Sesser-Valier "blows" past Tornadoes
Red Devils use big second quarter, roll to 85-56 triumph
SESSER – Putting together a great second quarter on Saturday afternoon, the Sesser-Valier Red Devils erased whatever momentum that their opponents had after the first eight minutes.

Visiting Zeigler-Royalton, behind an outside scoring offensive, took a 19-18 lead at the end of the first period of play.

However that was the end of the Tornadoes' highlights of this game as the hosts took complete control in the next eight minutes, outscoring Z-R 29-4 to roll to a comfortable 85-56 Black Diamond Conference win in a make up game from the previous night that was moved because of the weather.

The storm that Z-R put together in the first quarter didn't last long enough to bother the Red Devils as Coach Shane Garner saw his team improve to 7-8 on the season and 3-3 in the West Division.

Sophomore guard Tyler Winchester led a cavalcade of scoring Devils, netting a game-topping 21-points to lead them all.

Lukas Gunter, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, added 15-points for S-V while senior forward Charles Farmer tossed in 11.

In fact 11-different Devils were penciled in the book with points as they cruised to the win.

Six-foot-three senior center Jamie Lance got in on the action, netting nine-points while sophomore Seth Boles balanced the scoring by adding eight more.

Joshua Gunter came in and put down seven-points as Sesser-Valier didn't lack any firepower in this matinee.

For head coach Matt Morgan and his Tornadoes, Brenden Whiting, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, scored 18-points to lead Z-R.

Nolan Domineck, a 6-foot senior, added 16-points and junior Steven Anderson contributed eight.

Senior forward Austin Bollinger ended up with seven-points as Zeigler-Royalton saw its overall mark slip to 1-10 on the season, 0-5 in the BDC West.

The Tornadoes committed 17-turnovers in the contest, many of which turned into S-V points.

“We want to be an uptempo team. We want to make things happen,” said Coach Garner. “We you can do that (create turnovers) and convert it, it works out well. We have some kids coming off the bench that have sparked us with more energy. It is fun to see those guys have success and get some points.”

The Devils jumped out to an early lead only to see Z-R rally.

Winchester hit a pair of long shots and Gunter added four points as the Devils led 11-3.

Whiting was the key factor in the first quarter success for the Tornadoes as this guard heated up in the early going.

He nailed three 3-pointers in the opener, which kept Zeigler-Royalton close to the hosts.

His drive to the basket for a basket and a lob pass to Bollinger turned into an easy score and a one-point lead at the end of one.

“We lost Whiting a little bit there in the first quarter and he hit some 3's on us but we settled down and started thinking instead of running around aimlessly,” said Coach Garner. “We got our traps going and our rotations going. It's the simple things that do things the best. We tell the kids, even if you have a bad possession, you can get a rebound and it rights our wrongs.”

The floor opened up and swallowed the Tornadoes in the first four minutes of the second frame.

The Red Devils ran off on a 15-0 run to take over the contest, forcing Z-R into three turnovers and six-consecutive missed shots in the first nine possessions.

Lukas Gunter, Josh Gunter and Farmer combined for eight quick points.

Lance added two free throws and a 3-point bomb by L. Gunter kept the run going.

Winchester tipped in a missed shot for a 33-18 lead with 4:05 left before the half.

A free throw by Domineck and a trey from Whiting stopped the onslaught briefly.

But the Devils weren't done, going on a half-ending 12-0 splurge.

Winchester scored seven of the points and his 3-pointer from the right corner finished the half at 47-23.

Outscoring the Tornadoes 29-4 in the second quarter and were in charge heading to the second half.

Sesser-Valier refused to let up, expanding their lead to 30-points in the third quarter.

Three different Red Devils scored points in a run that ended with consecutive 3-pointers by L. Gunter and Farmer.

Farmer's trey, on an assist from Lukas, found the mark with 4:49 left for a 59-29 advantage.

Zeigler-Royalton's best offensive flurry came in the next two minutes, an 9-0 run with Anderson hitting from beyond the arc and adding another score while teammates Bollinger and Domineck adding baskets.

However the Devils regrouped and closed the quarter with baskets by Winchester and Boles for a 63-38 lead heading to the fourth.

Both teams went to their benches for most of the fourth quarter.

Sesser-Valier hit 31-of-66 from the field in the game, with seven of those misfires coming in the fourth quarter after the dust had settled on the outcome.

Coach Garner's team held a commanding 37-24 edge on the board while committing just eight turnovers, two in each quarter.

Zeigler-Royalton was 18-of-44 from the field, hitting nine 2's and nine 3's.

The Tornadoes were relegated to just six offensive rebounds, with only two in the first half.

“The pressure got us frustrated out there. We want to play fast but under control and the turnovers got us,” said Coach Morgan. “The wind left our sails. We just have to play hard and keep the mental lapses down. We have three games coming up to try and get that going.”

The Red Devils head into their toughest run of the season as they will play five games in six days at the Benton Invitational Tournament which begins on Monday night with a game against Mounds Meridian at 5:30 pm.

Coach Morgan's club is one of the few squads that don't play in a Mid-Winter event so they have three regular season games coming up.

Z-R will face Chester at home on Tuesday, at Galatia on Thursday and Elverado at home on Friday.

Zeigler-Royalton (56) – Domineck 1 3 5-6 16, Anderson 2 1 1-2 8, Whiting 1 5 1-2 18, Newton 0 0 0-1 0, Eldridge 0 0 0-0 0, Robolledo 0 0 0-0 0, Imhoff 0 0 1-2 1, Bollinger 2 0 3-4 7, Humphrey 0 0 0-0 0, Baxter 2 0 0-0 4.
2FG-9, 3FG-9, FT-11-17, PF-14.

Sesser-Valier (85) – G. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Basso 0 1 0-0 3, J. Gunter 2 1 0-0 7, L. Gunter 3 2 3-5 15, Winchester 5 3 2-2 21, Farmer 4 1 0-0 11, E. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Baxter 0 0 1-2 1, Launius 1 0 1-2 3, Boles 3 0 2-2 8, Lance 3 0 3-3 9, Page 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-23, 3FG-9, FT-12-16, PF-18.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.