Eagles edge Vandals
SE/B rallies past Vandalia to reach championship game; CH/BC tops Patoka

– The St. Elmo/Brownstown Eagles advanced to the title game of their own holiday tournament for the fourth consecutive year by rallying for a 66-65 win over a “stunned” Vandalia Vandals' club.

The visitors had everything going for them in the first half and were on the verge of blowing out the hosts on Friday in the semifinals of the 59th annual event.

The Eagles, however, hung around and finally stopped giving up easy baskets to Vandalia.

Coach Greg Feezel got his club playing better defense in the second half and behind 22-points from 6-foot-1 junior forward Andy Goldsborough the Eagles advanced to play undefeated and number four-seed Mulberry Grove in the championship game on Saturday.

“I thought defensively we tightened it up in the fourth quarter and the kids played hard for us,” said Coach Feezel. “We are a long ways from where we want to be but this was a nice step for us.”

Five-foot-ten junior guard Bryton Pruett added 19-points for the hosts as they improved to 6-4 on the season as they look to defend their tournament title.

Vandalia put five different players in double-figures in scoring, which is normally a successful formula in advancing to tournament title games.

Senior guard Blake Morrison hit for 17-points while junior Matthew Wells added 14.

Junior Garrett Austin and senior Blake Barth tossed in 13 and 11.

Sophomore Mitchell Casey added 10 as Coach Brian Buscher's squad came out of the gate offensively “hot” but finished with “cool down” that put them in the third place game on Saturday night instead of going for the Gold.

Vandalia saw it's mark slip to 3-3 after scoring 43-points in the first half but only 22 in the final 16 minutes.

“We missed on a lot of cuts to the basket tonight and shots we normally make. You have to put the ball in the hole, it is that simple,” said Coach Buscher. “We only scored 22 in the second half.”

A 29-point second quarter had given the Vandals its largest margin.

Leading just 26-25 with 4:17 before intermission, Vandalia outscored the Eagles 17-8 to take a 43-33 lead with just :33 left before halftime.

Casey scored all 10 of his points in the second quarter and eight of those markers came in the run.

He nailed a pair of 3-point bombs and a pair of free throws while teammates Wells and Barth contributed.

Barth added two more free throws and Wells knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the circle for the 10-point spread.

Goldborough hit many key shots in Friday night's semifinal contest, but the junior scored on back-to-back possessions at the end of the second quarter that helped turn the momentum of the game around.

The junior nailed a 3-point bomb from the left wing and, after a Vandalia miscue, he drove in the lane and his lay in just beat the buzzer and capped the mini run to close the half at 43-38 Vandals.

The Eagles had survived a 12-turnover first half and were only down five heading to the second half.

“I told them at halftime don't beat yourself, don't let them make hay off of your mistakes, you have to make them earn what they get,” said Coach Feezel.

While the hosts had turnover issues in the first half, Vandalia produced some serious mistakes in the third and fourth quarters.

Five third quarter turnovers led to St. Elmo/Brownstown being able to take their first lead since early in the second stanza.

Goldsborough triggered an 11-0 run that put the Eagles up 57-52 with 1:13 left in the third frame.

The junior sandwiched a pair of 3-point bombs around a fast break score from sophomore Nick Rosborough and a conventional three-point play from Pruett.

The second bomb dropped by Goldsborough, from the left wing at NBA range, closed the run.

But Vandalia battled right back with scores from Austin and Morrison to make it 57-56 heading into the fourth.

Rosborough picked up another key basket for the Eagles to open the final quarter, grabbing a rebound for a score.

Goldsborough hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 61-56 at the 7:10 mark.

A 3-pointer from Wells with just 6:13 to go got the game to 61-59.

For the next 3:17 both teams struggled offensively with zero points being scored from a combination of missed shots and turnovers.

Six-foot-one senior forward Rocky Himes scored six-points in the contest for the Eagles and his three-point play while being fouled on a rebound put St. Elmo/Brownstown up 64-59.

After a three-point play by Morrison got the Vandals back to within two, Austin could have tied the game with 1:30 remaining but he managed to hit just 1-of-2 from the foul line.

The Vandals got the ball back after a turnover by the Eagles and, after a timeout with :33.6 left, were working the ball for a good shot when the once again came up empty as an errant pass in the lane by Austin turned into their third turnover of the quarter and 10th of the night.

“I thought we guarded well, defensively we did a good job,” said Coach Buscher. “But we had a chance and we were working the ball for a good shot and we turned it over in the lane.”

Goldsborough was quickly fouled and sent to the line with :07.8 left on the clock.

The forward calmly drilled home both shots for a three-point margin.

Vandalia got an open three-point look from the left wing by Morrison but his shot bounced off the rim into the hands of Wells, who instinctively put it back up for a two-point basket.

Unfortunately the Vandals needed a trey for the tie.

Vandalia was granted a timeout and the officials put :00.9 back on the scoreboard clock.

After a timeout by Vandalia, St. Elmo/Brownstown got the ball inbounds near the center circle as time expired on the Eagles' win and the Vandals tough defeat.

“Hat's off to them (St. Elmo/Brownstown) they played well,” said Coach Buscher. “We made some poor decisions tonight. We've got to get better going forward.”

Vandalia can look to the final quarter mistakes that produced 10 empty trips into the offensive end as a deciding factor in the loss.

St. Elmo/Brownstown finished 24-of-47 from the floor but were a very good 7-of-13 from the arc with Goldsborough hitting four of the 3's.

They muscled their way to a 30-25 rebounding edge and they settled down in the second half after coughing up a dozen turnovers (18 total) in the first 16 minutes.

“This is a big win for us. They (Vandalia) beat Altamont, who has a nice team, and the played Carlyle close to a one-point game, so this is a quality win for us,” said Coach FeezeL

Vandalia was 24-of-56 from the field (42.8 percent) but just 6-of-19 from downtown.

Of the Vandals' 10-turnovers, eight occurred after halftime.

The Eagles will now get a second chance at Egyptian Illini Conference rival Mulberry Grove in the championship game.

The Aces sit at 9-0 after defeating top-seed Cumberland on Thursday night.

One of the MG wins came at the expense of St. Elmo/Brownstown back on November 24th in the title game of the Mulberry Grove Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Aces trumped the Eagles, 56-46, in that title conquest.

“They (Mulberry Grove) are a good team and they are 9-0 for a reason. They have a nice point guard (Latham) who is one of the best ones around this area. We will have to show up ready tomorrow night,” said Coach Feezel.

Semifinal #2
St. Elmo/Brownstown
St. Elmo/Brownstown (66) – Pruett 6 1 4-5 19, Klein 0 1 0-0 3, Brooks 0 0 0-0 0, Rosborough 2 0 0-0 4, McWhorter 1 0 0-0 2, Goldsborough 3 4 4-4 22, Philpot 2 1 0-0 7, Himes 2 0 2-4 6, Baron 1 0 1-1 3.
2FG-17, 3FG-7, FT-11-14, PF-13.

Vandalia (65) – Morrison 6 1 2-5 17, Barth 3 1 2-2 11, Wells 3 2 2-2 14, Austin 5 0 3-6 13, Casey 1 2 2-2 10, Beall 0 0 0-0 0, Satterthwaite 0 0 0-0 0, Goldsmith 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-18, 3FG-6, FT-11-17, PF-14.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.
The Bobcats moved into Saturday afternoon's consolation title game with a win over fellow EIC member Patoka on Friday night.

Coach Donovan Riley saw his team get the ball inside to earn their spot against Windsor/Stew-Stras.

The Bobcats improved to 2-8 on the season behind five double-figure point producers.

Senior guard Dylan Webster led the charge with 18-points while junior Dylan Taylor added 12.

A trio of senior Bobcats added 10-points each as Keegan Martin, Trace Smith and Eddie Clearwater contributed.

Patoka (1-8) fell into the seventh place game against Ramsey on Saturday with the loss.

Coach Joe Eddy got 14-points apiece from junior Colton Hill and junior Tyler Alexander.

The Bobcats used a 21-9 third quarter to break away for the win.

Consolation Bracket Semifinal
Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City
Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City (77) – Buchanan 0 0 0-0 0, Webster 9 0 0-2 18, Taylor 6 0 0-0 12, Curl 1 0 0-0 2, Burks 0 0 0-0 0, Martin 4 0 2-3 10, Smith 3 1 1-2 10, Robertson 1 0 0-0 2, Baylis 0 0 0-0 0, Lucas 1 0 1-2 3, Beck 0 0 0-0 0, Miller 4 0 0-0 8, Clearwater 5 0 0-0 10.
2FG-35, 3FG-1, FT-4-10, PF-21.

Patoka (60) – Joliff 1 1 0-1 5, Alexander 1 4 0-0 14, Cain 1 0 1-3 3, Hinkel 0 0 0-0 0, Belcher 0 2 0-1 6, Beyers 0 1 1-2 4, Gebke 1 0 3-7 5, Landreth 0 0 2-2 2, Ellsworth 1 0 0-0 2, Burks 2 0 1-2 5, Hill 5 0 4-5 14. 2FG-12, 3FG-8, FT-12-23, PF-11.
Fouled Out – Webster - CH/BC.
Technical Fouls – None.