The semifinals of the Pattonville Tournament featured three of the top teams in the St. Louis area.
In the first semifinal, Illinois signee Tyler Griffey led Lafayette to a 44-42 victory over CBC after hitting the game-winning shot with 2.3 seconds remaining.
Griffey, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward, finished with 26 points on nine-of-13 shooting, and made eight of his 10 free throw attempts. He also had five rebounds and three blocked shots.
CBC's Ryan Pierson, a 6-10, 232-pound junior who will get looks by Division I schools, finished with eight points, including four free throws, but his minutes were limited by foul trouble.
That game set the stage for the other semifinal game that matched Chaminade against McCluer, two of the top teams in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch large-school rankings and two of the top backcourts in Missouri.
The college coaches who braved the chilly temperatures on Wednesday came to see Beal, a 6-3, 180-pound sophomore, became a hot recruiting target this summer and has already drawn scholarship offers from Kansas, Illinois, Florida and Purdue.
The Red Devils standout, who averaged 8.2 points per game as a freshman, struggled with his outside shot a little but did not disappoint, but he wasn't able to lead Chaminade to a victory.
Instead, it was McCluer — led by senior shooting guard Lonnie Boga and sophomore point guard Shaquille Boga — who used a strong first half performance and then held off a Red Devils rally for a 77-67 win.
The elder Boga, who has committed to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Shaquille Boga added 22 points and helped seal the victory by making eight of his nine free throws.
Beal, who scored 23 points in his season opener and then 17 in his second game, finished with a team-high 25 points. His outside shot was off, but he was able to show his ability to get to the basket and finish in traffic with a smooth touch. He was also able to get to the free throw line and convert.
The recruiting battle for Beal will be interesting to watch.
Kansas has the momentum of coming off a national championship. Illinois landed the top prospect out of St. Louis in the Class of 2009 in Griffey and has secured commitments from three highly rated players in the Class of 2010. Florida has a connection to Chaminade in alum David Lee, a McDonald's All-American with the Red Devils who plays for the New York Knicks.
Another player to watch for Chaminade is senior point guard Brandon Lockhart. After averaging a team-best 16.4 points per game as a junior, the 6-1, 175-pounder opened his senior season by scoring 18 points and then 24 points in his first two games.
Lockhart struggled early in Wednesday's game against McCluer, but finished with 14 points after helping the Red Devils get back in the game in the second half.
The Pattonville Tournament returns to action on Friday. Chaminade will play Metro Catholic Conference rival CBC in the third-place game at 6:45 p.m. Griffey will lead Lafayette against the Boga brothers and McCluer in the championship game at 8:15 p.m.