Vandals defeat Greenville to place third at VHT

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Fast start propels Vandalia to win; Berning and Godoyo selected to all-tournament team

By Andrew Harner

The Vandals opened the third-place game of the Vandalia Holiday Tournament on a torrid pace last Thursday, allowing them to maintain at least an 11-point lead for the entire second half during a 53-41 win against Greenville.


Vandalia and Greenville played even basketball for the first five minutes of play, but after a 3-pointer by junior Tim Ritchey opened up a five-point lead, it was all Vandals from there.

That basket started a 28-6 run that lasted until halftime, leaving the Vandals ahead, 34-10, and giving the team its biggest halftime lead of the season.

“I was thrilled; that was huge for us,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “You can’t overestimate how huge a good start is.”

The 34-10 effort was only Vandalia’s second quality start in its past six games, two of which were losses and two of which saw the Vandals make forced second-half comebacks to win by single digits.

Last Wednesday, the Vandals had failed to start well during a loss to Pana, and Jackson said that he was proud of the team for rebounding from that defeat, and for executing his pre-game message of attacking the rim.

Senior Dathan Berning had 14 of his game-high 23 points during that first half, with 11 of those coming on layups or free throws after driving to the hoop. In the second half, all nine of his points came by getting to the basket.

The all-tournament selection averaged 16.4 points per game during the tournament, and leads the team with 13.8 points per game on the season.

“He’s been attacking the rim and being aggressive,” Jackson said. “When you attack the rim, it makes those outside shots easier.”

In the first half, all but 10 of Vandalia’s points came from layups and free throws.

At the start of the second half, however, the Vandals (12-3) began to settle back and take more shots from the field, while also allowing the Comets five second-chance points over the first four minutes of the half.

That helped Greenville get a 12-0 run that cut Vandalia’s lead to 34-22, but the Vandals played even for the rest of the game to preserve the win.

“We knew that they weren’t going to go for another 10 (points in a half),” Jackson said. “We continued to play hard through it, and eventually we got a couple of boards and a couple of buckets.”

It was Berning who rescued the Vandals, making a  pair of free throws after he was fouled on an attempted layup and a minute later scoring two more points on a breakaway layup after a steal.

After that, Jackson said he sensed that his players had a “we’re going to be OK” mentality as they closed out the game.

Ritchey made sure they would be during the fourth quarter.

He scored six of his 15 points and grabbed three of his game-high seven rebounds during the final period. Four of those points and two of the rebounds were recorded in the final three minutes of the game.

His court awareness and ball handling were also vital to Vandalia’s victory.

•Junior Leyton Godoyo was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 9.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Thursday, Dec. 29
Third-place game
Vandalia 53
Greenville 41

GHS:   4-6-20-11—41
VHS: 14-20-8-11—53
Vandalia points: Berning, 23; Ritchey, 15; Quenten Austin, 9; Bryan Hosick, 4; Godoyo, 2.
Vandalia rebounds: Ritchey, 7; Hosick, 5; Chase Woolsey, 5; Berning, 4; Godoyo, 4; Team, 3; Austin, 2; Wade Cowger, 1; Aaron Harter, 1; Trevor Montgomery, 1.
Vandalia steals: Austin, 4; Berning, 3; Godoyo, 2; Hosick, 1.
Vandalia blocks: Hosick, 1; Woolsey, 1.
Greenville points: Bone, 16; Dan. Young, 12; Perry, 6; Huber, 4; Carr, 2; A.J. Childerson, 1.
Greenville rebounds: Huber, 5; Perry, 4; Dan. Young, 3; Bone, 2; A.J. Childerson, 1.

Vandalia vs. Pana
The Vandals tried to make a second-half comeback after trailing by nine at halftime, but a fourth-quarter surge came five points short of a tie at 50 in what eventually became a 63-52 Pana victory.

Vandalia, which had significant struggles in the first half of five of the eight games prior to last Wednesday’s battle with Pana, appeared to have their early-game problems solved, scoring twice in the first 1:41 to go ahead, 4-0.

But that would be the only lead for the Vandals, as Pana’s Mitchell Beyers made two 3-pointers over the next minute to begin what became a 14-0 run for the Panthers.

By the end of the quarter, the Vandals trailed by just three, though, as a 7-0 run, including points from four players, tightened up the game, but both guards – juniors Tim Ritchey and Leyton Godoyo – had two fouls.

Just 46 seconds into the second period, Ritchey went to the bench with his third foul, and Godoyo joined him about 90 seconds later.

“We had some very important people sitting on the bench,” Jackson said.

Pana, meanwhile, continued to cruise, outscoring the Vandals, 16-9, over the period, including runs of 8-1 and 8-2.

The foul trouble continued for Vandalia during the third period, as both Ritchey and Godoyo added another foul to their totals, and Pana used a 7-0 run over the first 3:30 of the second half to go ahead, 39-23.

“If you dig a hole, dig a hole, dig a hole, before long you won’t be able to get back out,” Jackson said.

But the Vandals certainly tried.

Senior Bryan Hosick ended the Panther run with a jumper, and that sparked a 22-11 run that got Vandalia within five, at 50-45, with 4:43 left in the game.

Included in that run were seven points from Godoyo.

“Our kids played hard in the second half to get back to five, but it’s so hard to fight, fight, fight,” Jackson said.

Just 20 seconds after getting within five, however, Ritchey fouled out, and junior Chase Woolsey and Godoyo followed him to the bench a couple of minutes later.

Woolsey picked up all five of his fouls in the span of 5:32 in the second half.

Vandalia also struggled from the free-throw line, making just 7-of-20 for the game and 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter.

“It was not good,” Jackson said. “We had been shooting them really well. Making them is contagious, and missing them is contagious.”

Wednesday, Dec. 28
Pana 63
Vandalia 52

PHS: 14-18-14-17—63
VHS: 11-13-11-18—52
Vandalia points: Berning, 12; Hosick, 11; Godoyo, 10; Ritchey, 8; Woolsey, 6; Montgomery, 4; Austin, 1.
Vandalia rebounds: Hosick, 9; Woolsey, 6; Berning, 4; Godoyo, 3; Ritchey, 2; Austin, 1; Montgomery, 1.
Vandalia steals: Berning, 3; Austin, 2; Ritchey, 2; Godoyo, 1; Montgomery, 1.
Vandalia blocks: Berning, 1; Hosick, 1.
Pana points: Beyers, 21; McMillen, 21; Claxon, 6; Metzger, 6; Kile, 5; Epley, 2; Zahradka, 2.
Pana rebounds: McMillen, 12; Beyers, 8; Claxon, 7; Kile, 4; Hrabak, 2; Kile, 2; Epley, 1; Hester, 1.