Thompsonville dominates in title win
Tigers lead from start to finish in 53-33 championship game triumph
CHRISTOPHER – In the first two games of the season for Coach Pete Gordon's Thompsonville Tigers, which began at the Christopher Turkey Tournament, they got of to relatively slow starts.

In contests against Zeigler-Royalton and Norris City-Omaha-Enfield this club took a while to get going before pulling away for consecutive wins to set up a championship tilt against the host Bearcats at the 44th annual Turkey Tournament.

But Saturday night it was a whole different story.

The Tigers jumped on the hosts from the opening tap and never let up.

By the time the Bearcats knew what happened, Thompsonville was in command.

The Tigers “lowered the boom” on Christopher with an 11-0 run and never let them back in the game.

Christopher never got closer than six points during Thompsonville's championship conquest.

Led by a near triple double by 6-foot-7 senior Anthony Darge and three other Tigers in double-digits in scoring, Thompsonville “clobbered” Christopher in the title game, 53-33 in a game that wasn't even as close as the scoreboard indicated.

Coach Gordon saw his club dominate in all phases as they improved to 3-0 on the season.

Darge created havoc on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive end.

To go with his 14-points, Darge grabbed nine rebounds and swatted away 10 Christopher field goal attempts.

He was 4-of-4 from the field and he hit all six of his free throw attempts.

But his presence in the paint on the defensive end took the Bearcats out of their offensive rhythm and the Tigers full court pressure from the opening minute set the table for a Thanksgiving tournament feast; Tiger style.

“The triple double with blocked shots, that is pretty rare if he could have done that. Anthony (Darge) played probably his best game that I have seen him play. He is such a defensive presence in there. If we get beat off of the bounce, he is there to wipe it away,” said Coach Gordon. “He also helps start our transition game. He has worked hard to be more athletic. He has improved his agility.”

The tournaments' Most Valuable Player, senior guard Tyson Kessler, tossed in 12-points as did junior guard Corbin Fitch.

Fitch hit all six of his field goal attempts, all two-point tries.

Kessler ended up 5-of-10 from the floor overall, 1-of-2 from downtown.

“The press (early) came from us trying to get Corbin Fitch going. He is great at pressing and that helped set the tone,” said Coach Gordon. “And once he got going that is just another weapon to a well balanced attack.”

The Tigers were missing a starter as senior Reed Raubach sat out the game with a hamstring injury.

In his absence, sophomore Grady Furlow stepped up and scored 10-points.

The 6-foot-1 guard hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter and added a free throw later for 10-points.

But the real story on the night was the Thompsonville defensive effort.

They forced the Bearcats into a dreadful shooting performance, as head coach Eric Stallman watched in dismay as his squad finished just 13-of-45 overall, 0-of-8 from the 3-point arc.

Junior forward Bryce Pratt led Christopher with 13 points while Gabe Motsinger added 10.

In crystal clear contrast, Thompsonville scorched the nets.

The Tigers were 19-of-30 overall (63 percent) and 5-of-9 from the arc.

Coach Gordon's team did just about everything right as they hoisted the championship plaque in their second consecutive regular season tournament, having won the GEC event last January.

In what was anticipated as a great title game matchup, the contest ended up totally one sided.

Thompsonville hit 6-of-10 shots in the opening quarter and in just under three minutes of play they had a double-figure lead.

Darge scored three times in the run on a lay in to open the scoring on a nice assist from Fitch, a rebound basket in the paint and then on a nice drive after another feed from Fitch.

Added into the run was a 3-point bomb from the top of the circle by senior guard Peyton Roberts.

It was his only points of the night but it was an additional spark that got the early run going.

Fitch also scored in the scoring spree, on a steal and a driving lay in.

A score on the baseline by Pratt and a lay up in transition by senior Dalton Saeger, in one of the Bearcats' few chances off of the Thompsonville press, cut into the Tigers' lead making it 11-5 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.

That basket got Christopher as close as they would get the remainder of the title game.

Kessler nailed his only 3-pointer of the night to close the opening frame at 14-5.

“They (Thompsonville) came out of the gate with a lot of energy tonight. They are a really good ballclub,” said Coach Stallman. “They are a senior laden ballclub and they really know how to play. They just beat us tonight, they got after us early.”

Thompsonville opened the second quarter the same way it didn't the first.

Two free throws by Darge (who was 6-of-6 in the game) and two fast break scores from Fitch ballooned the lead to 20-5 which got Coach Stallman to call a timeout at 6:19 left in the half.

These Bearcats did show some fight, going on their best run of the evening, albeit short lived.

Pratt hit a pair of free throws and scored on a drive down the left side of the lane while Motsinger scored going to the basket as well.

Thompsonville finished the half with a 7-2 run.

Senior Ty Bybee helped out with a shot just inside the arc and then Kessler scored five points, ending the half on a fast break on an outlet pass from Darge as the Tigers led 27-13 at the break.

“Pete (Gordon) has a good team, they are very good and they are going to win a lot of games this year,” said Coach Stallman. “Kessler is a kid that shoots a true jump shot off of the dribble and you don't see that much at this level. He is tough to defend. And Darge is intimidating in there. They have weapons and experience.”

Coach Gordon's club did what championship teams do when they have a lead.

They keep the other team from making runs.

In the second half, Christopher never scored more than twice in a row without a Tiger answer.

And during the third quarter, Furlow stepped up and hit three key shots.

In fact his three 3-point shots came from three different spots on the floor.

He hit one from the right side of the arc to push the Thompsonville lead to 34-17 at the 5:48 mark.

His second trifecta was a shot from the left corner that was part of a late 8-2 scoring sprint.

Then in the final seconds, Fulow came off of a screen and nailed his third shot in succession, a 20-footer from the top of the arc, that found the bottom of the net to give the Tigers a 44-27 spread heading to the final quarter.

“Grady (Furlow) was awesome tonight. Filling in for Reed (Raubach) in his first high school varsity start he did a wonderful job,” said Coach Gordon. “He hit some big shots for us. He has played for us in spots, but not as significantly as he did tonight.”

Another trait attributed to title teams is finishing off games in the fourth quarter when the opposition is forced to foul.

Coach Gordon's squad put the outcome to rest by hitting 7-of-10 free throws in a four minute stretch.

Fitch added another fast break score to give the Tigers their largest lead of the evening at 53-29 before both coaches emptied the benches.

Thompsonville will head right back into action next week when they host Pope County in the Greater Egyptian Conference opener for both teams on Tuesday night.

The Pirates went 3-2 at the Crab Orchard Tournament which concluded Saturday.

The Tigers will tackle nine games before Christmas.

Christopher will hit the road to play Cobden on Tuesday night.

“We will get better. We are a guard oriented team but we didn't handle their press very well tonight,” said Coach Stallman. “They (Thompsonville) got physical with us tonight and we didn't handle that, either. They were in control the entire game. It was never in doubt for them.”


Thompsonville (53)
– Bybee 1 0 0-0 2, Fitch 6 0 0-0 12, Roberts 0 1 0-0 3, Furlow 0 3 1-2 10, Darge 4 0 6-6 14, Ramsey 0 0 0-0 0, Kessler 3 1 3-7 12, Overturf 0 0 0-0 0, Haskins 0 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Clark 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-14, 3FG-5, FT-10-15, PF-13.

Christopher (33) – Pheasant 0 0 0-0 0, Sveda 1 0 0-0 2, Garver 0 0 0-0 0, Cole 0 0 0-0 0, Saeger 2 0 0-0 4, Ingoldsby 0 0 0-0 0, Motsinger 3 0 4-4 10, Pratt 5 0 3-4 13, Fletcher 1 0 0-0 2, Hawkins 1 0 0-0 2, Goins 0 0 0-0 0, Mazur 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-13, 3FG-0, FT-7-8, PF-16.

Fouled Out –Motsinger - Christopher.
Technical Fouls – None.
The Indians ended their week on a high note with a win over NCOE in the third place game, behind 23-points each from Taj McKinney and Travis Dickey.

Trailing 17-7 at the end of the first quarter, Wayne City got going in the final three quarters and pulled away at the end.

Coach Jim Corona also got 10-points from Andrew White.

The Fighting Cardinals of Coach Jim Tucker (1-2) were led by senior Brandon Skaggs with 14-points and CJ Richardson with 15.

Sophomore guard Jack Riggs tossed in nine for NCOE.

Dickey, McKinney and Skaggs all ended up on the all-tournament team.

Third Place
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
Wayne City

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (59)
– Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Riggs 3 1 0-0 9, Skaggs 4 1 3-5 14, T. Money 1 0 0-0 2, Richardson 0 5 0-0 15, Barton 0 1 0-0 3, Simmons 1 0 3-4 5, H. Money 0 1 0-0 3, Richerson 1 0 0-0 2, O'Neal 3 0 0-0 6.
2FG-13, 3FG-9, FT-6-9, PF-21.

Wayne City (68) – White 3 0 4-4 10, McKinney 7 1 6-6 23, Horton 1 0 2-2 4, Sledge 2 0 0-0 4, Miller 0 0 0-1 0, Lewis 0 0 0-0 0, Durham 1 0 2-2 4, Dickey 3 4 5-8 23, Cooper 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-17, 3FG-5, FT-19-23, PF-11.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.
The Yellow Jackets held of the Spartans for the consolation championship.

It is the second consecutive consy title for New Athens in this tournament.

Coach Conrad Widdersheim saw his senior guard George Schneider lead the way in the win with 27-points.

New Athens (2-1) held on for the win by hitting 13-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Waltonville was led by Reagan Newell with 23-points and McKendal Malone with 16.

Malone and Schneider both were all-tournament.

Consolation Championship
New Athens

New Athens (58)
– Schneider 5 4 5-6 27, Whitworth 3 0 2-2 8, Range 0 0 4-6 4, Shevlin 2 0 0-0 4, Lintker 3 0 1-4 7, Boone 2 0 4-6 8, Patton 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-15, 3FG-4, FT-16-24, PF-15.

Waltonville (57) – Cobb 0 0 0-0 0, Newell 4 3 6-7 23, Reynolds 0 0 0-0 0, Malone 2 3 3-4 16, Griffith 0 0 0-0 0, Haley 2 0 1-2 5, Tucker 4 1 0-2 11, Banach 1 0 0-2 2.
2FG-13, 3FG-7, FT-10-17, PF-21.

Fouled Out – Haley - Waltonville.
Technical Fouls – None.
The Trojans (1-2) picked up their first win of the season with the victory over the Tornadoes in the seventh place game.

Six-foot-four junior forward Kaiden Taylor netted a game-high 29-points in the win for Coach Brad Beaty's bunch.

Dalton Adcock, a 6-foot junior, added 17.

Taylor was 8-of-8 from the foul line as the Trojans ended up 12-of-16 from the stripe.

Taylor was named all-tournament.

Zeigler-Royalton (0-3) and head coach Matt Morgan got double-digits in scoring from 6-foot-5 sophomore Gannon Dollins (14) and 5-foot-8 junior David Eldridge (11) in the loss.

Seventh Place
Webber Township

Zeigler-Royalton (42)
– Mills 0 3 0-0 9, Chekevdia 1 0 0-1 2, Newton 0 0 0-0 0, Eldridge 4 1 0-0 11, Rebolledo 0 0 0-0 0, Earl 0 0 0-0 0, Imhoff 0 0 1-2 1, Freeman 1 0 0-0 2, Leeper 0 0 1-3 1, McKinney 0 0 0-0 0, Humphrey 0 0 2-5 2, Dollins 6 0 2-5 14.
2FG-12, 3FG-4, FT-6-16, PF-11.

Webber Township (64) – B. Landreth 0 0 0-0 0, H. Landreth 1 0 1-4 3, Pierce 0 0 0-0 0, Heinrich 0 0 0-0 0, Buck 1 0 0-0 2, Hamerski 0 0 0-0 0, Taylor 9 1 8-8 29, Buchanan 1 3 0-0 11, Hill 1 0 0-0 2, Adcock 4 2 3-4 17, Sandy 0 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-18, 3FG-6, FT-12-16, PF-12.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.
The All-Tournament team for the 44th annual event were MVP Tyson Kessler and Anthony Darge of Thompsonville; Bryce Pratt and Gage Hawkins of Christopher; Travis Dickey and Taj McKinney of Wayne City; Brandon Skaggs from Norris City-Omaha-Enfield; Joe Range from New Athens; McKendal Malone of Waltonville and Kaiden Taylor of Webber Township.