Crab Orchard, Gallatin County win at GEC
Trojans roll past Thompsonville; Hawks edge Hardin County
HARRISBURG – The Crab Orchard Trojans, by their own standards, played a pretty poor offensive first half against the Thompsonville Tigers in the first round of the Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament on Tuesday night.

Coach Jon Brown's squad struggled to just a 22-17 lead at the half.

But the Trojans “unleashed the beast” in the third quarter, as they pummeled the Tigers with a 39 point onslaught, led by varsity veteran Kegan Peek.

The 6-foot junior guard/forward had a field day in just eight minutes of action.

Peek scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the frame, as the Trojans rolled past Thompsonville 73-41 and into the semifinals of the annual event.

Six-foot-two junior forward Quentin Meyers tossed in 15 points for Crab Orchard as nine different players scored in the cakewalk quarterfinal win.

Senior Tony Lakotich added eight points for the Trojans and reserve freshman Robby Rooker added seven points in the fourth quarter contributing to the damage done.

Senior Hunter Throgmorton scored just six points but the senior leader was helpful in other ways as he dished out five important assists, with a couple of them coming in the third quarter offensive explosion.

“In the first part of the game I didn't like our shot selection. Our philosophy is you have to make them pay when you get open looks but I didn't think we were reading their defense well in the first half,” said Coach Brown. “But in the second half we were driving to the basket and attacking.”

Thompsonville was led by 6-foot-2 senior Corbin Fitch with 14 points while junior guard Aiden Ramsey added 10.

Six-foot-one junior forward Grady Furlow added nine points for Thompsonville, who will now play Hardin County Thursday night in the consolation side of the bracket.

Crab Orchard jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead and it appeared this would be an easy victory for the Trojans early.

But some missed shots and bad defensive rebounding allowed Thompsonville to hang around.

After leading 12-6 at the end of the first quarter, Crab Orchard was just 4-of-15 from the field in the second quarter and allowed the Tigers five offensive rebounds during that stretch.

Fitch, Furlow and Ramsey all scored during the second quarter along with freshman Hayden Lindhorst for the Tigers.

Lindhorst scored on an assist from Fitch in the lane and two free throws by Ramsey closed the gap to 22-17 at halftime.

After going 9-of-27 from the floor for the half, Crab Orchard fortunate to still in the lead.

The Trojans came out much more focused in the second half as they hit Thompsonville with an avalanche of points.

Peek got his quarter going with an immediate 3-pointer just seconds in to the third quarter.

It was the beginning of four consecutive baskets by the junior forward as he got to the basket at will.

One rebound basket, one drive down the middle of the lane and a bucket in the lane on an assist from Throgmorton pushed the Crab Orchard advantage to 31-19.

Senior Grady Powell canned a 3-pointer for the Trojans in this run and Peek padded his stats with yet another penetration basket in the paint which forced Thompsonville head coach Curt Reed to call a timeout at 38-22 with 4:29 left.

“Peek had a great game getting to the basket and the third quarter was huge for us. Our defensive rebounding early caused us some issues but it was much better in the second half,” said Coach Brown. “We were in a better flow in the second half.”

Meyers added a pair of buckets off yet another nice pass from Throgmorton and a rebound basket.

With the score at 42-26 Trojans, Coach Brown's team removed all doubt with a 15-0 run which included consecutive technical fouls called on the Thompsonville bench.

Lakotich, Peek and 6-foot-2 junior forward Noah Herring all scored baskets.

Herring grabbed a rebound by going straight up to snag a missed shot and his put back pushed the lead to 50-26 with 1:21 left.

On the ensuing trip down the floor to the Thompsonville end, the Tigers' bench was issued a conduct warning.

Moments later a technical foul was issued as Coach Reed continued to argue on a dead ball at 1:12 on the clock.

Before the first technical foul free throws were taken, Coach Reed was issued a second technical and was ejected from the game.

When the free throws were finally taken, Lakotich calmly nailed down four consecutive shots.

On the ensuing inbounds play, Peek found himself open near the top of the arc and his 3-point dagger found the mark.

That shot pushed the lead to 57-26.

After two free throws by Ramsey broke the Crab Orchard run, Peek hit another shot from another assist from Throgmorton and this was followed up by yet one more Herring offensive rebound that beat the third quarter horn for a 61-28 lead.

The 33 point spread triggered the mercy rule continuous clock for the entire fourth quarter.

After the tough offensive start, the Trojans responded with a great third quarter.

The Trojans ended up 30-of-62 overall from the floor and 5-of-13 from the arc.

After the “not so pretty” first half, Coach Brown's bunch were the “belle of the ball” in the second half as they improved to 21-of-35 overall in the final two quarters of play.

Carb Orchard also valued the ball, committing just five turnovers, with none of them coming in the second half.

Thompsonville ended up 13-of-39 overall with 21 turnovers to its credit.

The rebounding ended up even at 28-28.

However after getting 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, Thompsonville got zero second chances after intermission.

Crab Orchard will now face Gallatin County in Friday night's semifinals at 7 pm.

The Hawks topped Hardin County in the other Tuesday night quarterfinal.

The Tigers will face Hardin County at 6:30 pm Thursday night on the consolation side.

“People come out for this tournament still and 'year in and year out' it is competitive. The kids get to play on the big floor and it is a rivalry thing for the teams and it is another opportunity to play in front of big crowds,” said Coach Brown.

Game Two
Thompsonville (4-16)
Crab Orchard (17-4)

Thompsonville (41) – Fitch 3 0 8-9 14, Furlow 2 1 2-2 9, Ramsey 3 0 4-4 10, Clark 0 0 0-0 0, Lindhorst 2 0 0-0 4, Shelby 2 0 0-0 4, McFarland 0 0 0-0 0, Perter 0 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Wenzel 0 0 0-0 0, Crisp 0 0 0-0 0, Casteel 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-12, 3FG-1, FT-14-15, PF-10.
Crab Orchard (73) – Throgmorton 3 0 0-0 6, I. Dawes 1 0 0-0 2, Meyes 6 0 3-9 15, Lakotich 2 0 4-4 8, Peek 9 2 1-2 25, Herring 2 0 0-0 4, Powell 0 1 0-0 3, Rooker 2 1 0-0 7, Norris 0 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0 0-0 0, N. Dawes 0 1 0-0 3, Williams 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-25, 3FG-5, FT-8-15, PF-13.
Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – Thompsonville Bench (2).

For the second time in five days the Hawks got past the Cougars, this time for a spot in the semifinals in the championship side of the bracket.

Coach Craig Utterback saw his club hit late free throws to keep Hardin County from getting closer in the final minutes.

During a late game stretch, 6-foot-3 senior Dawson Hish nailed down six straight free throws as Gallatin County advanced to play Crab Orchard on Friday night.

Gallatin County was led by Hish with 17 points while 5-foot-9 junior Gunner Wilson added 10.

Junior Case Rister added seven points and sophomore Lane Henson netted six.

Hardin County will now face Thompsonville on Thursday night.

Coach Rodney Lane's club led 21-17 at halftime but were outscored 13-5 in the third quarter as the Cougars never quite recovered.

Junior Calen Banks led Hardin County with nine points as none of the Cougars reached double figures.

Junior guard Jermaine Johnson and sophomore forward Jake Vaughn added seven points each for Hardin County.

Game One
Gallatin County (5-13)
Hardin County (7-14)

Gallatin County (46) – Hish 4 1 6-6 17, Seely 1 0 0-0 2, Henson 3 0 0-0 6, Rister 3 0 1-2 7, Wilson 4 0 2-6 10, Scherrer 2 0 0-0 4, Crane 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-17, 3FG-1, FT-9-14, PF-3.

Hardin County (39) – Jo. Johnson 1 0 3-4 5, Smith 0 1 2-2 5, J. Vaughn 3 0 1-3 7, Je. Johnson 2 1 0-0 7, Banks 3 1 0-0 9, Fields 1 0 0-0 2, B. Vaughn 2 1 0-1 4.
2FG-12, 3FG-3, FT-6-9, PF-12.

Fouled Out – B. Vaughn - Hardin County.
Technical Fouls – None.