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Saturday's games may have been the most exciting of the tournament, as there were several close games and one major upset that threatened to throw the whole tournament into a tailspin.
South Central 36
South Central’s chances entering the Vandalia Holiday tournament were slim. The No. 10 Cougars had just one win on the season and had yet to really play as a team or put together a complete game.
They would also be without their second-leading scorer, Tyler Gillett, who was averaging 11 points a game. Gillett suffered a sprained wrist against Ramsey in the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament and will be out until Jan. 8.
Going against the No. 1 seed Flora to open the tournament, South Central was grossly outmatched and lost, 67-36.
Shane Donoho had 20 points for the Cougars, but the next-leading scorer, Sam Mitchell, had six.
South Central was beaten on the boards, 25-16, and shot 42 percent from the field.
Flora shot 56 percent from the floor and 47 percent (8-for-17) from beyond the arc. The Wolves had 10 players score.
Paul Knapp had a team high for Flora with 17 points. He hit five three-pointers. Nick Painter had 15 and Bryton Krutsinger had 12.
After trailing for most of the first three quarters of the opening game of their own holiday tournament Saturday morning, the Vandalia boys basketball team staged a fourth-quarter comeback to go up by four over Shelbyville with 40 seconds to go.
As time wound down, however, a missed Vandal layup and several Shelbyville free throws saw that lead shrink to a single point with less than 10 seconds remaining.
With the Rams in possession of the ball, they put up a long-range shot that caromed into the hands of a waiting Shelbyville player. He put the ball back up just before the final buzzer, giving No. 9-seed Shelbyville a 52-51 victory over No. 6 Vandalia.
The Vandals had three players in double figures, led by Will Cowger with 17. He hit eight of 10 from the field and also collected nine rebounds to lead the team in both categories.
Marty Johnson followed closely behind with 16 points – three for seven from the field and three for 10 from behind the arc. Tim Ritchey rounded out the double-digit scorers, collecting 10 points – two from the field and two from three-point land. Angel Osorio contributed six points.
Behind Cowger, Osorio collected seven rebounds and Bryan Hosick had three.
The Rams were led by a 20-point performance by 6-feet, 5-inch senior Cody Boarman. He also had six boards to lead his team in that category as well. Coming into the tournament, Boarman was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game.
For the game, the Vandals had 16 turnovers, while the Rams had 12.
Vandalia shot only 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from the free-throw line for the night.
The first upset of the tournament came on day one, when No. 7 Altamont defeated No. 2 Stew-Stras.
The Indians built up a seven-point lead in the second quarter and never relinquished it as they went on to win, 65-58.
Altamont, which was fresh off a championship at the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament, entered Vandalia as somewhat of an underdog and sleeper team. But it was the Comets that got caught napping on Saturday morning. The Indians shot 56 percent from the field and were led by Jordan McGinnis, who scored 18, knocking down four three-pointers.
After the first eight minutes, the two teams were knotted, 19-19. The Indians used a 17-10 second quarter to take a seven-point lead. The lead grew to nine by the end of the third quarter. The Comets scored 17 in the final eight minutes, but could not overcome the deficit.
Brian Suckow, who is Altamont’s top scoring threat, was held to 11 points. Brandon Duckwitz had 12 points. McGinnis was also the Indians' leading rebounder, with seven.
Jaden Widdersheim had 17 points and nine rebounds for Stew-Stras. Chris Koontz recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards. Will Rincker scored 14 before fouling out. Jon Hoene scored 14. All but three of the Comets points came from Widdersheim, Koontz, Rincker and Hoene.
Shelbyville entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed, but didn’t take long to make a buzz and get some people looking.
Going up against No. 3-seed Wesclin, Shelbyville was just one quarter away from getting an upset. The Rams opened up a 16-12 lead in the first quarter before allowing the Warriors to tie the game before the half, 25-25.
If the Rams had played better coming out of the half, they may have pulled off the upset, but instead they were outscored 18-10 and fell behind, 43-35. A strong fourth-quarter effort was only good enough to close the gap by one, as the Rams lost 60-53.
Cody Boarman and Caine Cole combined for 41 of Shelbyville’s points.
Wesclin had three players in double figures, as Alex Wilken had 18, Josh West had 17 and Kyle Emig had 12. Emig also had 14 rebounds.
Central A&M 54
After beating South Central by 31 to start its morning and tournament on Saturday, the No. 1 seed Flora Wolves rolled past No. 8 Central A&M, 76-54.
Paul Knapp was once again the leading scorer, as he went for a 26, draining five three-pointers and hitting 50 percent of his shots from the field.
The Raiders kept the game close in the early going, but scored only six points in the second quarter and trailed by 16 at the intermission, 41-25.
The lead would only grow from there, as the Wolves went up by 20 in the third quarter. Central A&M’s poor shooting was a contributing factor, as it was only 35 percent from the field. It put up 21 three-pointers during the night, making only six.
Flora hit 11 of its 20 three-point attempts and shot 48 percent from inside the arc.
Both teams took care of the ball, as the Raiders had nine turnovers and the Wolves had eight.
Bryton Krutsinger had 16 points and nine rebounds for Flora. Nick Painter had 11 points.
Ryan Workman had a team-high 18 for Central A&M, he attempted 17 shots. Collin Townsend had 11 on the night, nine of which came from three-point range.
Flora’s victory moved to 2-0 after day one and in the driver’s seat heading into the final two days of pool play.
Following a heartbreaking last-second loss in theopening game of the tournament, the Vandalia Vandals bounced back to play a tough game against No. 2-seeded Stewardson-Strasburg on Saturday evening.
Behind torrid shooting by Marty Johnson, who scored 24 points in the contest, the Vandals kept pace with the much-taller Comets for much of the game before falling 53-47. Stew-Stras has six seniors and three players at 6-feet, 4-inches or taller.
After trailing by two points at the quarter, 7-5, the Vandals used several three-pointers by Johnson and some tough points in the paint by post man Will Cowger to be down by only five at the half, 27-22.
A 13-9 Stew-Stras scoring advantage in the third quarter gave the Comets a 43-31 lead after three.
However, the Vandals outscored the Comets 16-10 in the final quarter to keep the game close. A bucket on a drive down the lane by Johnson with just under a minute remaining in the contest pulled the Vandals within four at 49-45.
The Comets made a number of free throws in the final stretch to build back to an eight-point lead with 30 seconds to go. Johnson hit the final shot of the game – after pulling down two rebounds of his own miscues in the lane – to end the game at 53-47.
Johnson’s 24 points came on 7-14 shooting from two-point range, 3-11 from beyond the arc and 1-3 at the free-throw line. He also had nine rebounds.
Cowger was the only other Vandal in double figures, finishing with 15 points – shooting 5-11 from the field and a perfect 5-5 from the line. Angel Osorio had four, Bryan Hosick had three points and Tim Ritchey had one to round out the Vandalia scoring.
Jaden Widdersheim led the Comets with 17, with Jon Hoene and Will Rinker adding 10 apiece.
For the game, Stew-Stras shot 43 percent from the field, while the Vandals hit only 36 percent. From the charity stripe, the Comets hit 75 percent, compared to the Vandals’ 58 percent.
Stew-Stras had 12 turnovers ,while Vandalia had only eight.
In the final game of day one action, it was No. 3 Pana defeating No. 5 Greenville.
The Greenville Comets hit only two of their 15 three-point attempts and were outscored 56-36 inside the arc as they fell, 76-47.
In addition to not shooting well, the Comets turned the ball over 20 times.
Pana was in control from the get go, as the Panthers took an early lead and were never really in jeopardy of losing it. They used a 15-point second-quarter burst to build an insurmountable lead, and Greenville could do little to get back into the game, as shots were not falling in its favor.
The Panthers hit more than half their shots and outrebounded Greenville by 14.
Jared McMillen was red hot for the Panthers, shooting 84 percent (11-for-13) and scoring a team-high 21. Phillip Arnold also shot well, hitting six of his eight shots for 14 points. Jake Adcock was 6-for-9 with 12 points. They shot a combined 75 percent from the field.
Todd Eaton was the only Comet in double figures, as he had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Panthers had 10 players with at least two points and one board.