Crab Orchard advances to championship game
Trojans "clean the glass" in 54-46 win over Webber Township
North Clay, Cisne also also stay alive; Cardinals, Lions set to clash Friday night
The Crab Orchard Trojans will play in their first Conrad Allen Wayne City Holiday Tournament championship game since 2014 after their 54-46 win over Webber Township on Thursday night .

Coach Jon Brown's program has won two WCHT championships (2009, 2011) and will go for number three Saturday night at 7:30 pm after winning Pool A with a 3-0 mark.

The Trojans are now 12-1 on the season.

Crab Orchard will face the winner of the Cisne/North Clay clash set for Friday night at 6 pm.

The win over Webber Township was anything but pretty, but it was enough to advance to the title game.

Balanced scoring and offensive rebounding were both keys to victory for Coach Brown as his club crashed the offensive glass after a sub-par shooting performance.

The Trojans were just 19-of-61 from the floor but they took down 20 offensive rebounds (39 overall boards) to offset the 31.1 percent result.

Four players hit for double-figs in scoring for Crab Orchard with junior forward Kegan Peek leading the troops with 16 points.

Junior forward Quentin Meyers added 13 points and 10 rebounds while senior Tony Lakotich and Hunter Throgmorton tossed in 11 each.

Lakotich canned three 3-pointers, including two big shots in the third quarter as his team managed to hold off a Webber Township rally.

Meyers scored seven of his points and grabbed six of his rebounds during a 15-2 run to close the first quarter at 17-4 for Crab Orchard.

“That is our goal when we play in any tournament, to get to the championship game and win it,” said Coach Brown. “We got a little bit out of sync defensively tonight but we turned it on when we needed to. Lakotich hit a couple of big shots for us, he gives us that other scoring threat we need. Meyers really gives us a post presence we didn't have last year and he has helped us on the boards,” said Coach Brown.

One of the many issues that Coach Brad Beaty's club had in combating Crab Orchard was they didn't shoot the ball well, either.

WT was just 17-of-49 from the field with 21 turnovers.

Six-foot-five senior forward Peyton Hill scored 10 points in the loss while senior Dalton Adcock and junior Ayden Buchannan added eight points apiece.

Walker Heinrich and Elijah Marlow added seven points each with 6-foot-5 Heinrich grabbing five rebounds and the 5-foot-10 freshman Marlow adding four rebounds.

After falling behind early, Webber Township got a comeback going in the fourth quarter with a 12-3 scoring run to get to within 48-41 with 2:16 remaining.

Buchannan hit two 3-pointers in the run.

However Crab Orchard finished off the game by hitting 4-of-5 free throws and the one that they missed by Throgmorton was rebounded by Peek, who stuck it back home for a 52-42 lead with :52 left.

Webber Township will play Grayville in the seventh place game at 3 pm on Saturday.

Along with the two previous championships at the event, Crab Orchard has been second nine times in their long run at the tournament.

Game #6
Webber Township
Crab Orchard

Webber Township (46) – Adcock 3 0 2-2 8, Hill 4 0 2-2 10, Heinrich 2 0 3-3 7, Hamerski 1 0 0-0 2, Buchanan 0 2 0-0 8, Marlow 2 1 0-0 7, Landreth 2 0 0-0 4, Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Hails 0 0 0-0 0, Danberry 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-14, 3FG-3, FT-9-9, PF-18.

Crab Orchard (54) – Throgmorton 3 1 4-7 13, Powell 1 0 1-2 3, Meyer 5 0 3-5 13, Lakotich 0 3 2-2 11, Peek 6 0 2-4 14, Dawes 0 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-15, 3FG-4, FT-12-20, PF-12.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

Head coach Josh Zink of North Clay was worried heading into the Cardinals' contest against Grayville on Thursday night.

And after the first 16 minutes of play, his worries were warranted.

North Clay struggled and trailed the young Bison squad 32-31 at halftime.

But being in with good teams coming into this tournament, and despite not playing their best in the first two quarters, the North Clay team didn't panic.

According to Coach Zink, the halftime speech was more about getting his players to focus heading to the second half.

It worked.

North Clay dominated after intermission, taking off on a 13-2 run to open the second half as they held off Grayville for a big win for the program.

After finishing third at the Wayne City Holiday Tournament last season, the Cardinals have a shot at reaching the championship game this season.

With a win over Cisne, who is also 2-0 in Pool B, on Friday night the club from Louisville could play in their first WCHT title game since winning the championship back in 1978.

The Cardinals are now on a five game winning streak (5-3) after the victory.

Six-foot-two senior guard Luke Fleener paced North Clay with 18 points while senior guard Lane Holkenbrink added 17.

Junior guard Ethan Bible (12) and senior Tyson Jones (nine) also added to the scoring for Coach Zink.

Senior Ian Bailey added eight points and seven rebounds as the Cardinals were balanced in scoring,

“We came out really flat tonight and I was disappointed in the early effort. We had way too many turnovers and that will haunt us all year if we don't get that fixed,” said Coach Zink. “You have to give Grayville credit. They came out and played hard. They came out and set the tone and we struggled with it in the first half. I tell the kids that (the press) gets us some lay ups early, but when the other team has been pressed the whole game, it takes a toll in the second half.”

Grayville is just 1-6 on the season but for consecutive nights they led at halftime in games only to falter in the second half.

First year head coach Torin Lee got 14 points and five rebounds from 6-foot-3 junior forward Brayden Hatcher.

Junior guard Kameron Worley added 11 while 6-foot-2 senior Valerio L'abbate added 10 points and five rebounds.

Senior teammates Kenneth Funkhouser and Cole Neeley hit 3-pointers in a first quarter run by Grayville as the Bison took a surprising 16-6 lead.

However the Cardinals put together an 8-0 run with Fleener and Holkenbrink scoring to get to within 16-14.

Grayville's Hatcher made a couple of huge defensive plays in the second quarter, both of which turned into fast break dunks for the junior forward.

His second of the two slams gave the Bison back the lead after the Cardinals were up by a point at 27-26.

Leading just 32-31 at halftime, Grayville needed to come out with a big third quarter but it didn't transpire the way Coach Lee wanted it to.

Fleener, Bailey and Bible all produced points while Jones added a big 3-point shot as the Cardinals outscored Grayville 20-10 in the third quarter for a 51-42 lead.

North Clay hit important free throws in the final quarter (8-of-13) to hold off the Bison.

An 8-0 run in the middle of the fourth gave North Clay its largest lead at 70-47.

The Cardinals coasted home and now have a shot to get to the title game.

Grayville ended up a respectable 24-of-45 from the floor, 5-of-11 from the 3-point line.

They were even with the Cardinals (26-26) in rebounding.

However the turnovers, mostly silly unforced errors, continued to haunt the Bison.

They ended up with 32 turnovers which kept them from taking advantage of North Clay's shortcomings.

Coach Zink's team ended up 28-of-56 from the field but just 1-of-9 from the arc.

They also committed way too many turnovers (21) in the battle.

“That has been the same narrative in every single game. We have been up at halftime in four of our five losses going into tonight but we just came out flat in the second half,” said Coach Lee. “We have to figure out why it is happening in the second half. That (carelessness) is also a big part of the story for us.”

Game #7
North Clay

North Clay (73) – Luke Fleener 7 0 4-6 18, Weidner 1 0 2-4 4, Jones 2 1 2-4 9, Bible 6 0 0-1 12, Bailey 4 0 0-0 8, Logan Fleener 1 0 0-0 2, Holkenbrink 7 0 3-3 17, Ballard 0 0 1-2 1, Griffy 0 0 0-0 0, Ingram 0 0 0-0 0, Boose 0 0 2-2 2, Rinehart 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-28, 3FG-1, FT-14-22, PF-15.

Grayville (58) – Neeley 1 1 0-1 5, Kenneth Funkhouser 1 1 0-0 5, Hatcher 7 0 0-0 14, L'abbate 4 0 2-2 10, Collins 0 0 2-2 2, Burton 0 0 0-0 0, Worley 4 1 0-0 11, Finch 0 0 0-0 0, Sanchez 0 0 0-0 0, Chambliss 0 0 0-0 0, Koester 1 0 1-1 3, Grimm 0 1 0-0 3, Kaleb Funkhouser 1 1 0-0 5.
2FG-19, 3FG-5, FT-5-6, PF-22.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Runnin' Lions did what they needed to do on Thursday night to keep themselves alive in for the tournament championship.

Coach Kevin Bowen and his squad advantage of Red Hill and their offensive problems and held on for a big victory in Pool B.

Cisne is now 4-5 on the season and if they can beat North Clay on Friday night they will get back to the Wayne City Holiday Tournament championship contest for the first time since.

The Runnin' Lions have four championships in the tournament history with the most recent win coming in 2012.

Six-foot-four junior forward Conner Brach was pivotal in the Cisne win, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his squad.

Sophomore guard Jesse Milner added 10 points, sophomore Gavin Fetherling tossed in five points and teammate junior Brendan Potter contributed four points in the low scoring scrum.

Coach Bryan Havill's club played horrible from the beginning.

But the Salukis got back into the hunt late in the game as they pulled even with Cisne late in the fourth quarter.

Red Hill didn't score a point until there was 5:18 left in the second quarter as they had 16 consecutive possessions without points.

Twelve of the possessions came in the first quarter with four turnovers and eight missed shots.

The good news was that they only trailed 6-0 and it was 7-1 when they final put some good ink in the book.

Five-foot-eleven junior guard Cameron Ray paced the Salukis with 13 points while senior Gavin Volkman scored eight.

Cisne took its largest lead of the night and appeared ready to cost home with the win in the third quarter.

Brach hit a pair of shots on consecutive possessions for a 26-13 lead with 3:16 left in the period.

But Ray got the Salukis back even in the fourth quarter as he added seven of his points while junior Drake Allen added six total points and an important basket on a drive to tie the game at 31 all with 2:00 left.

Brach then scored the next five points, getting inside for a pair of scores with one being a conventional three-point play.

Potter hit 1-of-2 free throws to get the the score to 37-34..

Ray drove to the basket to cut the lead down to just a point as they took a timeout with :17 left.

Cisne could have put some additional distant to the lead, but Milner missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with :15.2 left.

The Salukis missed three late shots, including a rebound attempt by Nathan Wirth off of an Allen misfire.

When the Wirth shot missed the mark, the horn sounded on the Cisne victory.

Red Hill ended up with a 12-of-43 shooting showing from the field, and just 1-of-9 from the arc.

After having eight first half turnovers, Coach Havill's team took better care of the ball in the second half with just three after intermission.

Cisne closed their win in spite of 15 turnovers, four of them coming late in the game.

Coach Bowen's bunch were 12-of-38 overall from the floor and 0-of-6 from 20 feet.

“I thought we held our composure late in the game, we really could have unraveled but we didn't,” said Coach Bowen. “Defensively I thought we did a pretty good job of limiting them to just one shot in the first half. They (Red Hill) weren't shooting the ball well but I told the kids that they were going to hit shots. I thought we forced them into the toughest shots they could do. It was a great win for our kids. We are hoping it was a confidence booster for them.”

Red Hill had defeated Cisne back on November 25th at home, 50-42.

The Salukis are now 4-7 on the season and will face the loser of Friday night's Wayne City vs. Gallatin County game for fifth place on Saturday.

Game #5
Red Hill

Cisne (37) – Milner 2 0 0-1 10, Hatcher 0 0 0-0 0, Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Fetherling 3 0 1-1 5, Brach 6 0 4-7 16, Potter 1 0 2-5 4, Martinez 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-12, 3FG-2, FT-7-14, PF-16.

Red Hill (36) – Henry 1 0 0-0 2, Volkman 2 0 4-7 8, Moore 0 0 0-0 0, Wirth 2 0 0-0 4, Allen 3 0 0-0 6, Ray 3 1 4-7 13, Jerrell 0 1 0-0 3.
2FG-11, 3FG-1, FT-8-14, PF-13.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.