NATIONAL TRAIL CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Indians romp past Neoga
Altamont advances 67-49; WSS tops CH-BC to reach championship semfinals

01-25-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
ALTAMONT - The Altamont Indians went to work on the glass and on the defensive end on Wednesday night in their opening game of the 82nd annual National Trail Conference tournament.

Coach John Niebrugge saw his club put together a big first quarter run fueled by a pressing defense that forced Neoga into mistakes.

His team also cleaned up their own messes on the night as the Tribe improved to 11-9 on the season with a strong, dominating 67-49 win in the quarterfinals.

When Altamont wasn't making shots, they were crashing the boards to get extra chances.

The offensive rebounds (16) turned into a major part of the offensive push and by forcing Neoga into six first quarter turnovers, the Indians were able to get an early lead that they didn't give up on their way to the championship semifinals.

Altamont closed the first quarter with a 13-0 run and never were headed as they will now face Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg in the semifinal round on Friday night.

The Hatchets bested Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City in the second quarterfinal on Wednesday night, 70-59.

“We threw a little bit of a wrinkle at them tonight with the 1-3-1 trap. We couldn't get it past 15-points (lead) for a while but we finally broke that ice in the fourth,” said Coach Niebrugge. “It was good to kind of see some stretches (runs). It wasn't our best shooting night, probably our worst one here at home, we usually shoot the ball pretty well, but when you don't shoot the ball well you have to rebound and we did that well tonight. “Sam and Wyatt really went after it, and got some offensive rebounds for us.”

Three Altamont players netted double-figures in scoring, eight different players scored points and four players had eight rebounds or more as the Indians out muscled Neoga 41-27 overall on the glass to advance.

Senior guard Ryan Armstrong led the balanced scoring with 14-points and nine-rebounds.

Six-foot-four senior Evan Cornett added 13-points for Altamont while Sam Childerson, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, netted nine-points and grabbed a team-leading 11-rebounds.

Five-foot-ten junior guard Mitchell Stevenson contributed 11-points and eight-boards as the Tribe was never headed after taking an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

For Neoga, despite making a few mini scoring runs, fell to 6-15 on the season.

Coach Bob Lockhart's Indians were topped by sophomore forward Mitchell Cornell with 12-points and junior guard Caleb Hill with 10.

Although they managed to stay within 10-points for most of the first three quarters, Neoga never made a serious move.

By the time the two teams reached the fourth quarter, Altamont made a final push to end the doubt and reach the final four.

Trailing 7-5 in the early minutes of the game, Altamont forced six mistakes by Neoga in the first quarter to get the advantage.

Using a zone press to force action, the Indians created their own offensive chances.

Coach Niebrugge likes to use a lot of players and his bench came up with some important minutes on Wednesday night.

Wyatt Stone, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, came off of the bench to finish with seven-points and nine-rebounds while sophomore guard Alek Biggs played a large role in the early scoring.

Biggs finished with six-points in the game as did 5-foot-9 senior guard Drake Williams.

Following a 3-point bomb by Armstrong and a combined 4-of-6 foul shots by both Childerson and Stevenson, Biggs nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing.

When Cornett made a steal and finished with a fast break lay in, Altamont had its first double-digit lead.

Armstrong scored six-points in the second quarter which was matched by Neoga's junior Drew Ramert.

But Armstrong got his at the end of the half, netting a couple of key shots to close the half at 32-22.

Neoga's final mini run (8-2) came on the strength of a pair of 3-pointers by Hill and Cornell, cutting the gap down to just 36-30 with 3:35 left in the third.

Altamont closed the quarter with a 10-0 run with Williams draining a 3-pointer and Biggs converting a three-point play.

A basket by Stone on a nice assist from Armstrong with :01 left closed the quarter at 49-34.

Neoga did cut into the lead somewhat in the fourth, only to miss two-consecutive 1-and-1 chances that could have made things more interesting.

Coach Niebrugge saw his club take control from that point on, with a 9-2 run that got the benches emptied in the final minutes.

“We bared down on the defensive end. When they got it down to six or eight points, we would run a set and get a score and then our defense didn't let it get closer than that,” said Coach Niebrugge. “I hope to say that it is our conditioning, but I don't know. We run eight guys in and out. So we want to stay as fresh as possible.”

Altamont finished the game not so hot from the floor, hitting just 22-of-58 overall and 4-of-12 from the arc.

Both teams were equal with turnovers at 10 apiece.

Neoga finished 19-of-55 from the floor ovealll.

“I was pleased how we showed some toughness in some areas. But we had to get back into the game multiple times and I was disappointed in our play at the end of quarters,” said Coach Lockhart. “I don't know how many offensive rebounds that they (Altamont) got but they got too many and their guards' ability to take us off of the dribble was the difference.”

1
2
3
4
-
F
Neoga
07
15
12
15
-
49
Altamont
18
14
17
18
-
67
Neoga (49) –Hill 2 2 0-0 10, Roy 0 1 0-0 3, Cornell 3 2 0-0 12, T. Fletcher 0 0 1-2 1, Ramert 4 0 0-1 8, Gresens 0 0 0-1 0, E. Fletcher 0 0 0-0 0, Clark 3 0 3-5 9, Butler 2 0 2-3 6.
2FG-14, 3FG-5, FT-6-12, PF-20.
Altamont (67) – Stevenson 3 0 5-6 11, Flores 0 0 1-2 1, Stone 3 0 1-3 7, Hammer 0 0 0-0 0, Burns 0 0 0-0 0, Biggs 1 1 1-1 6, Williams 0 2 0-0 6, Armstrong 5 1 1-2 14, Duckwitz 0 0 0-0 0, Klitzing 0 0 0-0 0, Childerson 2 0 5-6 9, Cornett 4 0 5-6 13.
2FG-18, 3FG-4, FT-19-26, PF-17.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.
WINDSOR-STEWARDSON-STRASBURG 70, COWDEN-HERRICK-BEECHER CITY 59
The Hatchets advanced into the championship semifinals with a win over the Bobcats behind 21-points from Nic Hutchinson and 16-points from Chase Thies.

WSS (11-8) also got 11-points from Christian Kessler and 10-points from Josh Overbeck in the quarterfinal win.

The Hatchets were good enough from the foul line as they made the Bobcats pay from the foul line by hitting 24-of-33 from the line as they pulled away in the second half for the victory.

CH-BC (8-9) were led by 19-points from Aaron Nohren and 14-points from Konner Blackerby in the loss as they move into the consolation bracket.

WSS outrebounded the Bobcats 29-19 with Kessler grabbing nine boards for Coach Cody McCollum.

1
2
3
4
-
F
Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City
13
21
10
15
-
59
Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg
16
16
16
22
-
70
Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City (59) – Phillips 0 1 0-0 3, Blackerby 7 0 0-0 14, Stewart 1 2 0-0 8, Grove 2 1 0-0 7, M. Nohren 1 0 0-0 2, A. Nohren 7 0 5-5 19, Buzzard 2 0 0-0 4, Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Kirchhofer 0 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0 0-2 2.
2FG-21, 3FG-4, FT-5-7, PF-20.

Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg (70) – Bennett 2 0 0-1 4, Thies 3 1 7-10 16, Overbeck 3 1 1-2 10, Hutchinson 5 2 5-6 21, Kessler 4 0 3-4 11, Kramer 0 0 8-10 8.
2FG-17, 3FG-4, FT-24-33, PF-11.

Fouled Out
– Stewart - Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City.
Technical Fouls
– None.