Chester keeps BDC West title in sight
Behind triple-double by Keith Kiner III, Yellow Jackets stay league perfect

CHRISTOPHER - In high school basketball, a triple-double is rare.

While it is seemingly an everyday occurrence in the National Basketball Association, it is uncommon in prep basketball.

They happen in southern Illinois about as often as a solar eclipse or me making just one trip at the Chinese Buffet.

Tuesday night at Christopher, Chester's Keith Kiner III turned the trick.

The 6-foot-6 senior forward dominated the road contest.

Kiner scored 20-points, grabbed 11-rebounds and came up with 10-blocks as the Yellow Jackets had little trouble with the host Bearcats in a 67-26 romp in Black Diamond Conference action.

Kiner did all of this damage in less than 28 minutes of play as he sat out the final 4:01 after the continuous clock rule kicked in.

Chester broke the school record for wins in a season with the victory as Coach Brad Norman's team improved to 22-5 on the season.

The ABV sixth-ranked 2A team in the South jumped out to a 10-0 lead and opened the second half with a 9-0 run to subdued the hosts while improving to 9-0 in the BDC West Division.

Chester hit 9-of-11 shots in the first quarter as they were never threatened in the game.

But it was the defensive end of the floor, spurned on by Kiner, that proved to be the difference.

Coach Eric Stallman and his Bearcats had zero answers for Chester on Tuesday as they didn't make as much as a slight dent in the Yellow Jackets' lead.

Christopher ended up just 9-of-44 overall from the field (20.5 percent) and 4-of-31 from inside the 3-point line.

Many of the missed shot came from Kiner blocks or Kiner alterations of shots.

“He (Kiner) has gotten better as the season has went on. We have been trying to work with him defensively. He has that special 'knack' and he knows where the basketball is at the majority of the time,” said Coach Norman. “The main thing with him is to get him to compete every single day and he has done that so well lately. He has improved his overall game. He has to be able to (defend the paint) without fouling and he did that tonight. He is athletic enough where he can get around and effect shots from the backside of the defense. He has been really great for us.”

The Bearcats fell to 3-6 in the league and just 9-16 overall by also committing nine turnovers.

If things weren't bad enough on the inside for the hosts, defensively they lost track of senior guard Colin Wingerter a few times early in the game trying to stop Kiner in the paint.

The 6-foot-1 shooting guard was an assassin from the arc, nailing down five 3-pointers and finishing with 18-points.

The Yellow Jackets were 9-of-16 from 19'9” and 25-of-42 (59.5 percent) overall.

Chester took care of the ball as they coughed up just five turnovers and committed just four personal fouls in the contest.

They connected on a 25-of-42 shots from the floor, including 9-of-16 from long range.

“They (Chester) are a very good team and they are looking at probably being a number two seed in a 2A regional. They do a lot of things really well,” said Coach Stallman. “They shot it extremely well. Kiner stepped out and hit some 3's. They hit 56 percent of their 3's. They are good, that is all there is to it.”

All added up the game wasn't much of one as Chester took immediate command.

In fact just six seconds into the game the Yellow Jackets were on the board as Kiner got the ball in the paint after winning the opening tip.

His bucket with 7:54 to go in the first gave Coach Norman's club the lead for keeps.

Six-foot-six junior forward Ian Reith scored 13-points for the Yellow Jackets and he got his night going early as he converted a three-point play after the Kiner beginning.

Wingerter hit his first long range shot of the night and senior Drake Bollman got in on the fun with a transition score that forced a Christopher timeout at 10-0 Chester.

Christopher was led by 5-foot-8 sophomore Kye Garver with nine-points, all of which came on three 3-pointers.

Two of the shots came in the first quarter as the Bearcats tried to keep pace.

Garver (2) and junior guard Gabriel Motsinger each hit 3-pointers to close the Chester lead down to just 17-9.

That was as close as the score would get for the rest of the night for Christopher.

Another trey by Wingerter, a rebound basket by Kiner and two free throws by Wingerter ended the frame at 24-11 Chester.

A bucket by Reith and three consecutive made 3-pointers from Wingerter, Kiner and junior guard DeOndre Martin pushed the lead to 35-21 at halftime.

The Yellow Jackets ended the first 16 minutes of play hitting 13-of-19 from the floor.

“Colin Wingerter shot the lights out for us tonight, he hit four 3's in the first half,” said Coach Norman.

Christopher tried some “zone defense” on the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday.

This strategy didn't work, at all.

Senior guard Jake Cushman picked up a pair of assists in the first two minutes of the second half.

He found Kiner on a lob in the lane for a basket and then he fed Kiner on a fast break lay in off of a Christopher turnover.

A 3-point bomb by Wingerter and yet another basket from Reith got Coach Stallman to take another timeout with his Bearcats in real trouble at 44-21 at the 4:13 mark.

Six-foot-one junior Bryce Pratt hit two free throws for Christopher to stop the Jackets scoring jaunt just briefly.

Those were the hosts only points of the quarter.

Reith hit two free throws and then scored on a nice inbounds play were Kiner got the ball near the foul line and then passed it underneath for a score.

Chester's Drake Bollman, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, closed out the third quarter scoring on a drive to the basket as Chester led 51-23.

Kiner nailed his second 3-pointer with 6:11 remaining in the game to push the lead to 55-24 and a continuous clock effect.

Chester closed out its run at 10-0 with reserve sophomore Jordan Hughes scoring on a fast break as both teams' reserves finished out the contest.

“I thought our defense as a whole rotated really well tonight. We were getting to shooters. We made some adjustments after #3 (Garver) hit a couple (of 3's) and we were really getting to him more (pressure) and our bigs helped out a lot,” said Coach Norman. “Keith (Kiner) being able to sag off of #25 (Gage Hawkins) and help protect the rim.”

The Yellow Jackets joined the Black Diamond Conference at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

Since then the boy's basketball team hasn't won the West Division title but they head into their final three games of the league slate needing wins on the road over Trico and Goreville and a home date with Sesser-Valier on February 15 to run the table for an undefeated league campaign.

Trico begins the three game conference finish on February 9.

The 22-5 mark (so far) surpassed the two of the previous top win marks for a season, set by the 1959-60 team (21-8) and the 2012-13 team coached by Norman (21-9).

It ties the 22-wins from last season.

Since arriving at the school, Coach Norman is now sitting at 143-81 overall in his eighth season and is currently the all-time winningest boy's basketball coach at Chester.

The Bearcats didn't put a player in double-digits in scoring as Garver's nine topped the list while Pratt ended up with eight.

The Bearcats will head back into action Thursday night as they host Vienna.

Black Diamond Conference
Chester (67) – Bollmaqn 2 0 0-0 4, Cushman 0 0 0-0 0, Kiner III 7 2 0-0 20, Wingerter 0 5 3-4 18, Reith 5 0 3-5 13, Martin 0 1 0-2 3, Andrews 0 0 0-0 0, E. Hughes 0 0 1-2 1, J. Hughes 1 0 0-0 2, Landeros 1 1 0-0 5. 2FG-16, 3FG-9, FT-7-13, PF-4.
Christopher (26) – Sveda 0 0 0-0 0, Garver 0 3 0-0 9, Rolla 0 0 0-0 0, Ingoldsby 0 0 0-0 0, Motsinger 1 1 0-0 5, Pratt 1 1 3-4 8, Fletcher 1 0 0-0 2, Hawkins 1 0 0-2 2, Goins 0 0 0-0 0, Mazur 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-4, 3FG-5, FT-3-6, PF-12.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.