Patoka edges Webber Township
Alexander, Belcher lead Warriors to road victory, 54-51
BLUFORD – Senior Tyler Alexander has been battling a cold the last few days but he gutted out a big performance for his Patoka Warriors on Tuesday.

The 5-foot-10 guard scored 20 points and came up big in the final moments of a 54-51 road win over Webber Township.

Coach Joe Eddy and his club have leaned on the senior this season and on this night Alexander delivered in the clutch as Patoka notched its fifth consecutive win to improve to 13-14 overall on the season.

After scoring 14 of his points in the first half and being slowed considerably late in the game with fatigue from his illness, Alexander stepped to the line and canned four consecutive free throws, in two separate trips to the stripe, in the final :41.1 as the Warriors held off a late Trojans' rally.

Sophomore Drew Belcher stood up big for the Warriors as well.

The 6-foot-2 guard added 14 points to the cause while senior forward Colton Hill put down nine points in the book.

Jordan Gebke, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, scored seven points with five of them coming in the fourth quarter.

“It's a good win. We have had some games this year like that which went the wrong way for us. A lot, actually, early (in the season) where we didn't finish. We were able to get the lead late (tonight) and hold on to it,” said Coach Eddy. “They (Webber) play hard. They are better than their record.”

Coach Brad Beaty's Webber club played well enough to get a victory but a few mistakes in key situations sent his club to yet another defeat.

The Trojans are now 5-22 on the season and have lost their last 11 contests.

But it wasn't for a lack of effort as Webber played hard for the entire game.

Senior Dalton Adcock led Webber with 15 points while classmates Peyton Hill and Walker Heinrich added 12 points each.

Heinrich, a 6-foot-5 senior, hit three 3-pointers in the game.

In a contest that featured 13 lead changes and nine ties, the Warriors got the job done sending the Trojans to a tough loss.

The biggest advantage by either squad was a six point lead by Patoka in the second quarter.

The game was tied at the end of each of the first two quarters and Webber led by a single point heading into the fourth.

Many of the stats mirrored each other, in a reflection of how close the matchup was.

Patoka ended up 20-of-43 from the floor overall and 5-of-15 from the 3-point line.

The Trojans weren't too bad either, hitting 21-of-43 overall and 5-of-16 from long range.

While Webber held a 26-17 rebounding edge, the turnover department favored the visitors.

The Warriors were better handling the ball, committing just five turnovers compared to 11 by the hosts.

Patoka also knocked down 9-of-11 free throws compared to just 4-of-7 from Webber.

Six of the lead changes occurred in the first quarter as both teams came out of the gate running.

Hill, a 6-foot-5 senior center, scored eight of his points in the first eight minutes for Webber.

Getting the ball down low near the basket, Hill converted four of his field goal chances with his final bucket of the frame putting Webber up 14-12.

“I thought we did a better job (tonight) getting into our offense early. We got Hill in good spots where he could turn and score,” said Coach Beaty. “When they (Patoka) doubled down on him he got some kick outs to find shooters.”

Alexander “one-upped” Hill by a point in the stanza, knocking down four shots of his own.

One of which was a 3-pointer as he finished with nine.

A Gebke drive in the lane in the final moments evened the score at 14-14 heading to the second quarter.

Hill added two more baskets in the second quarter for the Trojans.

His second one, on a drive in the paint, gave his club a 21-20 lead at the 4:48 mark.

The best run by either team came next as the Warriors went on a 9-2 burst with Belcher scoring seven of the points.

A 3-pointer from near the top of the circle was followed by a baseline drive for a short jumper and a drive down the middle of the lane.

Alexander closed the run with a steal and transition bucket as Patoka held its largest lead at 29-23.

However the Trojans evened things by halftime with a pair of 3-point bombs, one each by Adcock and freshman reserve Elijah Marlow.

Marlow's trey from the left corner sent the two teams to the locker rooms at 29-all.

“They were getting the lob (pass) on us in the first half. And they (Webber) are big enough you just got to throw it up there with a half-way decent lob,” said Coach Eddy. “In the second half we did a better job. We put more pressure on the ball.”

Webber got the lead back as there were three more lead changes in the third period.

Consecutive baskets by Heinrich and Adcock, with the Heinrich score coming from beyond the arc, gave Webber a 35-32 lead.

Belcher stepped up with six points in the third quarter for the Warriors, scoring three times while Alexander scored his final field goal of the game in the third.

The Trojans biggest lead was a 43-39 after a Heinrich score in the lane.

Belcher and Colton Hill each scored late in the quarter as they trailed 45-44 heading to the final quarter.

Two of the Webber players were hampered by foul trouble.

Five-foot-eleven sophomore point guard Seth Hamerski and Hill both eventually fouled out with Hamerski picking up his fifth personal with 6:04 left.

Hill fouled out just under four minutes later.

Having two starters missing for parts of the game hurt the Trojans but the hosts managed to play through it and had chances late.

“We got in foul trouble. Hamerski and Hill got in foul trouble. Our bench gave us good minutes but when you have your point guard and your center sitting on the bench next to you it hurts,” said Coach Beaty. “I think two or three possessions ended up being the difference.”

Turnovers (3) and missed shots (6) hurt Webber in the final quarter as they didn't knock down their first field goal attempt until Adcock scored in transition off of a Patoka turnover with :44.1 remaining.

That score got the Trojans to within 50-49.

That is when Alexander and the Warriors got stops and free throws to fall.

Alexander's shots put Patoka up 54-49 with just :20.5 remaining.

“He (Alexander) is fighting a cold. Usually we never take him out (of the game) but we took him out a couple of times tonight. But he played through it,” said Coach Eddy.

Adcock added a drive to the basket and Coach Beaty used his final timeout with :11.6 remaining.

The Warriors gave Webber one last chance.

Inbounding the ball after the timeout, Patoka tried a long pass into the front court that was stolen by Marlow.

With the clock ticking down, Webber got the ball to Adcock who had a good look at the basket from the left wing.

He let fly a 3-point attempt that would have sent the game to overtime.

However the shot, albeit on target, fell just short and the rebound was tipped in the air as the final buzzer sounded.

Both teams have work to do before heading into the postseason.

The Warriors have a pair of tough non-league games to close out the campaign.

They will host 20-8 Dieterich on Friday night then they will travel to 21-8 Cobden on a rare Saturday night contest to end the regular season.

The Trojans will gear up for the regional with a home game on Friday night against Cisne.

“I'm proud of our kids. We want to use these final two games to get ready for next week in the regional,” said Coach Beaty. “We have to focus on the postseason, kick the record out the window and be ready to go next week.”

National Trail Conference
Webber Township

Patoka (54)
– Jolliff 2 0 0-0 4, Alexander 5 2 4-4 20, Wilkerson 0 0 0-0 0, Hinkel 0 0 0-0 0, Belcher 5 1 1-2 14, Gebke 2 1 0-0 7, Kee 0 0 0-0 0, Hill 1 1 4-5 9.
2FG-15, 3FG-5, FT-9-11, PF-13.
Webber Township (51)
– Adcock 6 1 0-0 15, Hill 6 0 0-0 12, Heinrich 1 3 1-2 12, Hamerski 1 0 3-5 5, Landreth 0 0 0-0 0, Marlow 1 1 0-0 5, Reed 0 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-16, 3FG-5, FT-4-7, PF-16.
Fouled Out
– Hill, Hamerski - Webber Township.
Technical Fouls
– None.