Salem captures second straight tourney title Print
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Thursday, 28 December 2017 07:19

By Dennis Dunn
Special Correspondent

On Saturday night at Salem, the gymnasium was rocking as Salem and Eastern (Pekin) renewed their county rivalry in the championship game of the First Harrison Bank Holiday Tourney.

The atmosphere was that of a sectional game as there was a lot of physical contact between the two teams and two ejections just before halftime.

This was the Lions second straight title and their third win in the last four years after defeating the Musketeers 58-36.

“It was a good win,” Lions Coach Hank Weedin said. “They executed to perfection and our young guys stepped up and played. I couldn’t be more proud of the boy’s effort tonight. They played hard.

“Our defense played strong and they have been doing that all year. We held a good team down to 36 points and I think our defensive average is in the 30’s right now. I really thought that going into the season that defense was not going to be our strong point. They bought in and bought into it well.”

The game started as Salem senior Xavier Haendiges scored the first four points of the game. Eastern then scored four straight to tie the game at 4-4. However, that would be the only tie of the game as the Lions took the lead for good when Landon Suvak scored his first basket of the game.

Blayton Miller scored and Suvak hit a 3-pointer for the 11-4 lead. Leif Edlin scored the Musketeers final points of the quarter as the Lions led 11-6. The Lions defensive effort picked up the pace in the second quarter as they forced turnovers and turned them into points as they outscored the Musketeers 10-2 in the quarter and led 21-8 at the break.

“I thought we came out and done what we were trying to do,” Musketeers Coach Scott Newcomb said. “They executed tonight right from the start. Our guys didn’t come out focused and not knowing what to do and it kind of snowballed from that point on.

“We didn’t play very aggressively on offense and rebounding we didn’t block out very well. We had a number of opportunities to take charges. We got to do the little things to have success.”

Haendiges scored 10 first half points for the Lions as they opened up a double-digit lead late in the quarter. With a little over a minute left in the second quarter, Salem’s Hunter Weedin and Eastern’s Jacob Stewart got tangled up as both players went to the floor. The two players got up a little frustrated which resulted in their ejections.

The Lions were up by 13 in the second quarter at 25-12, when the Musketeers went on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 25-19. However, the Lions scored 10 of the final 13 points of the quarter to lead 35-22 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Lions outscored the Musketeers 23-14 in the fourth quarter with 15 points coming from the free throw line. Moore scored six of his 17 points in the quarter for the Musketeers and Haendiges had 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter.

“We were not aggressive with the ball,” Newcomb said after his team committed 16 turnovers. “We didn’t make hard cuts and at times we jogged to spots. We didn’t move the ball, didn’t reverse the ball and didn’t move inside. When we did get it inside we just stood and watched Connor, instead of cutting.

“I thought Connor (Marshall) had a really good tournament. At times we had solid play from everyone, but we have to be consistent. Hopefully we learn that we have to be mentally tough all the time.”

Suvak added 10 points for the Lions.

Haendiges and Gavin Fleming made the all-tourney team for the Lions, while Moore and Connor Marshall made the all-tourney team for the Musketeers.

“I am proud of the composure they kept despite of the circumstances,” Weedin said. “We just need to heal. We took some shots tonight and it looks like mu guys got out of a MMA fight. We will rest and come out and continue to do what we are doing. I like where we are moving and I think we are going in the right direction. The one thing I take out of this is what we can do under adversity.”

The Lions improved to 6-1 and will play Southridge in the second game of the Forest Park Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 28 and the Musketeers (3-4) will play Forest Park in the other bracket of the Forest Park Tournament.

Braves drop

Senators in overtime

In the consolation game of the tourney, Borden and West Washington needed overtime to find a winner and it was the Braves who outscored the Senators 4-3 in the extra sessions to come away with a 37-36 win.

The Braves outscored the Senators 10-4 in the opening quarter, but the Senators won the second quarter 11-7 but went into the locker room trailing 17-15. The Senators then took their first lead of the game in the third quarter only to see the Braves retake the lead.

Both teams went back-and-forth over the final eight minutes of regulation and four minutes of overtime until the Braves came out on top.

Lucas McNew led the Braves with 12 and Parker Green led the Senators with 13. Nick Marrs of West Washington and Jacob Knollenberg of Borden made the all-tourney team.

The Braves (4-4) will host Paoli on Dec. 30, while the Senators (2-5) will play Springs Valley in the Springs Valley Tourney at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Saturday, Dec. 16, at Salem

First Harrison Bank

Holiday Tourney


EHS    6    2    14    14– 36

SHS   11  10    14    23– 58

EHS (3-4): Mason Moore 17, Connor Marshall 5, Parker Wallingford 4, Sawyer Starrett 2, Leif Edlin 2, Trevor Lewellen 2, Jacob Stewart 2, Matt Coats 2.

Salem (6-1): Xavier Haendiges 26, Landon Suvak 10, Shane Mahuron 9, Gavin Fleming 8, Blayton Miller 2, Colin McCartney 2, Myron Mead 1.


WW     4    11    7    11    3 – 36

BHS    10   7      6   10    4 – 37

WW (2-5): Parker Green 13, Nick Marrs 10, Mikey Nichols 4, Harrison Sanford 4, Kaden Ables 3, Jake Strange 2.

Borden (4-4): Lucas McNew 12, Noah Franklin 10, Jacob Knollenberg 6, Jacob Robinson 6, Micah Franklin 2.