GREATER EGYPTIAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Crab Orchard, Gallatin County advance
Trojans, Hawks set for Saturday night special; T'ville tops Pope Co. for seventh

01-27-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
HARRISBURG - Despite jumping out to an early lead and never trailing in the semifinal win over Galatia, the Crab Orchard Trojans never were in a comfort zone.

Coach Jon Brown's club, however, managed to overcome some “shaky” moments on both ends of the floor to advance to Saturday night's Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament title game.

According to Coach Brown, the Trojans always seem to have their hands full with the Bearcats, and the victory wasn't secured until the final horn sounded as a last second 3-point attempt by Galatia missed the mark.

On a night when every point counted, Coach Brown got a balanced scoring attack with all six of the players who logged scoring points.

The leader on this night in the book was 5-foot-7 junior guard Cameron Stephen.

Stephens hit for 13-points in the low scoring contest, as he helped get the Trojans the first half lead with 10-points in the first two quarters.

Levi Vinson also came up big in the first half, scoring all 12 of his points in the first two quarters.

Six-foot-three senior Caleb Vaughn tossed in nine-points for Crab Orchard while McKager Ferrell added six.

Senior's Jaden Schell and Amos Beasley added three-points each as that was the total amount of points for the Trojans.

After jumping out to an early spread, the shots that fell early for the Trojans didn't find the mark for the most part in the remainder of the contest as Galatia rallied to tie the game three different times.

“We struggled getting things going consistently on offense tonight. We never got into a real good flow. We have played them three times now. The first time we struggled with them for a half, the second time we played them we struggled for three quarters and this time we struggled right until the buzzer,” said Coach Brown. “It wasn't our best performance. We weren't really in sync tonight.”

Galatia saw its mark slip to 9-12 overall with the loss but they nearly pulled off the seeding upset.

The Bearcats, who were seeded sixth heading into the event, topped Hardin County on Tuesday night and they came oh so close to derailing the second-seeded Trojans on Friday night.

Five-foot-eleven senior guard Luke Lawrence led the Bearcats with 11-points while Devyn Verbeck added 10.

Galatia got seven-points from senior Kody Matthews and six-points from junior Will Pulliam and 6-foot-6 junior Austin Pritchett.

“Our kids played really well and you're not going to get all of the breaks. That's just how the ball bounces sometimes,” said Coach Wallace. “I told the kids I am not displeased at all. We got beat on our floor by them by about 16 and on their floor about the same. Tonight on a neutral floor we came in here a played with them all the way to the end. We got some pretty good guard play and we present some matchup problems for some teams.”

The Trojans opened up the contest looking as they were going to have no problems with the Galatia 2-3 zone defense.

Getting the ball inside and then kicking back out for open 3-point shots was the “bread and butter” early for Crab Orchard.

Vinson opened the game with a 3-pointer from the left wing. Vaughn and Stephens also hit 3-point bombs in the first eight minutes.

Vinson took a kick-out pass from Ferrell and canned another trey, this time from the right corner.

Vaughn closed the frame with a driving fast break score on a nice spin move to the basket.

His bank shot found the bottom of the net just before the horn for a 17-9 lead at the end of one.

The Trojans finished 6-of-13 from the field in the first quarter and were in command.

But as it turned out, this was really the only time the Trojans were at ease with the lead.

Galatia stuck with the defensive game plan of using its zone and the offense began to take shape to begin the second quarter.

An 8-0 scoring run tied the game at 17-all with Matthews and Verbeck both canning 3-pointers in the move.

A drive to the basket by Lawrence as he got a fall away 12-footer to fall through the basket to even things with 4:49 left.

After a Crab Orchard timeout, the Trojans outscored Galatia 14-6 the rest of the half.

Three 3-point bombs helped secure the lead at halftime.

Vinson got it going with a 3-pointer and then a steal and fast break score while being fouled by Verbeck.

His converted three-point play, followed by a 3-point bomb by Stephens opened up a 26-17 lead.

A rebound bucket by Ferrell and the third 3-pointer in the run by Stephens sent the teams to the half at 31-23 Trojans.

Unfortunately for Crab Orchard, the shots that were falling in bunches in the first half didn't find the mark as often in the second half.

Crab was just 3-of-14 from the floor in the third quarter, which allowed Galatia back in contention.

A Vaughn 3-pointer was the only points for the Trojans during a seven-minute stretch in which Galatia tied the game at 34-all.

Lawrence cashed in 3-of-4 free throws and Pulliam and Matthews netted shots inside.

A drive to the basket for a lay in by Matthews tied the game at the 1:44 mark.

But after each run by Galatia, the Trojans had some sort of offensive answer.

Beasley made 1-of-2 free throws and added an inside score.

Vaughn closed the quarter by making 2-of-2 from the foul line for a 39-36 lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Galatia managed one final tie, at 43-43 with 2:54 left, when Verbeck took a pass on the left wing on a set play coming off of a double-screen and he banked home a 3-pointer.

On the next possession, Crab Orchard also ran an out-of-bounds set, getting the ball to Stephens in the right corner.

His 20-footer found the mark as the Trojans took back the lead.

This score turned out to be the final margin as neither team scored another point in the final 2:26.

Each team committed turnovers (five total) in the final moments, including Lawrence who was called for a charging foul with :49 left.

Crab Orchard had a chance to ice the game from the foul line but Ferrell missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with :18.9 remaining.

Galatia secured the rebound and, after a timeout, got the open look they wanted for a 3-point attempt from Lawrence near the top of the arc.

However the ball went a bit wide to the left barely hitting the backboard as the Trojans grabbed the rebound and the victory as the buzzer went off.

The Trojans, who are now 16-5 overall, will face Gallatin County in a rematch of last season's GEC title game that was won by the Hawks, 62-52.

The Hawks handled NCOE in the second semifinal matchup.

The final totals were very close for the game between the two clubs but one figure stood out as a difference maker, especially early in the contest.

Galatia ended up with 15-turnovers, with eight coming in the first half as they missed out on some early opportunities.

The Trojans were much better with the “rock” as they had just six-turnovers in the game.

Galatia shot the ball much better and they held a 22-16 rebounding edge.

The Bearcats ended up 16-of-29 from the floor overall (55.1 percent) and hit 4-of-9 from the 3-point arc.

Crab Orchard survived and advanced in spite of just a 15-of-42 (35.7 percent) overall effort and only 9-of-23 from the outer circle.

Galatia will play Norris City-Omaha-Enfield in the third place game on Saturday night.

“We were wanting to get more scoring from our “bigs” inside but we didn't finish on some of our shots,” said Coach Brown. “Stephens hit a big shot on the out-of-bounds play. I'm just glad to get out of here tonight with “W” and get back to the championship game tomorrow. This is a fun week every year for the kids, the entire conference. It's a chance to come out and play in front of everybody.”

1
2
3
4
-
F
Galatia
09
14
13
07
-
43
Crab Orchard
17
14
08
07
-
46
Galatia (43) - Lawrence 3 0 5-6 11, Matthews 2 1 0-0 7, Stevens 0 1 0-0 3, Mattingly 0 0 0-0 0, Pulliam 3 0 0-0 6, Verbeck 1 2 2-4 10, Pritchett 3 0 0-1 6.
2FG-12, 3FG-4, FT-7-11, PF-12.
Crab Orchard (46) – Vaughn 1 1 4-4 9, Stephens 0 4 1-2 13, Ferrell 3 0 0-1 6,Schell 0 1 0-0 3, Vinson 1 3 1-1 12, Beasley 1 0 1-2 3.
2FG-6, 3FG-9, FT-7-10, PF-13.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.

GALLATIN COUNTY 74, NORRIS CITY-OMAHA-ENFIELD 50
The Hawks pulled away in the second half with a 25-16 third quarter on their way to the title game with the win over the Fighting Cardinals in the second semifinal on Friday.

Coach Doug Miller got 32-points from senior guard Seth Ramsey in the romp as the team leader led the way in all phases.

Aaron Walters tossed in 12-points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Audie Goebel added 10-points as the Hawks improved to 16-5 heading into the title game against Crab Orchard.

NCOE (5-13) was led by Cooper Wells with 21-points while Matt Long and Trenton Verble added eight-points each.

The Hawks hit 12-of-15 from the foul line in the victory.

Ramsey eclipsed the 2,000-point plateau during the game for his career.

1
2
3
4
-
F
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
16
08
16
10
-
50
Gallatin County
21
09
25
10
-
74
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (50) – Long 2 1 1-2 8, Taylor 0 0 0-0 0, Wells 7 0 7-9 21, Verbel 1 2 0-0 8, Baumgart 1 1 0-0 5, Healy 0 0 2-2 2, Barton 1 0 0-0 2, Skaggs 0 0 0-0 0, Simmons 1 0 0-0 2, O'Neal 1 0 0-1 2, Travelstead 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-14, 3FG-4, FT-10-14, PF-15.

Gallatin County (74) – Ramsey 13 0 6-9 32, Goebel 4 0 2-2 10, A. Walters 3 2 0-0 12, Rubio 3 0 0-0 6, Duvall 2 0 2-2 6, H. Walters 0 0 0-0 0, Rushing 2 0 0-0 4, Wargel 0 0 0-0 0, Hish 1 0 2-2 4, Reeder 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-28, 3FG-2, FT-12-15, PF-16.
Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.
THOMPSONVILLE 55, POPE COUNTY 44
The Tigers got themselves a win after dropping their first two games of the tournament as they improved to 5-12 on the season after avenging an early season loss to the Pirates.

Coach Pete Gordon got 17-points from Tyson Kessler in the win while Jared Payne added 11.

Cory Wilce and Corbin Fitch tossed in nine-points each and Reed Raubach added eight-points in the victory.

Pope County (5-16) received 15-points from Matthew Davis and 10-points from Jackson Eddington.

1
2
3
4
-
F
Pope County
04
19
13
08
-
44
Thompsonville
14
15
04
22
-
55
Pope County (44) – Davis 1 4 1-2 15, Grider 0 0 0-0 0, Fasolo 0 1 0-0 3, Jake Floyd 1 0 2-6 4, Blankenship 32 0 4-5 8, Josh Floyd 2 0 0-0 4, Rison 0 0 0-0 0, Eddington 2 1 3-4 10, Hobbs 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-8, 3FG-6, FT-10-17, PF-19.

Thompsonville (55) – Payne 2 0 7-9 11, Wilce 1 1 4-4 9, Darge 0 0 1-2 1, Kessler 7 0 3-6 17, Fitch 4 0 1-3 9, Raubach 1 2 0-0 8, Dixon 0 0 0-0 0, Kirkman 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-15, 3FG-3, FT-16-24, PF-15.

Fouled Out
– Jake Floyd - Pope County.
Technical Fouls
– Jake Floyd - Pope County.