The title drought is now at 40 years for Chester.
Back in the championship game of the Chester Invitational Tournament for the first time in three seasons, the Yellow Jackets couldn"t match Saxony Lutheran"s length and shooting ability in a 51-34 loss to the Crusaders on Monday.
Chester has not won its own tournament since 1976 and has now finished runner-up 10 times since then, including three straight years from 2012-14.
"The key for them stretching the lead was us not hitting our open shots," said Chester coach Brad Norman. "That"s what it really came down to.
"I don"t think that we played bad defense, I think that we knew our gameplan; I think that our kids were ready to go (and) I think we were mentally focused."
Saxony (15-1) came into the contest ranked ninth in Missouri"s Class 3 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and having finished runner up to Perryville in both 2016 and 2015.
The Crusaders led by only two, 11-9, at the end of the first quarter, but started the second quarter on a 9-0 run and took a 27-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.
"We were looking to run, get some easy (baskets) in transition, play a little faster than (Chester) wanted to," said Saxony coach Kevin Williams on what was key in the victory. "They were real patient. Just our ability to not get bored with possessions and continue to play.
"Sometimes (Chester) held the ball for a minute to a minute and a half and sometimes, you get out there and you fall asleep away from the ball and you"re not locked in and you"re not aggressive. We played OK. We"ve played better and we"ve played worse."
Chester (12-5) never could erase the deficit, getting to within seven, 27-20, on a layup by Savion Smith 12 seconds into the third quarter - but Saxony went on a 9-2 run to stretch the lead to double digits.
The Yellow Jackets never trailed by less than 10 the rest of the way.
"I think our defensive gameplan worked," Norman said. "We held a team that was averaging 85 points to 51. We did our job defensively, I just think on the offensive end, we just didn"t capitalize on those open threes, those open put-backs and those bunnies we missed around the rim.
"Against a good team like that, you can"t afford to shoot 20 percent from the field, which if I"m guessing, is probably what we shot."
Tournament MVP William Rogers led all scorers with 15 points for the Crusaders, while Corey Williams added 14 and Jalen Williams contributed seven.
Demontae Martin scored a team-high 13 points for Chester, while All-Tournament Team selection Jack Weir added 11. The Yellow Jackets" other All-Tournament Team nod in Smith finished with four points.
"I"m so proud of that kid," said Coach Williams of Rogers. "Last year, it was more of a maturation process.
"Sometimes, he deferred and kept the ball to himself trying to carry the team and this year, he"s giving it up."
Other All-Tournament Team selections were Cory Williams (Saxony Lutheran), Michael Chism (Valmeyer), Zach Cissell (Perryville), Jaxon Heintz (New Athens), Clayton Eck (Cobden), Josh Robinson (Perryville) and Kyle Smith (Marissa-Coulterville).
The CHS Cheerleaders won the tournament"s Cheerleading Award. Valmeyer took third place with a 51-40 win over Marissa-Coulterville, while Perryville took home the consolation championship with a 84-55 win over Cobden.
New Athens defeated Shawnee, 56-23, in the seventh place game. The seventh place game and consolation championship were played at Chester Grade School due to schedule changes made in preparation for Winter Storm Jupiter.
Chester is going right back to work tonight at home against Zeigler-Royalton in a Black Diamond Conference West Division matchup.
The Yellow Jackets" final 11 games of the regular season feature some tough matchups - including facing division foes Christopher and Goreville twice each.
"We"re starting to figure our offensive group out a little bit," Norman said. "I think the main thing we have to do in the second half of the season is we have to continue to lock down defensively.
"That was the problem in the few games that we lost is we just give up stuff that"s too easy on the defensive end."
Chester"s next home game is Tuesday against Christopher before the Yellow Jackets hit the road for a non-conference game with Gibault Catholic on Jan. 27.