S-V rolls past Tigers
Red Devils make the last run count, beat Thompsonville, 66-52
Marissa-Coulterville awaits S-V in title game showdown

– With the game even at 44-all at the end of the third quarter, the Sesser-Valier Red Devils were looking for a difference maker heading to the fourth quarter to decide who would join Marissa-Coulterville in Saturday night's championship game of the 38th annual SVHT.

Six-foot-one junior Peyton Bates filled that role.

Bates got loose from the Thompsonville defense twice in the first two possessions in the final frame and drilled home game-changing 3-point bombs to trigger a fourth quarter crusade to the title game.

These two buckets continued what turned out to be an 11-0 run that propelled the hosts to the finale of the event with a 66-52 win in front of a capacity crowd at Sesser.

Head coach Shane Garner saw his team take advantage of the Tigers' mistakes in the victory.

“PB (Bates) hit two big shots for us and we feel like if we can get to the fourth quarter and keep (the game) tight that when we get there we can bring the ball out and spread the floor,” said Coach Garner. “Tonight our kids executed really well in the fourth quarter. Hats off to our kids.”

The foul prone visitors sent the Red Devils to the free throw line and S-V nailed 22-30 from the stripe, 73.3 percent, in the win.

“We put ourselves in that situation (foul trouble) and we have to clean that up,” said Coach Gordon. “It's sad that the streak (unbeaten) is over, but now that Monkey is off of our back and we can go and try and start a new one. It wasn't a sad locker room tonight.”

Defensively the Red Devils took seven charges and they did a good job keeping the Tigers' 6-foot-7 senior forward Anthony Darge from doing much damage.

Darge was held to just five-points and four rebounds after averaging nearly a double-double for the season.

Junior Corbin Fitch led the previously undefeated Tigers (14-1) with 18-points while teammate senior Tyson Kessler added 13.

Grady Furlow, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, added nine-points for Coach Pete Gordon's squad that will now get a shot at Woodlawn in the third place game on Saturday.

Sesser-Valier will face a Marissa-Coulterville (11-1) squad that knocked off top-seeded Woodlawn, 57-43 in the other championship semifinal Friday afternoon.

“Tonight was a tremendous atmosphere tonight and it was great for the kids to play in this type of atmosphere,” said Coach Garner. “Tomorrow night will be the same type of crowd so we have played in it now so hopefully that will calm everyone's nerves down.”

Four Red Devils' players scored double-digits in the book.

Tyler Winchester, a senior leader for this club, scored 15-points to lead this balanced attack.

Senior Seth Boles tossed in 14-points while Eli Gunter added 10.

But Bates made the biggest of the shots in that fourth quarter move as the junior guard ended up with 13-points.

His first long range bomb of the final quarter came just seconds into the action and came from the right corner.

Bates then canned a 20-footer from the top of the arc to push the Red Devils to a 50-44 lead with 6:43 remaining.

The Tigers got to within 56-51 with a basket by Kessler and later 1-of-2 free throws by the now 1,000-point scorer, with 3:43 left.

However at this point in the proceedings, the Red Devils forced the Tigers to foul and S-V nailed 9-of-10 in the final 2:04 to seal the win.

Last season when these two teams played in the 1A Zeigler-Royalton Regional semifinals, the Red Devils jumped all over the Tigers at the beginning of a 60-44 blowout with a 15-3 run.

On Friday night, after Sesser-Valier got out to a lead, the Tigers responded and got back into the contest.

Three-point shots by Boles, Eli Gunter and junior Logan Kirk were part of an 11-2 run, but the Tigers rallied quickly with Darge, Kessler and Fitch getting points.

Fitch closed the quarter with a driving lay in and a pair of free throws as the quarter ended at 13-12 Red Devils.

Thompsonville not only recovered from the first scoring blast from the Devils, they put together a nice run over their own in the second stanza to get their biggest advantage of the night.

Kessler followed up a Fitch bucket with a pair of scores for a 18-13 lead.

Sesser-Valier rallied quickly with points from Winchester on a pair of drives to the basket, one off of a back door cut.

When Bates hit his first 3-pointer of the night, S-V was back on top 20-18.

Kessler scored again during the quarter as he went over the 1K mark in points.

Winchester scored twice on drives to the basket and then Fitch nailed a 3-pointer.

A pair of free throws by Furlow sent the teams to a halftime “furlough” tied at 28-28.

Thompsonville, despite all of its errors and foul issues on the night, were sitting pretty leading 36-31 after consecutive scores from Fitch and Furlow.

Sesser-Valier answered with a run that got the Devils a brief lead.

However during during that time frame both Kessler and Darge picked up their fourth fouls.

Furlow and reserve senior Trey Bybee hit 3-point bombs to give the Tigers the 44-39 lead with 1:17 left in the third.

The Red Devils closed the third quarter with 5-of-7 free throws, including 2-of-3 by reserve Garrett Gunter who was fouled by Thompsonville's Reed Raubach about 30-feet from the basket while tossing up a desperation 3-point attempt.

With the clock showing zeroes, Gunter closed the quarter with the two teams dead even.

Bates powered the fourth quarter charge for the Devils to reach the title game for a second year in a row.

“We tell the kids if we are going to be a regional contender, we have to handle adversity,” said Coach Gordon. “We have to play better in those situations and we're not there yet.”

The tale of the tape showed both teams shooting nearly the same from the floor.

Thompsonville ended up 18-of-44 (40.9 percent) while Sesser-Valier was 19-of-46 (41.3 percent).

The free throw advantage caused by the Red Devils getting Thompsonville in foul trouble, allowed the S-V to get the victory to improve to 8-3 overall.

“We played in front of a hostile crowd, a tough place to play, and I'm proud of our kids. They played their butt's off. We'll get better from this,” said Coach Gordon. “We're excited to actually go play Woodlawn because of the sub-sectional implications when the seedings are voted on. We wish it was in a different situation (championship game) be we will be ready for this. We were in foul trouble and we got behind in the fourth quarter when they made their run. These are situations we have not been in this year. It was great, what a fun environment to play in. We had a blast tonight.”

Game 22 Championship Semifinals
Sesser-Valier (66) – Gavin Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Woodland 0 0 0-0 0, Winchester 5 0 5-6 15, E. Gunter 1 1 5-7 10, Garrett Gunter 1 0 4-5 6, Kirk 1 1 2-2 7, Bates 1 3 2-2 13, Boles 4 1 3-6 14, Eubanks 0 0 1-2 1.
2FG-13, 3FG-6, FT-22-30, PF-16.

Thompsonville (52)
– Kessler 4 1 2-4 13, Roberts 1 0 0-0 2, Furlow 2 1 2-2 9, Fitch 5 1 5-7 18, Darge 2 0 1-2 5, Jones 0 0 2-4 2, Byber 0 1 0-0 3, Overturf 0 0 0-0 0, Ramsey 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-14, 3FG-4, FT-12-19, PF-26.

Fouled Out
- Roberts, Fitch, Darge - Thompsonville.
Technical Fouls
– None.
The Meteors proved that they are the “real deal” with a win over the top-seed in the championship semifinals on Friday afternoon.

Behind 22-points from 6-foot-3 forward Sebastion Ivory-Greer and a strong defensive effort, the Meteors improved to 11-1 on the season with the victory.

Coach Scott Wine's club, after an opening night loss to begin the season against Litchfield, M-C has won 11-straight games as they reach the title game for the first time in this event.

Junior Logan Jones added 13-points for M-C as they broke loose from Woodlawn in the second quarter, out scoring the Cardinals, 18-8 to lead 30-23 at halftime.

The Cardinals (11-2) were led by 23-points from 6-foot-2 junior guard Blake McKay.

Jake Martin added eight-points for Coach Brian Gamber's club as they will play Thompsonville in the third place game Saturday afternoon at 3 pm.

Game 19 Championship Semifinal
Marissa-Coulterville (57) – Ivory-Greer 5 2 6-7 22, Broshears 2 0 0-0 4, Portz 0 0 4-4 4, Steinwagner 1 0 0-0 2, Gilley 2 0 0-0 4, Jones 4 1 2-4 13, Bowlby 2 1 1-2 8.
2FG-16, 3FG-4, FT-13-17, PF-15.

Woodlawn (43)
– Hunter England 0 0 0-0 0, McKay 6 2 5-8 23, Bennett 2 0 0-0 4, Hollenkamp 0 1 0-0 3, Spangler 0 0 0-0 0, Hayden England 1 0 1-2 3, Martin 4 0 0-0 8.
2FG-14, 3FG-3, FT-6-10, PF-19.

Fouled Out
– Bennett - Woodlawn.
Technical Fouls
– None.
The final day of games at the 38th annual event are set.

Odin advanced to the consolation title game with a 55-50 win over Waltonville Friday morning.

The Eagles will play Cobden, who was a 47-33 winner over Zeigler-Royalton in the consolation semifinals.

The fifth place game will have Goreville vs. Sparta.

The Blackcats bested Johnston City, 67-62 while Sparta downed Christopher 78-50.

12:00 pm - Odin vs. Cobden
1:30 pm - Sparta vs. Goreville
3:00 pm - Woodlawn vs. Thompsonville
7:00 pm - Marissa-Coulterville vs. Sesser-Valier