Boys’ basketball wins back the “Bell” for the first time in 14 years!


Courtesy Photo

The team celebrates winning back the “Bell.”

Keegan Honig, Editor

It’s been 14 years since the boys’ basketball team has been able to ring the “Bell” inside the halls of St. Louis High School. The team this year decided that was far too long ago. The varsity boys beat rival Ithaca 57-44 Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Ithaca’s home court to secure the “Bell” and bring it back home to SLHS.

The Bell is a long-standing tradition between St. Louis and Ithaca’s high schools. The tradition started during the 1960s when some St. Louis personnel entered an abandoned schoolhouse in Bethany Township and found an old school bell. They took the Bell from the belfry and began bringing it to football games. This was the case through the rest of the decade until 1970 when a group of Ithaca students painted the Bell blue and gold (Ithaca’s school colors) in the middle of the night. The principal of SLHS at the time, Mr. Vant Caszatt, made an offer to Mr. Bill Kirby, principal of Ithaca. The Sharks would supply the “Bell” if Ithaca’s shop class would construct a cart for the bell to be moved between the two schools. From this point forward, the bell has been a symbol of spirit between the rival schools. Each year, the winning team in football and basketball takes the “Bell” back to its own school, and it remains there until the next contest. This history is why this win against Ithaca isn’t just another regular-season victory for the Sharks.

Cade Pestrue was ecstatic about taking back the Bell. He shared, “It was the best feeling in the world and something all of us have been wanting since as long as I can remember.”

The Sharks were dominant in the win as they beat the Yellowjackets by 13 points. Pestrue led the Sharks in scoring with 20 points, which came from his 6/8 three-point shooting and going 2-2 from the free throw line. Trae Garcia added 12 points, Ethan Wilson scored 11, Avante Taylor contributed 11, and Kolin Lyon had three points in the win. Taylor achieved a double-double while leading the team in rebounds with 10. Lyon and Wilson each added four rebounds while Pestrue and Garcia chipped in three. Additionally, Garcia led in assists and steals with five and six respectively. Wilson also dished out three assists, and Pestrue had four steals, Taylor had three, and Lyon had two. As a team, the Sharks shot 59% from the three-point line as they went 10-17, while Ithaca went cold from deep, shooting an abysmal 4-23 (17%). This advantage in shooting was undoubtedly a factor in the Sharks pulling out the win.

Wilson stated, “Chills were sent through my body as the clock reached the 10-second mark. From there, I knew we had won, and all I could think about was running over to that bell and being able to ring it. This means so much for the school due to the fact that we hadn’t had the bell since 2007. I also think it’s really special because the last coach to win it and the most recent coach to win it was Coach Knauf.”

Head Coach Doug Knauf returned to the coaching position last season when the position was suddenly vacated even though he had been retired from coaching for several years. He was happy about the win and ready to keep charging through the remaining schedule. He said about the game, “We were pretty balanced in our scoring, and I think we got up by like 20 at the start of the fourth and did a lot of stuff right at the end to keep that margin.”

The “Bell” will stay where it belongs, in the halls of St. Louis High School, until the two schools face off in football next fall, where it will either remain here or fall back into the hands of the Yellowjackets. But until then, the Sharks can proudly say that the “Bell” is secure in SLHS.