Vienna gets key road win
Eagles outwork host Chester on the glass, win 51-48

- When a team at home doesn't feel comfortable, it usually means the opposition has created a disruptive setting.

On Wednesday night in their first ever Black Diamond West Division game, the Vienna Eagles went on the road and became a royal pain to their hosts.

After not playing a game since November 26th, the Eagles could have came out flat on this night.

But it was Chester who looked like they had the rust going.

The Eagles mixed up defenses and confused the host Chester Yellow Jackets into enough mistakes to take home a hard fought 51-48 victory on the road many miles from home.

With the Eagles shifting divisions in the BDC, this was the first trip to Chester for the basketball Eagles and they made the most of the journey by forcing the Yellow Jackets out of their normal rhythm.

Behind balanced scoring and a strong rebounding effort, Coach Cory Waters saw his club improve to 5-1 on the season, 1-0 in the West Division with the victory.

“We wanted to not let them get into a rhythm tonight because Coach Norman has a good team so we wanted to make sure we buckled down and played help side defense,” said Coach Waters. “We mixed in a little zone and a little man just to try to disrupt them and in the second quarter we did that. They are a good team, they are solid.”

Seven different Vienna players scored and six of them had at least six-points.

Six-foot-four senior Brandon Casey topped club with 11-points while junior Ben Daine and senior guard Lucas Strickland netted eight-points apiece.

Two other Eagles; junior Nolan Dahncke and junior Hugo Quintana, popped home seven-points each.

Despite some early foul trouble, 6-foot-4 junior Trenton Hyde put in six-points while sophomore Gabe Snell scored four-points.

All of the Eagles contributed to the success story on Wednesday night.

The defensive effort, especially in the second quarter, set the tone and tempo of the contest and with a commanding 31-20 rebounding edge, the Eagles didn't let Chester get many second chances.

This overall play allowed the Eagles to overcome 18-turnovers, including seven in a fourth quarter stretch in which they allowed Chester to take a lead.

However as they had done earlier in the contest, they managed to hit the big shots late and get the stops to earn their first conference win.

For Chester the offense never got on track as the rally that they made in the fourth quarter was prompted by forcing the Eagles' mistakes.

Coach Brad Norman had a pair of double-digit scorers with Savion Smith and Josh Haberberger scoring 16 and 14-points for the Yellow Jackets, who saw their team taste defeat for the first time after running the table in winning the Trico Pioneer Invitational Tournament (5-0) last week.

“We missed a lot of shots, especially early and we have got to do a better job on the boards,” said Coach Norman. “We just weren't ready to rebound tonight. We did a lot of standing and watching tonight. Vienna has got guys who can play and are tough. They were tougher than we were tonight.”

Chester took a first quarter lead with points coming from Smith and Haberberger in the early going and then a late basket by senior forward Jack Weir.

Weir scored on a baseline spin move that closed the quarter at 14-11.

That bucket occurred at the 1:10 mark of the first frame.

The Yellow Jackets didn't score another point for the next 9:10 in the half, as they missed 10-consecutive field goal attempts, including three 3's.

In that time period, Vienna gradually got the offense running, closing the half with a 12-0 burst.

Defensively the Eagles also forced four turnovers in the second quarter for a nine-point lead at intermission.

Again, it was balance in the quarter as it was the whole game for Vienna as six-different players scored the six two-point field goals in the stanza.

Two straight Vienna steals, one each by Dahncke and and Casey resulted in fast break lay ins.

A baseline drive by Quintana and a turnaround jumper in the paint by Daine closed the quarter at 23-14 Vienna.

Chester got back into the contest by extending their pressure fullcourt and caused some carelessness by the visitors.

Martin and Josh Haberberger, just seconds apart, made steals and scores to cut into the deficit and back-to-back conventional three-point plays in the paint by Smith fired up the crowd and the Yellow Jackets as they trailed just 27-24.

Chester's inability to keep Vienna off of the offensive glass proved costly, especially late in the third quarter.

Three different times they gave up offensive rebounds that turned into points.

“That was a focus of ours (after the Eldorado game) that we had to do a better job rebounding. Tonight we wanted to make sure we had at least two guys crashing the boards,” said Coach Waters. “I thought we did a lot better job of that tonight. We had a week and a half of practicing. We got tired of seeing each other.”

Strickland grabbed a rebound off of his own missed shot for a stick back on one trip and then Daine muscled in an grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed free thros by Snell.

Strickland was fouled and when he converted both free throws with :01.6 left in the third, Vienna led 35-29 heading to the fourth.

Chester took its first lead since the first quarter on the strength of four Vienna turnovers that triggered a 10-0 Yellow Jacket sting.

Weir and Smith opened and closed the run with both of the seniors driving the lane for scores.

Smith netted consecutive drives in the paint for points and Weir ended the run with a long 3-point bomb from the left wing for a 39-35 lead with 3:25 remaining.

After a bucket by Strickland stopped the run, Haberberger nailed his fourth 3-pointer of the game, this time from the right wing as Chester led by its largest spread at 42-37.

Vienna, after producing more mistakes than good plays in the first six minutes of the quarter, made a game-winning run.

Coach Waters saw his club go on an 11-3 run with a huge 3-pointer from Dahncke and a pair of drives by Casey.

The three points for Chester in the run came from Haberberger on a long shot from the right wing that tied the game at 46-all.

But Casey's second drive gave the Eagles back the lead and 3-of-4 free throws nearly iced the game.

“During our Thanksgiving tournament this happened to us, Carrier Mills, Century and Galatia all had us down late but we stuck together at the end,” said Coach Waters. “Our tournament really helped us out for tonight.”

However with :06.7 left, Casey left the door slightly open for Chester as he missed the second of two free throws and Chester grabbed the rebound. Haberberger got the ball to Martin on the right wing and his 3-pointer bounced off of the rim as the horn sounded for the Vienna victory.

Coach Norman can point to many issues on the night, but the key stat turned out to be rebounding.

The Yellow Jackets gave up 16-offensive rebounds of the Eagles' 31-boards.

Neither team shot the ball well, with Chester hitting just 18-of-45 (40 percent) and just 6-of-20 from the arc.

They committed 16-turnovers with 10 of them coming in the second half when they needed to take care of the ball to finish off the rally.

Hitting just 4-of-9 free throws didn't help the cause, either.

Vienna was just good enough on this night as they, too, had offensive issues.

The Eagles were just 20-of-49 overall from the floor (40.8 percent) but they did most of that inside the arc.

They hit 10-of-18 from the line in the victory.

“They (Vienna) hit their free throws late. I thought it was a clean game and well officiated and they let both teams play,” said Coach Norman. “But they finished around the rim better than we did tonight.”

Both teams get back to action on Friday night as Chester heads to Sesser-Valier and Vienna plays host to Zeigler-Royalton in BDC games.

Vienna (51) – Paine 1 0 6-6 8, Dahncke 2 1 0-0 7, Strickland 4 0 0-1 8, Casey 5 0 1-5 11, Hyde 3 0 0-0 6, Quintana 3 0 1-1 7, Hutchinson 0 0 0-0 0, Snell 1 0 2-5 4, Smith 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-19, 3FG-1, FT-10-18, PF-16.
Chester (48) - Martin 1 0 1-2 3, Golding 0 0 1-2 1, Smith 6 0 2-5 16, Jake Haberberger 2 0 0-0 4, Josh Haberberger 1 4 0-0 14, Weir 2 1 0-0 7, Heffernan 0 1 0-0 3, Bollman 0 0 0-0 0, Wingerter 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-12, 3FG-6, FT-4-9, PF-20.

Fouled Out – Heffernan - Chester.
Technical Fouls – None.