Flora and Stew-Stras headed to the championship

Pool play for the 38th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament came to a close Tuesday night. The tournament started with a couple of upsets, but by the end the pieces had fallen into place. The best two teams are headed to the title game, while the worst two are headed to the ninth-place game, trying to earn their first victory of the tournament. It’s only fitting that Flora and Stew-Stras the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will face off in the title game. The two were tied for points after coach voting prior to the tournament. While three teams in pool B ended with a record of 3-1, it will be Stew-Stras heading to the tournament, based on its high free-throw shooting percentage. Out of pool A, it will be the Flora Wolves. They ran the table and cruised into the title game for the first time since 2004. Flora has not won the tournament since 1998. Stew-Stras lost in last year’s title game to South Central, 61-53. Last year’s champion, South Central, was winless in pool play, its closest game being a 14-point loss to Central A&M on Tuesday morning. The Cougars will being going up against host school Vandalia, which also laid a goose egg in pool play. The Vandals’ games were much closer, as all four of their losses were by six points or less, including a 52-51 loss to Shelbyville to start the tournament and a 66-61 loss to in overtime to Altamont to finish pool play. South Central and Vandalia will both be looking for wins to salvage their tournaments. Altamont, the dark horse of the tournament, was just a few free-throw-percentage points away from heading to the title game. Instead, the Indians are playing Pana for third place. Both schools went 3-1. Altamont’s loss came against Wesclin on Monday, while Pana’s loss came against Flora on Tuesday, 61-43. No. 5 seed Greenville finished right in the middle, like its seeding, at 2-2. The Comets will face Wesclin, 3-1, for fifth place. Despite some outstanding individual performances, Shelbyville finished pool play at 1-3 and will face fellow 1-3 school Central A&M. This year’s holiday tournament has just as many big games, blowouts and nail-bitters as past years, but the action isn’t over and all signs point to an exciting finale at the 38th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament.

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