Chester advances to title game
Yellow Jackets never trail in 62-47 win over Saxony Lutheran
Valmeyer moves to consolation title game, 61-27 over Shawnee
CHESTER - Basketball has always been considered a game of scoring runs.

On Thursday night at the Chester Invitational Tournament, the host Yellow Jackets' runs were bigger and better.

The hosts will now have a chance on Saturday night to defend its CIT championship.

They paved their way into the final by jumping out to a big early lead on Saxony Lutheran in the semifinals on Thursday night.

Getting out to an early advantage and holding off challenging runs by the Crusaders, Coach Brad Norman's squad will play now play for the big trophy.

And a big third quarter push to begin the second half vaulted Chester into the finale against Waterloo.

Thursday night's 62-47 win improved Coach Brad Norman's club to 11-7 on the season and they now have a shot at back-to-back titles of this long standing event.

Going up against a pretty good zone defensive scheme by the Crusaders, the Yellow Jackets showed patience and got a lot of good looks at the basket.

The end result was three Chester players reaching double-figures in points, led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Ian Reith, and a very good overall shooting night for the hosts.

Reith led the squad with 22 points in the contest, most of which came inside against the zone.

Six-foot-three senior guard DeOndre Martin added 18 points while sophomore guard Jared Landeros tossed in 11 points.

“When you got a guy like Ian Reith to throw it to, the way he pump fakes and does the small things with his left or his right hand, it opens up a zone for you pretty easy,” said Coach Norman. “I think our strength of schedule has helped us. I think the game is starting to slow down for our guys a little bit and our strength of schedule has a lot to do with that. When you get tired of losing I think they wanted to get into the gym you work a little bit harder. And it is paying off this week.”

The backcourt did a good job handling the pressure by the Saxony trapping zone and Reith was able to finish around the basket.

This combination allowed the hosts to get back to the title game for the second year in-a-row.

Chester was outstanding shooting the ball on Thursday night, connecting on 63.1 percent of their overall field goal attempts, with nearly all of them (22-of-33, 66.6 percent) coming from inside the 3-point arc.

Jackson (MO.) Saxony Lutheran saw its overall mark slip to 6-9 on the year.

The Crusaders were topped in scoring by 6-foot-6 senior forward Andrew Schwarting with a game-best 23 points.

Jack Foeste, a 6-foot senior guard, posted 10 points for his club.

Coach Justin Callahan didn't get much additional help in scoring as they will now face fellow Missouri team Valle Catholic of St. Louis in the third place tilt on Saturday night.

It wasn't a bad night offensively for the Crusaders overall as they hit 15-of-34 overall (44.1 percent) but on this night it wasn't good enough.

Coach Norman's club came out after the opening tap with an 8-0 run with four points coming from Reith.

The senior hit a pair of early free throws and closed the run on a drive to the basket while teammates Martin and junior forward Matt Korando each scored.

Saxony was quick to respond as Schwarting nailed down the team's only successful 3-point attempt (1-of-5) of the game and he later scored on a nice assist from Foeste.

A pair of free throws by senior Tysen Miller got Saxony Lutheran back to within 8-7 with 1:47 left in the first quarter.

For Coach Callahan and Company, that would be as close as they would get to Chester the rest of the game.

Chester's second run closed the first quarter and began the second (11-0) as they controlled the remainder of the contest.

Jordan Hughes, a 6-foot junior, hit 1-of-2 free throws and ended the first quarter on a drive down the middle of the lane.

Those points were sandwiched around two baskets by Martin as the first quarter ended at 15-7 Chester.

Martin and Reith hooked up with Martin delivering a pass to Reith for an easy score in the paint.

When Martin converted a fast break lay in on the following possession, Chester's lead was not 19-7.

Reith assisted Korando on a score and then the 6-foot-6 senior added two more points in the lane on a nice spin moves from the left blocks.

His bucket pushed the Yellow Jackets to their biggest first half advantage at 25-10 with 3:07 remaining in the half.

Saxony scored the final six points of the second quarter to keep Chester in sight.

Free throws by Foeste and senior guard Luke Bartens along with a closing basket by Schwarting on an inbounds lob pass that beat the buzzer closed the half with the Crusaders down just 25-16.

Landeros, who was scoreless in the first half, scored five points in succession as the second half began.

The left handed sophomore drilled home a 3-pointer from the top of the circle and added two free throws.

Then Reith scored six of his points with a pair of inside the paint scores and also two free throws.

His score underneath the basket gave the Yellow Jackets a 36-20 lead.

“Patience, getting to the overload (against the zone) and getting the ball into the right guy's hands we were successful,” said Coach Norman. “Sometimes we try to pass the ball too much but once we got into the flow of the game a little bit, we got some easy buckets.”

Martin and Landeros also added points, with a 3-pointer by Landeros coming from a Reith offensive rebound.

Martin also collected a basket on a put back as Chester's lead expanded to 41-22 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.

Six-foot-two senior Ethan Koenig scored six points for Saxony Lutheran, including consecutive baskets late in the third.

He got points in the lane twice as the Crusaders got to within 44-30 with under minute to go.

But Martin closed the quarter, beating the horn with a cut to the basket on an assist from Hughes while being fouled by Koenig.

The made free throw gave Chester a 17 point spread heading into the final quarter.

Saxony opened the fourth quarter by putting a bit of a scare into the hosts.

Six consecutive points on four free throws (Schwarting and Miller, two each) and jumper in the lane by Schwarting made it 47-36.

But Reith netted six of his points in the fourth quarter and despite some free throw issues late (3-of-8) Chester got enough stops to advance to the title game.

Schwarting's final line came out to be 23 points with 6-of-7 from the foul line and 16 of his points in the second half.

His final bucket came with 1:47 left to get it to 59-45.

Both coaches cleared the benches soon after to close out the contest.

Neither team took care of the ball when they weren't shooting shots.

Chester ended up with 12 turnovers while Saxony Lutheran “coughed it up” 14 times.

The Yellow Jackets held a slight 20-17 rebounding edge as Coach Norman and his club set their sights on winning the 58th annual tournament.

The Crusaders will face 4-5 Valle Catholic on Saturday night in the third place game.

The Warriors dropped a 60-40 decision to Waterloo on Wednesday night in the other semifinal game of the bracketed event.

The Bulldogs, a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference, are 7-11 on the season but are on a three-game winning streak for head coach Dane Walters in the teams' first visit to the CIT.

“Getting back to the title game is great and I hope we can have a good crowd Saturday night,” said Coach Norman. “We are going to face a competitive Waterloo team and I hope we can have a good night.”

Saxony Lutheran (6-9)
Chester (11-7)

Saxony Lutheran (47)
– Foeste 3 0 4-4 10, Adams 0 0 0-0 0, Dunn 0 0 0-0 0, Britton 0 0 0-0 0, Dreyer 0 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Bartens 0 0 1-2 1, Koenig 3 0 0-2 6, Schwarting 7 1 6-7 23, Drury 0 0 1-2 1, Pruitt 0 0 0-0 0, Eldridge 1 0 0-0 2, Miller 0 0 4-4 4.
2FG-14, 3FG-1, FT-16-21, PF-14.

Chester (62) – Korando 2 0 1-3 5, Martin 8 0 2-3 18, Landeros 1 2 3-4 11, Eggemeyer 0 0 0-0 0, J. Hughes 1 9 1-2 3, A. Jany 1 0 1-2 3, E. Hughes 0 0 0-0 0, Stumpe 0 0 0-0 0, Reith 9 0 4-4 22, Schroeder 0 0 0-2 0. K. Jany 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-22, 3FG-2, FT-12-20, PF-18.
Fouled Out – E. Koenig - Saxony Lutheran; Korando - Chestewr
Technical Fouls – None.
The Pirates jumped on the Redskins with a 17-0 run that carried into the second quarter as they cruised to a consolation semifinal win Thursday night in the opening game.

Coach Neil Siburt got points from eight different players as they improved to 9-8 on the season with the victory.

The Pirates will face Cahokia Conference rival New Athens on Saturday for the consolation title.

New Athens topped Perryville (MO.) 65-55 on Wednesday night.

Valmeyer was paced by junior Jacob Rowald with 15 points.

Freshman Harry Miller and senior Riley McCarthy added 11 and 10 points respectively.

McCarthy netted a trio of 3-pointers in the game in which the Pirates never trailed and ended up with a continuous mercy clock in the fourth quarter.

Coach Siburt also got nine points from junior Conor Greer in the win.

Shawnee and head coach LaDonna Bachmann saw the Redskins slip to 0-9 on the season with the loss.

Junior Devin Clendenin scored 11 points for Shawnee while sophomore Barden Freeman and Justin Kaufman added six points each.

Senior Ryan Schaefer scored four for the Redskins.

Shawnee got blitzed from the beginning from Valmeyer as they were forced into 11 first quarter turnovers as they fell behind quickly.

McCarthy and Miller each connected on early 3-point bombs and Greer scored twice in transition for the Pirates.

By the time that Kaufman scored on a steal and a fast break, Shawnee was down 17-3.

Clendenin hit two of his three 3-pointers in the second quarter for the only other points of the half as Valmeyer led 27-9 at halftime.

Following a 3-pointer from Freeman to open the second half for the Redskins, Valmeyer went on an 18-2 run to put the game on ice.

Miller hit two 3-pointers in the run and Rowald hit a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play.

Rowald's trey made it 45-14 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

A late score from sophomore Evan Rowe-Brown closed the third quarter scoring at 54-19.

The Pirates ended up 20-of-49 from the floor overall, 8-of-23 as they bombed away from the arc.

Shawnee ended up 10-of-28 overall as they were 5-of-15 from both two's and three's on the night.

The Redskins did manage to rebound the ball well, holding a 25-23 advantage on the boards.

But Shawnee committed 21 turnovers, with 11 coming in the first quarter as they fell behind from the start.

Shawnee will play Perryville (MO.) on Friday night in the lone game of the event that evening.

Valmeyer (9-8)
Shawnee (0-9)

Valmeyer (61)
– McSchooler 0 1 2-2 5, Greer 3 1 0-0 9, Fausz 0 0 2-3 2, H. Miller 0 3 2-2 11, B. Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Rowald 4 1 4-6 15, McCarthy1 2 2-2 10, Hernerfauth 0 0 0-0 0, Ethan Rowe-Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Evan Rowe-Brown 3 0 0-2 6, E. Miller 1 0 1-2 3, Shelvin 0 0 0-1 0.
2FG-12 3FG-8, FT-13-20, PF-10.

Shawnee (27) – Freeman 0 2 0-0 6, McLane 0 0 0-1 0, Kaufman 2 0 2-6 6, Abraham 0 0 0-0 0, Holtman 0 0 0-0 0, Baltzell 0 0 0-0 0, Camp 0 0 0-0 0, Schaefer 2 0 0-0 4, Clendenin 1 3 0-1 11, Nicholson 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-5, 3FG-5, FT-2-8, PF-13.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.