Sesser-Valier, Crab Orchard advance
Red Devils, Trojans set for semifinal clash; each post impressive wins
CRAB ORCHARD – Depth and experience are two very important aspects of a championship caliber ball club to have in your possession as a coach heading into the postseason in boy's high school basketball.

Head coach Shane Garner has that luxury.

His Red Devils used both of those attributes in their dismantling of Black Diamond Conference rival Zeigler-Royalton in the opening round of the 1A Crab Orchard Regional on Tuesday night.

Sesser-Valier had already handled the Tornadoes in two previous meetings this season and after a slow offensive start, they took all of the drama out of the contest with a 30-point second quarter to romp past Z-R 62-41 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate.

Forcing Zeigler-Royalton into 22-turnovers, 15 in the first half, the Red Devils rolled to an easy win while moving into the regional semifinals.

Coach Garner's club has battled to a 17-13 record behind a group of young men who have thrived late in the season and gained valuable experience facing a “rough-and-tumble” schedule.

“We wanted to come in and dictate the tempo of the game. I thought we did that early. We were kind of sloppy and a bit hesitant on the offense end but we were more aggressive on the defensive end,” said Coach Garner. “But the tempo worked in our advantage. We wanted to wear them down.”

Offensively, after missing a few early shots, S-V heated up from the outside and continued to play well.

Coach Garner pulled back on the reigns in the fourth quarter and coasted home to the finish line.

The Red Devils got their usual balanced scoring in the opener as nine different players put points on the board.

S-V netted seven 3-pointers in the contest and 6-foot-2 sophomore Tyler Winchester canned four of them while adding a couple of other scores to end up with 16-points.

Junior guard Lukas Gunter stepped up and added nine points, mostly on drives to the bucket against a Zeigler-Royalton defense that couldn't contain the Devils.

On the inside, senior Jamie Lance added eight-points while senior Charles Farmer and junior Preston Launius added seven-points each.

For Zeigler-Royalton the season comes to a close at 3-21 as Coach Matt Morgan's club were out-manned on this night.

Senior guard Brenden Whiting closed his four-year career at Z-R with 15-points to lead the Tornadoes while classmate Austin Bolinger added 12.

Bolinger finished the first quarter with a pair of baskets, which narrowed the Tornadoes' deficit to just 11-7.

Sesser-Valier took just a little over eight minutes of playing time to make a bold statement offensively.

A 15-2 charge out of the gate in the second quarter pretty much closed the book.

Winchester fired away from the outside, finding the target from the 3-point line twice in the scoring blitz.

Lance muscled his way into a pair of buckets, one in which turned into a conventional three-point play.

Launius scored on a transition off of one of Zeigler-Royalton's seven second quarter turnovers.

When Gunter took a pass from Winchester following another Z-R mistake, the junior guard went the distance for a lay in and a 26-9 lead at the 4:32 mark.

Senior reserve Addison Baxter, another of the key bench players, came off the pine and scored twice within :06 of play.

He took a pass from Farmer and spotted up for a 3-pointer from the left corner.

Baxter then scored after yet another Z-R turnover.

Junior guard Joshua Gunter got in on the action as he cut to the basket for a score and then, just seconds before the halftime buzzer, Launius found himself open from the right wing and he dropped home a 20-footer for a 41-15 advantage at the break.

When the dust had settled on the first two quarters, Zeigler-Royalton had the same amount of turnovers as they had points.

Coach Morgan's seniors Whiting and Bolinger kept playing hard and they added to their totals in the third quarter.

Bolinger scored on consecutive possessions in the early going of the third and Whiting added a bucket and a pair of free throws.

Those were basically the highlights of a quarter as the results didn't get much better.

Z-R was forced into seven more turnovers in the eight minute stretch as Sesser-Valier stretched out the lead.

Sesser-Valier took its largest lead of the game at the end of the third quarter as Winchester added two more baskets and yet another member of the deep bench got into the act.

Junior forward Addison Page took a pass from Baxter off of a long rebound and his lay in closed the third quarter at 61-30 Devils.

Sesser-Valier didn't really try to score in the fourth quarter as they ran the clock and attempted only a pair of field goal attempts.

Zeigler-Royalton outscored S-V 11-1 in the final eight minutes, creating the illusion that this game was a bit closer.

The Red Devils committed just 10-turnovers, with just three of them coming in the first half of the rout.

Coach Garner's club outrebounded the Tornadoes 20-19, another of the misleading stats as Z-R didn't get off as many shots because of the multitude of turnovers.

Eleven of the S-V rebounds were on the offensive end.

The Devils closed with a 22-of-49 shooting night (44.8 percent) but 7-of-17 is pretty salty from the arc.

The Tornadoes ended up 16-of-33 overall (48.4 percent) but in the end, of both the game and the season, Coach Morgan's club fought valiantly but without success.

There is no rest for the weary as the Red Devils will storm right back into action on Wednesday night against the host Trojans, who conquered Galatia 73-44 in the second game Tuesday night.

“We used our depth tonight, we wanted to save their (starters) legs in the second half and we are moving on to the right side (of the bracket),” said Coach Garner. “If we can save some legs (rest) for tomorrow night, which is a quick turnaround. Especially with our style of play. We were able to rotate players in. I think we will be fresh and ready for tomorrow.”

Zeigler-Royalton (41) – Domineck 2 0 0-2 4, Anderson 2 0 1-2 5, Whiting 2 2 5-6 15, Newton 1 1 0-0 5, Imhoff 0 0 0-0 0, Bisaillon 0 0 0-0 0, Bolinger 6 0 0-0 12, Humphrey 0 0 0-0 0, Baxter 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-13, 3FG-3, FT-6-10, PF-11.

Sesser-Valier (62) – G. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Basso 0 0 0-0 0, J. Gunter 2 0 2-2 6, L. Gunter 4 0 1-3 9, Winchester 2 4 0-0 16, Farmer 1 1 2-2 7, E. Gunter 0 0 1-2 1, Baxter 1 1 0-0 5, Launius 2 1 0-0 7, Kiselewski 0 0 0-0 0, Boles 0 0 1-2 1, Lance 3 0 2-3 8, Page 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-15, 3FG-7, FT-9-14, PF-18.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – Anderson - Zeigler-Royalton.
The host Crab Orchard Trojans used their size and length to their advantage in their victory over Galatia Tuesday night.

But Coach Jon Brown's club did something else that they really like to do.

They got up and down the floor, something that Galatia head coach Rod Wallace didn't want to see.

In the two teams' most recent meeting, the Bearcats stayed close to Crab Orchard in the semifinals of the Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament back in January by keeping the score down and not allowing the Trojans to up the tempo.

It didn't work on Tuesday night in the opening round of the 1A Regional for both teams.

Crab Orchard jumped out to an 18-9 lead and cruised to a 73-44 win in the second game of the night.

“We talked about it before the game that they (Galatia) have some kids that can stroke it from the outside. We thought defense was going to be the key. If you come out and play a team like that and try to out shoot them you could get into trouble,” said Coach Brown. “This was a team we didn't take lightly.”

The Trojans nailed eight 3-pointers and were led by 6-foot-3 senior Caleb Vaughn who nailed four of the trifectas and ended up with 22-points.

While Vaughn and Co. were bombing away from the outside, senior center McKager Ferrell was the recipient of some nice assists as he put in most of his points within three-feet of the basket.

Ferrell ended up with three field goals and 6-of-8 from the foul line for 12-points.

Levi Vinson, a junior guard and yet another long range shot maker, hit three 3-point bombs and finished with 11-points.

Senior guard Jaden Schell added four baskets for eight-points total as the Trojans improved to 23-6 on the season.

The Bearcats saw their season come to an end at 10-17 overall while five seniors end their prep basketball careers on Tuesday.

Five-foot-eleven senior Luke Lawrence tied Vaughn for game scoring honors with 22-points.

He was the bright spot for Galatia as no other teammate got to double-digits.

Kody Matthews, another senior guard, ended up with nine-points.

The Bearcats couldn't overcome three major obstacles that caused not only defeat, but a lopsided result.

Their shooting percentage of 31.1 percent (19-of-61) isn't exactly what legends are made of.

The second of the hurdles they had trouble climbing was foul difficulty.

Galatia senior Shad Mattingly and junior Ben Mitchell each eventually fouled out against the physical Trojans.

With both of them spending time on the bench, it opened things up for Crab Orchard to do what they do best; drive the lane and dish the ball out to the arc.
And rebound, as they out-boarded the smaller Bearcats 41-26, including 14-offensive rebounds.

“We didn't play very well and out big guys got into foul trouble in the first quarter,” said Coach Wallace. “We didn't have anyone (underneath) that could stand toe-to-toe with them.”

If Vaughn wasn't scoring on drives to the bucket, he was setting up teammates for open looks.

His third option was what got the Trojans off to a fantastic beginning.

Vaughn nail three of his treys in the first quarter, giving the Trojans a 18-9 advantage as the first horn.

Lawrence tried to keep his team close, scoring his first points in the first quarter to cut the Crab Orchard lead to just 11-9

However Coach Brown's troops marched into the second quarter with a 7-0 run to close the first.

Vaughn scored on a drive and 6-foot-4 senior Amos Beasley added a score in the lane.

Vinson canned a 3-pointer from the right wing for a nine-point Trojans lead.

Lawrence opened the second quarter with two quick baskets on mid-range shots.

Unfortunately for the Bearcats, they didn't hit another shot in their next eight attempts,.

In this four minute stretch, Crab Orchard outscored them 12-0 to take a commanding 30-13 lead.

Schell hit a shot and a free throw by Ferrell made it 33-18 at the half.

Four consecutive baskets in the midway point of the third by the hosts finished the Bearcats.

Senior forward Hunter Franklin scored four of his 10-points in the third quarter while Vaughn and Stephens added points.

Franklin took an inside pass from Ferrell for a basket and a 45-23 lead.

The Bearcats would get no closer than 17-points the rest of the way as their season came to a hault.

Crab Orchard is now 23-6 on the season and they will play Sesser-Valier on Wednesday night in the semifinals.

The Trojans finished 24-of-55 overall and 8-of-24 from the arc.

“Crab Orchard is a team that you don't want to let get up and down the floor on you. And we did and that is never good,” said Coach Wallace. “We had to be able to contain them and get them into a half court game. The game we played them really well (GEC Tournament) it was 43-40. We can't let them score 73-points.”

Crab Orchard
Galatia (44) – Lawrence 8 2 0-0 22, Mitchell 1 0 0-0 2, Matthews 4 0 1-2 9, Stevens 0 1 0-0 3, Mattingly 0 0 0-0 0, Pulliam 0 0 0-0 0, Verbeck 1 1 0-0 5, Hankins 0 0 0-0 0, Glenn 0 0 0-0 0, Stanley 0 0 1-2 1, Triplett 1 0 0-2 2, Prichett 0 0 0-0 0, Lane 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-15, 3FG-4, FT-2-6, PF-23.

Crab Orchard (73) – Vaughn 2 4 6-8 22, Stephens 1 0 1-3 3, Ferrell 3 0 6-8 12, Vinson 1 3 0-0 11, Schell4 0 0-0 8, Franklin 4 0 2-2 10, Beasley 1 0 1-3 3, Whitehead 0 0 0-0 0, Lakotich 0 1 0-0 3, Holmes 0 0 1-2 1, Powell 0 0 0-0 0, Throgmorton 0 0 0-0 0, Killman 0 0 0-0 0, Hodge 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-16, 3FG-8, FT-17-26, PF-12.

Fouled Out – Mattingly, Pulliam - Galatia.
Technical Fouls – None.