LITCHFIELD – The Vandalia boys basketball squad employed its trademark smothering pressure defense and balanced scoring as it downed Litchfield, 69-49, Saturday afternoon in a game rescheduled from Friday because of icy road conditions.
Dathan Berning once again led the offensive attack with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, but four of his teammates also scored in double figures. Leyton Godoyo and Bryan Hosick had 13 points apiece, while Marty Johnson and Nathan Henna each added 10. Johnson and Hosick both had five assists.
On defense, the Vandals’ trapping pressure resulted in numerous Purple Panther turnovers. Berning and Johnson each had four steals.
Though the game was tied after the first 4 minutes, the Vandals built an 18-11 lead after the first quarter and expanded their margin to 32-19 at the half. A 20-point third quarter by the Vandals gave them a 52-34 lead, which they expanded to 24 points before Vandal coach Kevin Jackson cleared the bench with about 2 minutes to go in the game.
For the game, the Vandals shot 29-for-52 (56 percent), while the host Purple Panthers were only 18-of-51 (35 percent).
“The key was the first half,” Jackson said. “We set the tone with our defensive pressure, forcing them to go faster than they wanted to go.
“I’m pleased with the job of our first six players; we guarded well and rebounded well. But we can still play harder.”
For the game, the Vandals had 13 turnovers.
Henna was the leading rebounder at both ends of the court, with seven defensive boards and three on the offensive side, to record a double-double. Godoyo was the second in each category, with five defensive rebounds and two on the offensive glass.
“We did a good job taking our scouting report into the game,” Jackson said. “It was a great team effort.”
The Vandals faced a setback on Tuesday, losing to Carlyle, 61-50.
Johnson led Vandalia with a season-high 19 points against the undefeated Indians. Eight of those came in the fourth quarter, as Vandalia tried to rally from a seven-point deficit.
The best news for Vandalia, however, was the season debut of Tim Ritchey, who had been sidelined with a broken arm. He scored seven points in the game.
Jared Linton tormented the Vandals during the game, scoring in each quarter for a total of 19 points. Cody Huels also had 14 for the Indians.
Carlyle played a steady game, scoring no fewer than 15 points in each quarter except the third, when it scored 11. The Indians made 14-of-20 free throws in the fourth quater.
The Vandals are now 5-4 overall and 4-0 in the South Central Conference.
On Monday, the fourth-seeded Vandals will face No. 8 Greenville in the 8 p.m. game at the 39th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament.
That game will be just the Vandals' second home game of the season.
Other games for the Vandals are on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. against No. 10 South Central and at 6:30 against No. 5 Altamont, and on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. against top-seeded Flora.
The Vandals have not won their own tournament since 1981.
Tuesday, Dec. 21
Points –Johnson, 19; Berning, 10; Ritchey, 7; Daniel Bell, 6; Hosick, 6; Godoyo, 2.
Record –5-4 (4-0 SCC)
Up Next –vs. Greenville on Monday at 8 p.m. in the Vandalia Holiday Tournament
Saturday, Dec. 18
Points –Berning, 18; Godoyo, 13; Hosick, 13; Henna, 10; Johnson, 10, Bell, 5.
Rebounds –Henna, 10; Godoyo, 7; Hosick, 4; Berning, 3; Johnson, 3; Bell, 1.
Record –5-3 (4-0 SCC)