Pirates steal victory late
Magee nets 32-points, Cumberland rallies for 67-63 win over Aces

ST. ELMO – If the Cumberland Pirates performance on Thursday night was graded on a normal scale, a “B- or C+” would probably be the overall result.

Fortunately for head coach Justin Roedl, his top two players brought their “A” games to the contest, especially in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Six-foot-one senior forward Tyson Magee and 6-foot-3 junior guard Zach Wolke grades brought the Cumberland “curve” up to an above passing mark.

Magee netted a game best 32-points and Wolke went for 19-points as the Pirates survived and advanced to the title game on Saturday night with a 67-63 triumph over fourth-seeded Mulberry Grove.

With the victory, Cumberland improved to 6-3 on the season while reaching this tournament's championship game in their second year in the event.

“For Tyson, when it gets to the end of the game he turns the dial up another notch. When it gets to the time when something needs done, he turns it up,” said Coach Roedl about his senior. “He did it tonight in the fourth quarter. He's a special player, he can do a lot on the floor. When he plays hard he is a difference maker. He makes everybody else on the floor better. You could see that tonight. When he got going the rest of the team got going.”

Capitalizing on the Aces mental mistakes in the fourth quarter, the Pirates finally vanquished the pesky Mulberry Grove team that saw its record slip to 7-2 on the season.

Head coach Mark Bollinger, the Aces' mentor, saw his team make some critical errors late in the game that cost his club a shot at the championship.

It over-shadowed a very good effort on the night by his squad that nearly resulted in a big win over a 2A team and the top-seeded team in the tournament.

The backcourt produced the points for the Aces with 5-foot-11 senior guard Alex Franklin scoring 22-points while 5-foot-8 junior guard Courtlyn Latham tossed home 14.

Six-foot-one senior guard/forward Joey Linnabary scored 16-points for Mulberry Grove.

But both Latham and Linnabary fouled out late in the contest while Franklin picked up a technical foul after being whistled for a personal foul in the lane on a drive to the basket by Magee.

This momentum swing turned a 61-60 Mulberry Grove lead into a 63-61 Cumberland edge.

Magee hit 1-of-2 free throws and then Wolke toed the line and nailed both technical foul shots with just :25.5 remaining.

Subsequently, the Pirates got the ball back and Wolke was once again sent back to the charity stripe.

He made the first of two shots with his second shot being a miss and a rebound by Magee, who passed it back to Wolke who was again sent to the line.

Wolke added 1-of-2 from the line for a 65-61 lead.

The Aces had a chance to get some additional points but Franklin missed on a drive to the basket and Magee grabbed yet another rebound.

His two free throws with :13.1 put the game away at 67-61.

Franklin ended the game with a score on a drive.

Mulberry Grove out hustled the taller Pirates for most of the contest and were moments away from a win before the disaster struck.

When the contest began, it looked like Cumberland would make easy work of the Aces, jumping out to an early 16-7 lead.

Magee scored eight-points in the first eight minutes and Wolke canned a pair of long range shots

However the Pirates shot themselves in the foot way too often in the first half, allowing Mulberry Grove to hang around.

The Aces outscored Cumberland 17-6 to take a 28-22 lead.

Forcing five Pirate turnovers in the stretch, Mulberry Grove got points on two fast breaks by Latham while Linnabary opened the run with a pair of scores, including a 3-point bomb from the right wing.

Cumberland put together a run to close the half (8-0) to take a 30-28 lead at intermission.

Wolke hit yet another 3-pointer and Magee finished on a pair of fast break chances.

A free throw by Magee closed the scoring in the half with the Pirates up just two.

“He (Wolke) is our best shooter and sometimes you got to question some of the shots that he takes but when I have seen him shoot the way shoots, when he is open and his feet are set, I don't have a problem with him shooting,” said Coach Roedl.

Coach Roedl's team appeared to have weathered the worst of the storm from the first half and took a double-digit lead in the third quarter behind seven more points from Magee.

Baskets by Wolke and freshman Brennyn Cutts gave Cumberland a 45-34 spread.

Franklin scored twice for the Aces and sophomore forward Wyatt Criner added a basket to cut the lead to just 47-40 at the end of the third.

Three of the scores from the Aces in the frame occurred from five offensive rebounds.

Coach Bollinger's team made another offensive push and got back the lead in the early going of the fourth.

Franklin scored 11 of his points in the final minutes, sticking a 3-pointer from the left wing just seconds into the quarter and then converting on a fast break while being fouled after a Cumberland turnover.

This triggered a 15-4 run that gave Mulberry Grove a 56-51 lead.

Franklin found the mark with another long range shot and Linnabary canned a trey.

The good news for the Pirates is that they again responded with Cutts hitting a 3-pointer, Magee converting yet another three-point play and junior Gabe Hatfill hitting a free throw to give Cumberland back a brief lead at 58-56.

There were two more lead changes as Linnabary made his fourth 3-point shot, Wolke made two more free throws and Franklin countered with two free throws of his own with :56.5 left to give the Aces their final lead.

Latham spent parts of the second and fourth quarters on the bench with fouls and the Aces are a different team without him on the floor.

“We like to play uptempo. Our guards are the strength of our team and we want to get them in the open court,” said Coach Bollinger. “That is why we want to press. But we got in some foul trouble and when he (Latham) goes to the bench we lose a guy who can go by people off the dribble.

The game was very even statistically as both teams had 25 field goals apiece.

Cumberland ended up 25-of-64 from the floor, with just 4-of-20 from the arc.

Mulberry Grove was 25-of-63 and 7-of-23 from long range.

The Pirates, after surrendering some early turnovers and offensive boards, did a better job late in the game in both categories.

Coach Roedl's team held a 39-26 rebounding edge, despite giving up 11 offensive boards.

“It (rebounding) has been a problem all year, we don't seem to box out when we need to,” said Coach Roedl. “Sometimes we stand and hope the ball will come to us. It's been bad all year.”

Cumberland finished with 15-turnovers, but only five of those happened in the final 16 minutes.

“We get into a mode where we relax after we get a lead and get lackadaisical, we stop cutting hard, we stop doing the fundamentals that win games,” said Coach Roedl. “We've gotten by with it (rebounding and focus) so far but we won't later on in the year.”

On the other hand, the Aces committed 13-turnovers, with six of those occurring in the fourth quarter.

Cumberland will play the winner of Friday night's other semifinal between second-seeded Vandalia and third-seeded St. Elmo-Brownstown.

The title tilt is slated for 7:30 pm Saturday.

Mulberry Grove will face the loser of that Friday semifinal at 6 pm Saturday in the third place contest.

“Our big guys really hustled tonight and rebounded well. They went after every offensive board tonight,” said Coach Bollinger. “We got to a lot of loose balls tonight and the kids played hard.”

Winners Bracket
Mulberry Grove
Toledo Cumberland
Mulberry Grove (63) – Latham 7 0 0-0 14, Franklin 5 3 3-5 22, Linnabary 1 4 2-2 16, Criner 4 0 0-1 8, Tompkins 1 0 1-1 3, Scoggins 0 0 0-0 0, Swain 0 0 0-0 0, Isringhausen 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-18, 3FG-7, FT-6-9, PF-20.

Toledo Cumberland (67) – Gerhardt 2 0 0-0 4, Butler 0 0 0-0 0, Magee 13 0 6-10 32, Talley 0 0 0-0 0, Wolke 2 3 6-8 19, Hatfill 1 0 1-2 3, Cutts 3 1 0-1 9.
2FG-21, 3FG-4, FT-13-21, PF-13.

Fouled Out – Latham, Linnabary - Mulberry Grove; Hatfill - Cumberland
Technical Fouls – Franklin - Mulberry Grove.

The Bobcats broke a 5-5 tie in the early going and crushed the Blackhawks in the consolation bracket semifinal on Thursday night.

For head coach Marc Bain, it was the first win of the season as they improved to 1-5 on the season.

All 12-players for the Bobcats scored points in the rout as they led 46-20 at the half.

Three of the players hit for double-digits with junior Keegan Martin pacing the club with 19-points.

Junior guard Dylan Webster popped home 17-points while 6-foot-6 junior Nick Miller added 15.

Sandoval fell to 0-10 on the season and was led in scoring by freshman Gage Rollinson with 16-points.

Consolation Bracket
Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City
Sandoval (34) – Gore 0 0 1-2 1, Waits 0 0 0-0 0, Vollmer 0 0 0-0 0, Snell 0 1 2-3 5, Melton 2 0 0-0 4, Rollinson 2 4 0-0 16, Rowcliff 0 0 0-0 0, Hilt 3 0 0-1 6, Weiss 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-8, 3FG-5, FT-3-6, PF-10.

Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City (83) – McGee 2 0 0-2 4, Webster 8 0 1-3 17, Curl 1 0 0-0 2, Burks 1 0 0-2 2, Martin 3 3 4-7 19, Smith 1 0 0-0 2, Nohren 4 0 1-1 9, Edwards 1 0 0-0 2, Taylor 2 0 0-0 4, Kirchhoffer 1 0 0-0 2, Miller 6 1 0-0 15, Clearwater 1 1 0-0 5.
2FG-31, 3FG-5, FT-6-15, PF-10.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.