Steeleville rolls past Red Bud
Warriors defense sets pace in 58-18 win; Sparta edges host Pioneers

CAMPBELL HILL – The Steeleville Warriors let their defense set the stage for a romping victory on Wednesday night.

Although the squad missed some easy chances on offense during a second quarter stretch, they were a stingy crew on defense.

Using their press to set things up and scoring several times in transition in the second half, the Warriors improved to 3-0 on the season and the tournament with a 58-18 victory over Red Bud in the opener on Wednesday night at the Trico/Murphysboro Invitational Tournament.

Coach Adam Fiene used his deep bench to wear down the out-maned Musketeers as they pulled away in the third quarter for the win.

Forcing 21-turnovers, Steeleville took the game over after intermission and they are now set for a showdown with rival Trico on Friday night.

A win over the Pioneers will put the Warriors in Saturday night's championship against the winner of the Murphysboro side of the tournament.

“We wanted to keep our intensity going tonight. We had two difficult games on back-to-back nights and we wanted to keep our intensity at a high level and we did that tonight.” said Coach Fiene. “We are going to score points and our defense is what's going to make it happen. We want to get our offense going off of what we do on the defensive end.”

Ten different Warriors scored in the onslaught, led by 6-foot junior guard Austin Hagel who netted 16-points.

Senior guard Mel Mulholland tossed home eight-points while 6-foot-2 forward Jordan Wilson powered inside for three scores in the paint during the third quarter run that helped put the game away.

He finished with seven-points on the night.

“Jordan (Wilson) is only about 6-2 or 6-3 but he is as strong as can be around the basket. He really finishes well. And our guards played well tonight. We were physical tonight and we need to play that way against 2A schools on the schedule,” said Coach Fiene. “It will only make us better down the road when we get into the postseason.”

Junior Drew Gerlach added six-points while Steeleville got four points apiece from senior Owen Gross, senior AJ Stearns and 6-foot-4 freshman Chase Newby.

Head coach CJ Cruser saw his Musketeers slip to 0-3 on the season and in the tournament as they committed more turnovers than they scored points.

Junior guard Jaden Birkner scored seven-points to led Red Bud.

The Musketeers played well defensively early but they couldn't sustain their overall play.

Steeleville, with Hagel opened the game by scoring nine of his points in the first six minutes of the game, never trailed.

His 3-point bomb from the left wing gave Steeleville a 10-4 lead.

Birkner scored four of his points on a pair of drives in the opening quarter.

His second runner in the lane cut the lead just 12-8 with 1:56 left in the frame.

Steeleville closed out the period with a score by senior Gavin Conway and a pair of free throws by Stearns for a 16-8 spread.

The Warriors had multiple chances to pull away early in the second quarter but they missed their first five field goal attempts, including four point blank range lay in attempts on fast breaks.

But on the defensive end, there was no let up.

Red Bud hit just one shot in the second quarter and it was a 3-pointer from senior Marcus Dwyer.

The half ended with a bucket by senior Mel Mulholland and two free throws from Gerlach for the Warriors.

Steeleville forced Red Bud into a 5-of-20 shooting first half to go along with eight turnovers as Coach Fiene's five led 26-11 at intermission.

After the two teams traded early baskets in the third quarter, Steeleville pulled away with a 12-0 run.

A 3-pointer from Hagel got things started as Gross added a drive to the basket and Wilson scored in close.

A steal and a fast break basket from senior Brad Mevert turned into a three-point play and a 40-13 lead for Steeleville.

One more Red Bud score in the third quarter, a drive for a conventional three-point play by sophomore Max Simpson, closed out their highlights of the night.

Three straight buckets, the final two on consecutive fast breaks off of Musketeer turnovers by Mulholland gave the Warriors a 46-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter and a continuous clock.

“We felt like we could pressure the ball tonight and when we defend better than we shoot better,” said Coach Fiene.

The Warriors were very efficient on the night, hitting 24-of-44 from the floor overall, 22-of-35 inside the arc.

Minus the five consecutive missed shots to open the second frame, Steeleville played a pretty flawless contest.

Coach Fiene saw his team commit just eight turnovers and they out-rebounded Red Bud 24-12.

Coach Cruser's team hit just 8-of-29 overall, 1-of-9 from the arc.

Steeleville can book a spot in the title game on Saturday night with a win over rival and host Trico Friday night.

The Pioneers needed a win to keep pace but lost to Sparta, 51-50 in the Wednesday nightcap.

Red Bud will face Sparta on Thursday night at Trico, starting at 5 pm.

Red Bud
Steeleville (58) – Gerlach 2 0 2-2 6, Stearns 1 0 2-2 9, Sutton 0 0 0-0 0, Gross 2 0 0-0 4, Mulholland 4 0 0-0 8, Conway 2 0 0-0 4, Z. Mevert 1 0 0-0 2, Hagel 4 2 2-2 16, B. Mevert 1 0 1-1 3, Hill 0 0 0-0 0, Newby 2 0 0-0 4, Wilson 3 0 1-4 7.
2FG-22, 3FG-2, FT-8-11, PF-11.

Red Bud (18) – Amman 1 0 0-2 2, Koester 0 0 0-0 0, Simpson 1 0 0-0 2, Wiegard 1 0 0-0 2, Malott 0 0 0-0 0, Grohman 0 0 0-2 0, Birkner 3 0 1-1 7, Cowell 0 0 0-0 0, Barriger 1 0 0-1 2, Dwyer 0 1 0-2 3, Ferrell 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-7, 3FG-1, FT-1-8, PF-10.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.
In a game that came down to the final seconds, the Bulldogs got the last second defensive stop to secure the win.

Ahead by just a point with :01.8 remaining, Sparta defended an inbounds play by the host Pioneers.

Trico junior Isaac Kranawetter got a shot off from the right corner but it misfired as the buzzer sounded on the Bulldogs' first victory of the season.

Five-foot-nine junior guard Tony Williams topped the Sparta offensive effort with 18-points while 5-foot-10 junior guard Carlos Keen added 13.

Williams scored seven of his points in the final frame.

Six-foot-two senior Carter Naile topped the Pioneers with 15-points


Sparta (51)
– Clark 1 0 1-1 3, Herbert 0 0 0-0 0, Keen 5 1 0-1 13, Williams 7 0 4-8 18, Stefani 0 1 0-0 3, Parks 0 0 0-0 0, Cohoon 0 0 0-0 0, Cometto 1 0 0-0 2, Harris 2 0 3-3 7, Anderson 1 0 0-0 2, Algee 1 0 1-4 3, Gleghorn 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-18, 3FG-2, FT-9-19, PF-15.

Trico (50) – Kranawetter 3 0 0-0 6, Baker 0 0 0-0 0, Smith 3 1 0-1 9, W. Lodge 1 0 0-0 2, Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Lissimore 0 0 0-0 0, J. Lodge 1 0 0-0 2, Levan 1 0 0-0 2, Naile 4 1 4-6 15, Vogt 0 0 0-0 0, Cleland 0 1 0-0 3, Compton 3 0 5-6 11.
2FG-16, 3FG-3, FT-9-13, PF-22.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.