Bobcats hold off Aces
CH-BC edges MG, 67-64; Host Eagles wallop Clay City, 91-19
ST. ELMO – Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City made a ton of mistakes on Tuesday night in their quarterfinal game against Mulberry Grove at the 57th annual St. Elmo Holiday Tournament.

But late in the contest the good finally outweighed the bad as they managed to do enough things right on this cold night to get a victory to advance to the semifinals.

The Bobcats came up with a big run in the fourth quarter and defensively they made enough big plays in the final minutes to get a 67-64 win over the Aces.

Trailing 56-52 in the early moments of the fourth quarter, Coach Marc Bain's club put together a 10-1 run to flip the lead back to the Bobcats for keeps.

Mulberry Grove had a chance to tie the game or take the lead three different times down the stretch and then they had three different open looks for 3-point attempts in the final seconds that could have sent the game to overtime.

However each attempt missed the mark, allowing CH-BC (3-2) to escape with a win.

The Bobcats were led in scoring by 6-foot-4 senior forward Aaron Nohren who netted 29-points, including 9-of-10 from the foul line.

“He (Nohren) is definitely our 'go-to' guy. He came out of the game a couple of times but I told him I need you out there. Our depth isn't there right now, we are inexperienced on the bench,” said Coach Bain. “Hopefully we will be able to pick it up the rest of the tournament.”

While Nohren was taking charge in the paint, senior teammate Konner Blackerby was hitting shots from the outside while also driving to the basket.

The 5-foot-11 senior guard scored 16-points in the contest, including a trio of 3-point bombs in the first half.

Teammate Cody Grove, a 5-foot-11 senior, added 11-points for the Bobcats despite battling foul trouble in the opening half.

CH-BC also got nine-points from 6-foot-2 sophomore Mason Stewart.

All of these points turned out to be important as Coach Bain's club battled through the adversity of committing 26-turnovers in the game.

“Anytime you get that many turnovers and still get a win you were being lucky,” said Coach Bain. “We got some big rebounds there at the end and we got the ball inside better in the second half. You have to give credit to Mulberry Grove. They threw a 1-2-2 at us tonight and we hadn't seen that this year.”

Mulberry Grove got four players in double-figures in scoring but it didn't add up to a victory on Tuesday night.

For the Aces, Coach Mark Bollinger got a strong offensive effort from sophomore Courtlyn Latham, a 5-foot-8 shooting guard, who sliced through the CH-BC defense for 23-points.

MG also got 15-points from sophomore Zane Belcher and 10-points each from junior Joey Linnabary and sophomore Chandler Hans.

“Latham is quick and fast. They ran the same play for him every single time and he would drive on us and hit that jumper,” said Coach Bain.

Nevertheless, the defensive end is where the Aces were trumped on this night by the Bobcats.

They never had any answers for Nohren, who got loose in the lane way too often in the second half.

When he wasn't hitting shots he was getting fouled and going to the line.
The Aces squandered a big run to close the second quarter, switching a deficit into a three point lead at intermission.

Behind a pair of buckets by Belcher, including a 3-point bomb, and scores by Latham and Linnabary, Mulberry Grove turned that 11-0 run into a 35-32 lead at the break.

Latham proved to be tough to handle as he got to the basket way too often to suit the Bobcats.

His nice baseline drive for a reverse lay in sparked the quarter ending run for the Aces.

“We talked about it (mistakes) at halftime. Unforced turnovers. We would just jump into the air and not know where we were going to throw it. They (Mulberry Grove) had us out of wack,” said Coach Bain. “We know we need to work on a few things. We have a big game on Thursday night.”

MG got to its largest advantage of the night in the third quarter, with six-consecutive points by Belcher, Hans and 6-foot-3 freshman Wyatt Criner which forced a CH-BC timeout at 48-40 Aces.

However the Bobcats got going at the right time, closing the quarter with a scoring sprint of their own.

Triggered by consecutive conventional three-point plays by Grove and Nohren, both on shots in the lane while being fouled by Criner, the Bobcats took back the lead.

A steal and fast break bucket by Blackerby and a tip in by Nohren closed the 10-0 sprint as CH-BC took the lead back 50-48, which forced Coach Bollinger to burn a timeout with 1:54 left in the third.

The Aces closed the quarter by taking back the lead.

Two free throws by senior Michael Sloan, a transition score by Linnabary and another score on a drive to the basket by Latham gave MG a 54-52 lead heading to the final countdown.

A score from Hans to begin the fourth was a promising start, but the Bobcats got the lead back for good in the next three minutes.

The 10-1 run featured a pair of bookend long range bombs by Stewart and Grove, which began and ended the scoring crusade.

Stewart nailed his 20-footer from the top of the arc, which was followed by consecutive scores inside by Nohren.

When Grove connected from the left corner with 5:37 left, the Aces needed a timeout down 62-57.

Mulberry Grove made one final push to get back the lead, but it fell short.

Latham scored a couple of baskets to get the lead down to two.

But a free throw by Stewart gave CH-BC its final margin.

In the final possession by the Aces, Latham had an open look from near the top of the circle that would have tied the game.

His shot misfired but Hans grabbed the miss and got the ball out to Sloan who also missed a long attempt to tie the contest.

Another rebound, this time by Latham, got the Aces one final chance.

Following a timeout by Coach Bollinger, Mulberry Grove got the ball to Latham for one final stab at the win.

His shot from the right wing bounced off the rim as time expired.

The Aces can point to a not-so-good shooting night to send them into the consolation bracket.

MG was just 25-of-60 on the night (41.6 percent) but we only 2-of-16 from the arc (12.5 percent).

They held their own with the taller Bobcats in the lane, getting out-rebounded 30-26,

But they also had the turnover bug, committing 15-miscues.

Coach Bain's crew improved to 3-2 overall this season by shooting the ball a bit better than the Aces, hitting 24-of-49 (48.9 percent) while hitting exactly half of their long range bombs (7-of-14).

CH-BC will head into the semifinals to face the host Eagles, who took care of Clay City in the opening game of the tournament in the other quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Mulberry Grove fell into the consolation semifinals where they will play the Wolves.

Both of those games are slated for Thursday night.

The tournament resumes on Wednesday night with number two-seed Cumberland taking on Ramsey at 6:15 pm followed by number three-seed Vandalia taking on number-six South Central.

“He (Nohren) has a good solid game. And Blackerby has been around forever (in that program) and he is a solid ballplayer. He does a lot of positive things for them,” said Coach Bollinger. “We struggle sometimes on offense. We go down and 'jack stuff up' and don't run the offense. We are still working on that. But I think we are improving everyday. We are young but improving.”

Mulberry Grove
Mulberry Grove (64) – Latham 10 0 3-4 23, Sloan 0 0 4-6 4, Linnabary 3 1 1-2 10, Hans 4 0 2-2 10, Belcher 5 1 2-6 15, Criner 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-23, 3FG-2, FT-12-20 PF-15.

Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City (67) – Grove 2 2 1-1 11, Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Phillips 0 0 0-0 0, Blackerby 3 3 1-2 16, Martin 0 0 0-0 0, Stewart 1 2 1-2 9, M. Nohren 0 0 0-0 0, A. Nohren 10 0 9-10 29, Buzzard 1 0 0-0 2, Miller 0 0 0-1 0.
2FG-17, 3FG-7, FT-12-16, PF-14.

Fouled Out – Sloan - Mulberry Grove.
Technical Fouls – None.

Heading into the first contest of the tournament, not much was known about Clay City other than they had three lopsided defeats in their only three contest of the 2016-17 campaign.

They added a fourth loss in the same fashion on Tuesday night as the host Eagles manhandled the Wolves by a score that was indicative of the difference in talent in the two teams.

Head coach Greg Feezel's Eagles spotted the Wolves an early 3-pointer and proceeded to go on the first of many scoring runs in the game as they coasted to an easy victory.

Landon Feezel, the senior forward and leader on the club, ended up with a game-best 23-points while playing just three quarters of the game as eight other St. Elmo-Brownstown players scored points in the victory.

Guard Lewis Brown netted 13-points while the Eagles got 10-points each from seniors Klayton Kroll and Dylan Brooks.

Isaac Maxey and Nate Philpot also tossed in nine-points apiece for Coach Feezel, as he played everyone in a uniform.

Senior Joel Logue came off the pine for eight-points, all in the second half.

For the Wolves, it has been a long season already for the rebuilding process with Coach Steve Humphrey in charge of a young team with just one senior and two juniors with the rest being inexperienced.

Senior guard Noah Wilkin scored seven-points for the Wolves, who are now 0-4 on the season.

Leading just 6-5 in the early going of the first quarter, St. Elmo-Brownstown went on a 31-0 run, to balloon the lead to 37-5.

Brown scored 12 of the points while Feezel scored 11.

Many of the points came off of steals and conversions of fast break lay ins.

Clay City ended up with more turnovers than points (24) in the game.

The numbers were even more staggering than the final score as the Eagles out-rebounded the Wolves 47-11 and committed just seven-turnovers.

Coach Feezel's club was 39-of-72 on the night (54.1 percent) as they got as many shots as they wanted.

Clay City hit just 5-of-31 from the floor (16.1 percent) when they weren't turning the ball over.

Clay City
St. Elmo-Brownstown
Clay City (19) – Wilkin 2 0 3-7 7, Klingler 0 1 0-0 3, Weber 0 0 4-4 4, Welty 1 0 0-0 2, Buerster 0 0 0-0 0, Noll 1 0 0-0 2, Rodriquez 0 0 1-2 1, Sherman 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-4, 3FG-1, FT-8-13, PF-8.

St. Elmo-Brownstown (91) – Logue 4 0 0-0 8, Denton 1 0 1-2 3, Aderman 0 0 0-0 0, Karnes 0 0 0-0 0, Brown 3 1 4-5 13, Maxey 3 1 0-0 9, Kroll 5 0 0-0 10, Brooks 5 0 0-0 10, Philpot 2 1 2-3 9, Goldsborough 3 0 0-1 6, Feezel 7 3 0-0 23.
2FG-33, 3FG-6, FT-7-11, PF-13.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.