A strong, 32-minute effort allowed Vandalia to lead wire-to-wire during a 44-40 win against Pinckneyville on Saturday.
The only blemish was a tie at 38 for 1:15 late in the third quarter.
“We gave a very good effort,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “We guarded very well and rebounded well. They got nobody in double figures.”
The Vandals, meanwhile, had three players score in double figures, with Marty Johnson’s 12 points leading the way, while Dathan Berning and Leyton Godoyo each added 10.
The outcome, however, may have been much different had the Vandals not opened the second half with a 7-0 run to push their lead to 11.
That's because starting at the end of the third quarter, the Panthers used a 14-4 run to tie the game at 38 before the Vandals buckled down and made 6-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to preserve the win.
“We really emphasized the first four minutes,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if that’s what it was or not, but we really pounded it in their heads that we had to get out to a good start in the game and in the second half.”
With two minutes left in the game and holding a two-point lead, the Vandals got the ball back off a Pinckneyville travel.
For the next 1:35, the Vandals spread the ball around the court, looking for an open shot. It never came, and Berning was intentionally fouled to give the Panthers another crack on offense.
“It just happened. We were not just trying to run clock,” Jackson said. “I thought our guys were still looking at the basket. It was a situation where they allowed that, so we took it.”
Berning made one of two free throws, and Pinckneyville made a layup 10 seconds later to cut Vandalia’s lead to one. Johnson and Bryan Hosick would combine to make three free throws in the final 11.7 seconds to seal the win.
The Vandals also played well at the start of the game and found themselves leading 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, however, Vandalia went five minutes between baskets at one point, allowing the Panthers to slowly get back into the game.
With 17.1 seconds left in the first half, Pinckneyville made two free throws to cut Vandalia’s lead to 17-16.
A kicked ball by Pinckneyville paused the ensuing Vandal possession with 5.6 seconds left in the half, but Johnson made a 3-pointer with about seventh-tenths of a second left to give Vandalia a boost going into halftime.
“We executed what we wanted very well at the end,” Jackson said. “We had short time, but we knew we could run that really quick.”
Saturday, Dec. 8
Points – Johnson, 12; Berning, 10; Godoyo, 10; Hosick, 6; Nate Henna, 3; Quenten Austin, 2; Tim Ritchey, 1.
Rebounds – Henna, 6; Daniel Bell, 3; Berning, 3; Godoyo, 2; Hosick, 2; Ritchey, 2; Austin, 1; Johnson, 1.
Record – 10-6 (5-0 SCC)
Up Next – vs. Greenville on Friday at 6 p.m.
After matching each other nearly point for point in the first half, the Vandals used a strong third quarter to build a lead that it never relinquished, winning by seven points at Carlinville High School on Friday.
Though the Vandals led by as many as 10 early in the fourth quarter, Carlinville refused to go away. Solid free-throw shooting by Berning and Johnson down the stretch gave Vandalia a 68-61 victory, however.
It was another balanced scoring attack for Vandalia, with Bell leading the team with 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from two-point range. Johnson was close behind with 14 (including 4-for-4 on free-throw shooting), Hosick had 12 points and seven assists, and Henna had 10 points.
Vandalia’s offensive success came as a result of inside-outside passing that frequently produced uncontested shots. The Vandals committed only 10 turnovers for the night.
For the game, the Vandals hit 26-of-58 shots from the field, for a shooting rate of 45 percent.
Defensively, Hosick and Godoyo each had four steals.
In rebounding, Hosick, Johnson and Henna all grabbed four apiece, with Berning, Godoyo and Austin each adding three.
Friday, Dec. 7
Points – Bell, 17; Johnson, 14; Hosick, 12; Henna, 10; Austin, 6; Berning, 4; Godoyo, 3; Ritchey, 2.
Rebounds – Henna, 4; Hosick, 4; Johnson, 4; Austin, 3; Berning, 3; Godoyo, 3; Bell, 2.
Altamont game rescheduled
Tuesday’s home game against Altamont was canceled due to inclement weather.
It will be made up on Thursday, Feb. 3.
The Vandals defeated the Indians, 48-38, during the Vandalia Holiday Tournament at the end of December.
Vandalia will face South Central Conference foe Greenville for the third time this season on Friday at 6 p.m.
The Vandals (10-6, 5-0 SCC) won both matchups – a 52-39 road decision on Dec. 10, and a 47-40 decision during the Vandalia Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27.
The home court has been friendly to Vandalia this season, with the only two losses coming against Flora and Pana at the Holiday Tournament.
Greenville (6-8, 2-3 SCC) comes to the game off a 40-26 win against East Alton-Wood River on Saturday. The Comets have won three of their last four, with two of the wins coming against South Central and Shelbyville during the Vandalia Holiday Tournament.
A win would give Greenville some positive momentum as it heads into the Litchfield Invitational Tournament next week.