Vandals allow 80-plus for third straight

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By Andrew Harner

VANDLIA – Defensive struggles continued for the Vandals last Wednesday, as they allowed more than 80 points to a third straight opponent.

Gillespie scored consistently in all four quarters to beat Vandalia, 82-66, in a physical South Central Conference game.

In the two games prior, Vandalia allowed 93 points to Altamont and 83 to Pinckneyville, and coach Brian Buscher said there are many reasons for the recent defensive problems.

“We are guarding the ball side a little tighter to try to take away some things, and that’s something I think we need to continue doing,” Buscher said. “But, we have to have better help and rotation, because when we do those things, we aren’t giving up layups.

“When we don’t rotate and help, it turns into one-on-one, and we turn into shot blockers,” he said. “We’ve had up to two or three guys trying to block a shot, and that’s not good.

“You have to rotate, take charges, trust your teammate to help and box out,” Buscher said. “It’s a little bit hard for them – it’s not easy to play defense and be good.”

The Vandals (5-12, 0-2 SCC) allowed many easy layups to the Miners (5-10, 1-3 SCC) in the game, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 13 but twice was postponed due to snow.

Most of those shots were hit by Chris Haplin, who made 10 shots from the field to help him to 23 points, and Evan Price, who scored 24 on six field goals and an 11-for-13 effort from the free-throw line.

The Miners went 22-for-28 from the stripe as the Vandals committed 26 fouls, the fourth straight game with at least 23 fouls.

“We’re jumping and swiping at shots and getting fouls there,” Buscher said. “A lot of times, even on a miss, we’ve already jumped to try to block the shot, so we are out of position and fouling on the rebound or putback.”

Offensively, the Vandals matched their season-high scoring output, reaching 66 points for the third time this season. Vandalia won the other two times it reached the plateau.

As has been done of late, Buscher substituted liberally, at times using a five-for-five switch.

Those changes, at times, provided a spark to the offense.

Vandalia trailed 7-0 after the first three minutes of the game, but once the first wave of substitutions entered, the Vandals began to score and eventually scored 21 points in the period.

“We went with more of a rotation to try to split our groups up a little bit, so our guys could stay fresh and focused,” Buscher said. “The last couple of games, we were losing our focus and getting tired, and for the most part tonight I thought it worked.”

Senior Wade Harre’s 13 points led the Vandal offense, and junior Luke Hollinshead added 12.

Vandalia trailed by 10 at halftime, and that margin continued to grow throughout the second half, though two quick baskets to start that half did cut Gillespie’s lead to six.

The Miners followed with a 14-3 run, however, leaving the Vandals too far behind to make a comeback.

Wednesday, Jan. 15
Gillespie 82
Vandalia 66
G: 26-17-19-20—82
V: 21-12-15-18—66
Points: Harre, 13; Hollinshead, 12; Collin Nestleroad, 8; Richie Well, 8; Colton Woolsey, 8; Drake Dokey, 4; Austin Durbin, 4; Carson Smith, 4; Jake Shulman, 3; Colin Ledbetter, 2.
Record: 5-12 (0-2 SCC)