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Stew-Stras punches ticket to title game with free throws, Flora runs the table

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By Jonathan Stark

Tuesday night's games decided who would end up in Wednesday's title game, as Stew-Stras defeated Wesclin to head to the championship for the second straight year, while Flora went undefeated in pool play to cruise into the championship.

Session V

Game 15

Central A&M 51

South Central 37

In its pool play finale, South Central looked the best it had all tournament.

The Cougars played well throughout the game, despite losing by 14, and were as close as 10 with two minutes to go.

Central A&M trailed by as many as five in the second quarter, but was able to make a run and take a 20-17 lead into the half.

The third quarter would be the Cougars' undoing. They managed only three points in the period and gave up 17 to fall behind, 37-20. The Raiders went on a 10-0 run to start the quarter.

South Central was able to outscore the Central A&M, 17-14, in the fourth quarter and was down by only 10 after a basket by by Coby Bushue with two minutes to go.

The Cougars scored only one more basket the rest of the way.

Nathan Hill finished with a team-high 10 points, Shane Donoho had nine and Bushue had eight.

Central A&M hit 22 free throws and shot 85 percent from the line.

Ryan Workman led the Raiders with 15 points.

Central A&M picked up its first win to move to 1-2. South Central finished pool play 0-4.

Game 16

Altamont 63

Shelbyville 56

In what was probably the greatest individual performance in a loss, Cody Boarman scored a tournament-high 36 points in a losing effort to Altamont, 63-56.

Boarman's lone effort, however, would be the team's downfall as no one else put up significant offensive numbers. The effort of one was taken in stride by the Indians, who held a comfortable lead throughout the game.

Altamont held a six-point lead after the first quarter but seemed to get a momentum shift in the second and expanded its lead in the blink of an eye.

An 11-point lead at the half quickly turned into a 20-point rout in the third quarter.

Caine Cole and Levi Preuemer fouled out midway through the fourth quarter for the Rams.

In one last-ditch effort, Shelbyville made a run with three minutes to go, cutting the lead to only eight.

Altamont seemed to be on the verge of collapse when Jordan McGinnis and Brandon Duckwitz fouled out with two minutes to go and Shelbyville was on a run.

Boarman hit a three with less than a minute to go, but Altamont held on to the seven-point lead for the victory.

Brian Suckow had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Indians. McGinnis had nine points and 10 boards before fouling out. Duckwitz had 13 before taking a seat.

Altamont moved to 2-1 and in the hunt for the title game, while Shelbyville finished pool play 1-3.

Session VI

Game 17

Greenville 63

Central A&M 35

Greenville had three players in double digits as it picked up its second win of the tourney to finish pool play 2-2.

The Comets led by as many as 30 in the fourth quarter.

Michael Williams had 17 points. Todd Eaton had a double-double, with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Adam Stroud also had 11.

Trenton Duncan was the Raiders' leading scorer, with nine.

Central A&M finished pool play with a 1-3 record.

Game 18

Altamont 66

Vandalia 61

After just a couple of hours off, Altamont was able to come back Tuesday afternoon and defeat Vandalia in overtime, 66-61.

The game was under Vandalia's control for the first 16 minutes, but under the Indians' for the last 20.

The Vandals found themselves down 42-36 going into the fourth quarter and were able to tie the game, 54-54, at the end of regulation, thanks to key free throws and eight points in the quarter by Cody Norris.

Once in overtime, the Vandals struggled with turnovers. They committed four turnovers in a four minute period and fell behind, 64-58. Daniel Bell hit a three with five seconds to go, but Altamont was able to close the door. Brian Suckow, who was out most of the game due to foul trouble, scored five points in OT and finished the night with 17.

Jordan McGinnis also had 17 for the Indians.

Marty Johnson and Will Cowger each had 15. Angel Osorio had 13.

Vandalia finished pool play 0-4. Altamont finished 3-1 still in contention for the championship.

Game 19

Flora 61

Pana 43

Just as planned the No. 1-seed Flora Wolves beat Pana, 61-43, to advance to the holiday tournament championship.

The Wolves were led by Paul Knapp and his 31-point performance.

Pana was clearly outmatched from the start, and was in foul trouble throughout the night.

The Panthers trailed 18-9 after the first quarter.

It didn't take the Wolves long to get into foul trouble, as well, as they were in the bonus, early in the second quarter.

The two teams would wind up shooting 40 free throws on the night.

Although Pana was only down seven at the half, the deficit quickly ballooned in the third quarter, as Flora went up by 17.

The Panthers hit back-to-back threes in the fourth quarter, but would be outscored 9-4 in the final minutes to seal their fate.

Bryton Krutsinger had 13 points for the  Wolves.

Phillip Arnold had 10 for Pana.

Flora shot 59 percent from inside the arc and hit 20 of 28 free-throw attempts.

Pana was outrebounded, 32-20.

Game 20

Stew-Stras 53

Wesclin 44

Going into the final game of pool play, if Wesclin won, it would be in the championship. If Stew-Stars won, it might be in the championship, depending on its overall free-throw shooting percentage.

Entering the game, the Comets were several percentage points below Altamont and needed to shoot well from the line and win in order to make it to the title game.

While the free throws came easily, as the Comets knocked down 15 of 16 from the line, the game was the hard part.

Wesclin put up a strong fight and kept the game close throughout, trailing by seven at the half.

The Warriors cut the lead to just one, 31-30, with four minutes to go in the third, but a 9-0 run by Stew-Stras took away any momentum that Wesclin had.

Stew-Stras knocked down its free throws and held the lead to secure its place in the 38th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament championship on Wednesday night.

Jaden Widdersheim had 22 points and six rebounds for the Comets.

Only three Wesclin players scored all night. Phil Kunz had 19, Kyle Emig had 15 and Alex Wilken had 10.

The Warriors finished pool play 3-1.