Though the Vandalia High School boys basketball team only won one game in the annual St. Anthony Turkey Tournament, the team had a shot at third place, thanks to a stingy defensive effort in its first three contests.
Three teams in the Vandals’ bracket ended the day Friday with a record of 1-2, but the Vandals earned the right to play in the third-place game on Saturday, based on allowing the fewest total points by their opponents.
In that game, they faced St. Anthony, which is led by James Jansen, a superb guard, who put on a ball-handling and fast-break clinic while leading his team to a 57-41 victory over the Vandals.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead, producing a 20-6 margin midway through the first quarter after its 6-foot-7 center Ryan Schmitt hit a pair of putbacks under the basket. The first quarter closed with the Bulldogs on top, 22-10.
In the second quarter, several Vandals came alive on the offensive end – outscoring St. Anthony 12-7 to trail by seven, 29-22, at the half. Coach Kevin Jackson rotated several Vandals into the game, including juniors Dathan Berning and Nathan Henna, and sophomore big man Chase Woolsey. Senior Marty Johnson got his shooting touch back, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and another two-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
In the third quarter, St. Anthony rebounded with 18 points behind a strong performance by Jansen, who stole the ball twice and scored five times on layups. The Vandals scored 12, highlighted by a pair of buckets by Bryan Hosick and a last-second steal and layup by sophomore point guard Leyton Godoyo, but the Vandals still trailed, 47-34.
By the middle of the final quarter, the Vandals pulled within 11, with the score 40-51 after another Godoyo layup. By the end of the game, however, the Bulldogs had extended the margin to 57-41.
For the Vandals, Johnson led the team with 10 points; he was 2-for-8 from the field and 2-for-5 outside the arc. Just behind him was Hosick with nine points – 3-for-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe. Hosick also had a team-leading six rebounds. Rounding out the leaders for Vandalia were Henna with eight points and five rebounds, and Godoyo with seven points and three rebounds.
For the game, the Vandals had 12 turnovers and 26 rebounds (to St. Anthony’s 29). Godoyo had a pair of steals, and Johnson and Hosick each had three assists.
Friday, Nov. 26
Mt. Zion 67
In Friday’s final game of pool play, the Vandals faced Mt. Zion in a back-and-forth contest. The Braves outscored the Vandals by three points in each of the final two quarters, eventually winning by a 10-point margin, 67-57.
The Vandals led 11-8 after the first quarter; held a 22-15 lead midway through the second quarter after a series of three consecutive buckets by Johnson; and were down by four at the intermission, 27-23. The first half was marked by a number of fouls, with Mt. Zion picking up 10, while the Vandals were whistled for five.
Third-quarter buckets by Henna, Daniel Bell, Godoyo, Johnson and Hosick put the Vandals back in the lead, 42-40, with about 2:30 to go in the quarter. Mt. Zion mounted a rally late in the quarter to go up 50-43 by the start of the fourth frame.
A comeback by the Vandals again gained them the lead, 53-52, with about 3:30 to go in the contest. However, a string of missed free throws and turnovers by Vandalia gave Mt. Zion the 10-point victory.
Both teams had 10 fouls apiece in the second half.
Cold shooting thwarted the Vandals’ offensive attack, as the team went 8-for-21 in the first half and 12-for-26 in the second half; for the game, they shot 20-for-47 for 43 percent. Mt. Zion shot 27-for-54 for an even 50 percent.
The Vandals had 12 turnovers.
Johnson again led the scoring with 16 points on four field goals, one 3-pointer and five free throws. He also led the team with nine rebounds, all on the defensive end, and dished out five assists.
Hosick was next in scoring with 15 points, followed by Henna with 12. Berning and Godoyo both added six. Godoyo also had five assists.
Wednesday, Nov. 24
After an exciting first-round victory over Charleston on Monday, the Vandals came out flat and fell behind early in Tuesday’s second-round game against Mattoon High School. The Vandals trailed by eight at halftime, 27-19. By the end of the contest, Mattoon held an 11-point margin, 55-44.
Mattoon used several breakaway layups to fuel its scoring advantage. Meanwhile, the Vandals had a number of passing miscues and chip-shots that wouldn’t fall – leaving them down by 19 midway through the fourth quarter.
A 3-point shot by Hosick, steals by Berning and Godoyo (one of five he had on the day) and a layup by Henna, however, brought the Vandals to within 11 points late in the fourth quarter. Vandalia outscored Mattoon 18-15 in that stanza, but was handed its first loss of the tournament.
Hosick led the Vandal scoring with 13, hitting three two-pointers, one 3-pointer and four free throws. Dathan Berning added 10, Godoyo nine, Bell six and Henna five.
Cold shooting doomed the Vandals, as they made 6-of-18 in the first half and 7-of-25 in the second. For the game, they were 13-for-43 for 30 percent. They also had 17 turnovers.
In the rebound category, Hosick led the team with six of the squad’s 21. Mattoon had 37 rebounds in the game.
The Green Wave would eventually go on to face a strong Breese Central team in the tournament championship on Saturday, with Breese Central taking the title by 19 points, 52-33.
• • •
After the Vandals’ loss to St. Anthony on Saturday, Jackson said that his athletes didn't play with enough emotion after the first game of the tournament, when they downed Charleston.
“On that first night, we showed some good emotion, but that hasn’t been there the other three nights,” he said. “You can see it in the way we go after rebounds, how we talk and how we move on offense.
“We need to compete on every play, and competing is refusing to get beaten. We also need to get better defensively.”
He admitted that St. Anthony was a strong team, but said that he saw some improvement by the Vandal players in that final game of the tournament.
“Tonight, we played a good team,” he said. “But we moved the ball better, shared the ball more.
“Our players battled. And we learned some things about ourselves. We’ll get some things corrected in practice this week, and we’ll be ready to go next weekend.”
The Vandals (1-3) travel to East Alton-Wood River on Friday to begin regular season play.
Hosick, Bryan 10.75–5.5
Johnson, Marty 9.5–5.5
Bell, Daniel 7.5–1.5
Berning, Dathan 7.5–2.5
Henna, Nate 7.25–4
Godoyo, Leyton 6–4.75
Woolsey, Chase 0–1.5