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The Vandalia Vandals put down the Piasa Birds, 49-34, in high school basketball action Friday night, March 5 at home.
Carson Ruot paved the way for Vandalia on the night with 14 points, although he was silent for the first eight minutes.
It was a shooting contest in the first quarter, as both teams came out firing. The Vandals came out ahead at the end of eight, 20-15, however. Both teams cooled down quite a bit, with the Birds outpacing the Vandals, 7-3, as the home town favorites took a 1 point edge, 23-22, at the break.
Both teams came out slow in the third, however the Vandals came out better, outscoring Southwestern 9-4 to take the advantage into the final quarter, 32-26.
It was in the fourth quarter when Vandalia really shined, and Ruot earned 8 of his game high 14 points, to propel the Vandals to the win.
Ruot also had an assist and five rebounds in the game. He was followed by Case Goldsmith with 12 points and four rebounds; Mitchell Casey with 10, seven assists and two boards; Cole Tarkington, 5 points and four assists; Connor Ray and Reid Well, each with three points, and Matthew Hagy with two.
The junior varsity exploded in the second half, to ensure the 70-41 win. Reid Well led the charge with 21 points, 14 of those in the second quarter. Chase Laack and Hagy followed with 11; Cayden Hipsher, 9; Preston Nestrick, 8; Connor Ray, 6, and Aiden Politte, 4.
The varsity took it on the chin 60-50 on Monday night, March 8, as Interstate rival Greenville came to town.
The game was knotted after the first at 13, then the Comets came out blazing in the second to double the Vandals effort, 22-11.
The Vandals came out firing on all cylinders in the third as they came to within 5, 44-39, headed into the final quarter.
In the end, Greenville outshot the Vandals in the final eight minutes.
Carson again led the team with 19 points, followed by Casey with 15; Gaige Beall had 7; Goldsmith, 4; Hagy, 3, and Tarkington chipped in 2.
The JV won their contest, 61-48 and the underclassmen took their match, 50-44.
It appeared that the Vandals would ruin the Roxana‘s varsity match on the Shell’s home court, taking an 11-9 lead after one. The Shell’s came back in the second quarter, to take a 29-23 advantage at the intermisison.
The Vandals narrowed that gap to five in the third, but couldn’t muster enough in the final quarter in a close contest, 52-47.
Beall lead the Vandals in scoring with 12 points, followed by Well with 11; Goldsmith, 8; Laack, 5; Ruot and Casey, 4 each, and Tarkington, 3.
The JV squad crushed the Shells, 67-33. Hagy paved the way with a strong first three quarters with 19. Hagy also followed suit with 15, followed by Laack with 13; Ray, 8; Nestrick and Chase McNary with 3 each, and Andrew Kelly and Hipsher with two each.
The freshmen also lost on the night, 32-23. After taking a tie into the locker room, Roxana came on strong and took the match in the second half.
It all came up to who could hit the clutch free throws down the stretch, as the Vandals varsity squad lost a close game in overtime with the Hillsboro Hilltoppers in a road game Wednesday, March 3, 60-54.
It was close game throughout between two evenly matched teams as the Vandals trailed by two after the first, 13-11. They came back in the second quarter to take a point edge at the intermission, 26-25.
The lead swung back into the Hilltoppers’ favor at the end of three, 40-39, and players and fans alike knew the fourth quarter was going to be close, as Vandalia made up the difference to tie the game at 54 at the end of regulation. In overtime the Hilltoppers gained the advantage as the Vandals had to resort to their fouling game. Their opponents did not waver down the stretch, as Hillsboto took the contest.
Ruot had the game high score with 22; followed by Casey with 20; Beall, 7; Goldsmith, 5; Hagy, 3; and Well and Tarkington with two each. Casey went 5 for 11 for 15 points from beyond the arc in the contest.
The junior varsity again did not really have a contest, as the younger Vandals took care of the Hilltoppers, 66-30.
Hagy was top scorer on the night with 15, followed by Well and Ray with 14 each, Laack had 13; Nestrick, 8 and Hipsher, 2.