebounds, including a game-high 5 offensive rebounds. Will Kirksey (11) and Jake Anderson (12) also cracked the 10-point benchmark.
Despite what the box score might suggest, the game was competitive until the final minutes.
After trailing 33-21 at the end of the first quarter the Steam mounted a rally. Gateway went on a 16-6 run to open the quarter and a Fisher 3-point play cut the deficit to just 39-37. From there though Bocot took over and led the Flex on a 11-2 run of their own including a near four point play at the end of the half to send it into break at 50-39. Even though they were unable to hold the ground they gained, the Steam did hold Bloomington to their lowest scoring quarter since the first quarter the Flex played this season. Gateway was, quite miraculously, still in striking distance even while shooting 28 percent from the field in the first half.
In the third the lead ballooned to 15 points, but the Steam once again worked it back into single digits towards the end of the quarter. They won their second straight quarter but unfortunately only gained one point of ground and trailed by 10 headed into the final period.
The Flex turned up the effort in the fourth after a challenge from their coach, and the Steam did not have an answer. Gateway got as close as 77-70 in the fourth, but then Bloomington went on a 21-5 run to close out the game.
The Steam will look to end the losing streak again this Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Family Arena. The Steam have to be happy to see their opponent the Chicago Force (3-7) because their only other meeting in St. Charles was the Steam’s first and only win this season — 115-103 on Jan. 4. Between then and now, the teams met in Chicago and the Force came away victorious, 104-102. Tip on Sunday will be at 1 p.m.
(Photo Credit: Mick Lite Photography)
Follow me on Twitter, @TimJKaiser