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Greenville defeats Vandals at regional

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By Andrew Harner

GREENVILLE – For the first 12 minutes of last Wednesday’s regional tournament game, Vandalia was in complete control against Greenville.

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But once the Comets began to break the Vandals’ pressure and transition better on defense, they began to chip away at their 10-point deficit, eventually taking an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter that was too much forVandalia to overcome in a 62-59 loss.

Greenville junior Dannon Young made a 3-pointer with 4:29 left in the game to give the Comets a 57-49 lead, but the Vandals got five points from junior Bryan Hosick during a 10-2 run that tied the game at 59 with a minute to go.

Senior Daniel Bell made the game-tying bucket, but Young made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch and a last-second 3-point attempt by Bell did not fall to give the Comets the win.

“That’s tough for the seniors,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “It’s tough for me to handle, and I’m going to be back next year. They are expecting to practice tomorrow and play again Friday, and it’s just not going to happen.”

Instead, Greenville played on Friday and knocked off top-seeded Pana, 51-44.

Senior Marty Johnson had a strong first quarter for the Vandals, scoring eight points and grabbing two rebounds, as the team worked up an 18-11 lead. His 3-pointer with 5:21 left in the first half gave Vandalia its 10-point lead.

The Comets, however, would finish the half on a 15-8 run to get within three at halftime.

Scoring was furious at the start of the second half, with the teams averaging a shot attempt every 15.6 seconds until Dylan Bone, a Greenville junior, made a layup with 1:45 left in the third period to give the Comets their first lead of the game at 44-43.

“They turned the game into a half-court game by getting guys back on the defensive side of the ball to slow things down a bit,” Jackson said. “They did what they needed to do, and they executed in the half-court better than we did.”

Greenville made their burst at the start of the final quarter, opening it on a 6-0 run to take a 52-45 lead just 1:05 into the period as part of an 11-4 run that gave the Comets a 57-49 lead with 4:29 left in the game.

“We were in a pretty big hole in the second, and our kids battled back to tie it,” Jackson said.

At that point, the Vandals got those five points from Hosick, who also added two rebounds during the run.

Hosick finished the game with 13 points, second on the team to Johnson’s 17, and four rebounds, which were second to junior Dathan Berning’s six.

“He was key in that run to get us tied,” Jackson said of Hosick. “He played like we expect him to play.”

The Vandals finished the season with a 17-11 record, including a 10-3 mark in the South Central Conference, and they return all their players except Bell and Johnson, who Jackson said have been everything he wants in Vandal basketball players.

Because of injuries to two starters at the start of the season and another during the season, and a tough 2-4 stretch in January and the first week of February, Jackson said his players should have gained experience in how to deal with tough situations.

“We dealt with a lot of adversity this year,” he said. “These kids handled it well and are going to grow as individuals because of the adversity and injuries they faced.”

Wednesday, Feb. 23
at Greenville Regional
Greenville 62
Vandalia 59

Points – Johnson, 17; Hosick, 13; Quenten Austin, 8; Berning, 7; Bell, 6; Tim Ritchey, 5; Nate Henna, 2; Leyton Godoyo, 1.
Rebounds – Berning, 6; Austin, 4; Hosick, 4; Johnson, 3; Ritchey, 2; Bell, 1; Godoyo, 1; Henna, 1.
Vandals  18–15–12–14—59
Comets  11–19–16–16—62