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Johnson powers Vandals past Hillsboro, Vandalia crushes Greenville by 14 points

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By Jonathan Stark

Vandalia had three starters in double figures on Tuesday night as they defeated Hillboro, 60-46.

The Vandals picked up their third consecutive win and moved above the .500 mark for the first time this season with the win.

Marty Johnson scored a team-high 22 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. On defense, he battled down low for 10 rebounds.

Holding a narrow lead after the first quarter, Vandalia outscored the Hilltoppers 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 10-point lead at the half.

Both teams came out shooting in the third but Vandalia bested Hillsboro's 19 points, with 20 of its own. The Vandals closed the game out in the fourth to get the victory.

Bryan Hosick broke out for a season-high 18 points, hitting six of his nine shots. Will Cowger was a rebound short of a double-double, as he had 10 points and nine boards.

Tim Ritchey had five assists, and Angel Osorio scored six and had three steals.

Vandalia shot 48 percent from the field and outrebounded the Hilltoppers, 30-21.

Vandalia is on the road again Friday as it goes to Litchfield. The junior varsity plays at 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow.

Vandalia 42

Greenville 28

Vandalia’s defense looked perhaps the best it has all season on Friday night, as the Vandals defeated rival Greenville, 42-28.

The Vandals held the Comets to no more than eight points in a quarter, while Vandalia was held to single digits just once. Greenville made only three shots from the field in the second half and nine for the game. Only one Greenville player sank more than one shot.

While Vandalia head coach Kevin Jackson is quick to give his defense a lot of the credit, some of the reasoning falls on Greenville and the style of offense it plays.

“Our defense was good, but if you play that style, you’re going to live and die,” Jackson said. “I do think we played very well, but their (Greenville) style leans to that. Their style leans to either, you’re going to look great or you’re going to look bad. I think our defense contributed to them not looking good.”

On Vandalia’s offensive end, it was Marty Johnson who was lighting up the scoreboard from start to finish. He knocked down a three-pointer 90 seconds into the game to get the Vandals going.  Johnson was good for five more points in the quarter, including another three-pointer, with less than a minute remaining.  With time running out in the first quarter, Johnson missed a layup, but Bryan Hosick got the rebound and put it back up and in at the buzzer. The basket by Hosick gave Vandalia a 10-8 lead after one.

There were three ties throughout the second quarter, but no lead changes as Greenville would tie the game, only to have Vandalia take a two-point lead again on the ensuing possession. Will Cowger scored four points early in the quarter and Johnson was at work again, as he dropped in a shot with four seconds remaining in the half to give Vandalia an 18-14 lead at the intermission. It was in the last four minutes that Vandalia’s defense really came alive, as it held Greenvile scoreless for the final four minutes before the break.

Johnson was already in double figures at the half with 10 points. Cowger had four points and four rebounds.

Coming out of the locker room after the half, both teams looked rusty in the still-undecided game. Neither team made a shot from the field in the first 3½ minutes.

“I thought we came out pretty passive,” Jackson said. “We talked in the locker room at halftime, we told our guys they (Greenville) were going to come out pressing. They are going to come out with that backside trap. We knew it was coming, we’d seen it and we didn’t execute, and that’s something we can learn from, that’s something we can get better with.”

Freshman Tim Ritchey drew a foul halfway through the third quarter to get to the free-throw line, and he knocked down one of two. The foul seemed to jump start Vandalia’s offense, as it would go on a 12-4 run to close out the half, scoring 12 consecutive points. In the stretch, Johnson knocked down his third three-pointer of the game, Cowger scored six points down low and Ritchey, who kick-started the run, closed it out with a deep three. Vandalia was able to stretch a four-point lead to 31-20 in the third.

Greenville opened up the fourth quarter looking to make a run. The Comets outscored Vandalia 5-2 in the first four minutes. Jackson burned a timeout with 4:17 remaining and his 60-second chalk talk put an end to Greenville’s momentum and gave the Vandals a boost.

Angel Osorio, who had been almost a non-factor for Greenville’s defense in the first three quarters, put the game out of reach for the Comets in the final four minutes. Osorio knocked down eight of eight free-throw attempts in the final minutes to put the game on ice. Ritchey tacked on a free throw to cap the 9-0 run by Vandalia.

“One, we got to get to the line. Two, we got to make them,” Jackson said of the team’s free-throw shooting. “It's crunch time and we need to keep the lead. We did a good job of executing, and that’s what seniors should do.”

Greenville hit a three with 15 seconds remaining to make it a 14-point Vandal win.

Osorio had eight points on the night, all coming from the line in the fourth quarter. He had six defensive rebounds and three steals. Ritchey had five points and two assists. Cowger finished with 10 points and six rebounds. He was 5-for-7 from the field. Johnson had a team-high 15 points and seven boards. He was 3-for-5 from three-point range. Johnson is averaging more than 13 points a game.

Vandalia outrebounded the Comets, 25-18, 10 of which were offensive. The Vandals committed 15 turnovers; they are 3-0 when committing 15 or less.

“I’m going to say three or four of those (turnovers) were early in the third quarter,” Jackson said referring to Greenville’s press coming out of the half.

The Vandals knocked down 10 of 14 attempts from the stripe and shot 41 percent from the field.

The junior varsity lost to Greenville, 52-44. Quintin Austin had 11 points.