Webber wins senior night battle
Trojans get 31-points from Charles Neal, edge Grayville 69-65
The Webber Township Trojans celebrated their annual Senior Night on Wednesday with a make up game triumph over conference foe Grayville.

But it was an underclassmen who stepped up to deliver the much needed league win for Coach Brad Beaty's squad.

Six-foot-four junior forward Charles Neal was the deciding factor for Webber, scoring 31-points while grabbing eight-rebounds as his club held off a rally by the Bison in a 69-65 win.

While defensively the Trojans didn't do much in the way of stopping Grayville, the host made the most of their offensive trips to secure the win which improved the overall record to 14-11 on the year, 6-2 in the Midland Trail Conference.

Senior starter Travis Helm, a 6-foot guard, added 13-points to the offense while juniors Dylan Stratton and Brody Mount notched 10-points each in the victory.

“We were able to get Charles the ball in the middle and against any zone defense you can do damage that way. We have three-point shooters and we are going to shoot 3's but at some point you have to get the ball to the middle of their zone. I thought in the third quarter we started getting the ball in the middle to Charles and he knocked some shots down for us,” said Coach Beaty. “We are not as patient as I would like us to be. We ae going to see a lot of zone. Our next two games (Cisne and NCOE) we will see a lot of zone and we are going to have to get better at attacking it.”

The story has been the same for the Bison for most of the 2016-17 campaign, playing well enough to lose by a few points at the end.

Head coach Brian Hucker's team fell to 7-16 overall, 3-6 in the MTC, despite 27-points and six-rebounds from 6-foot-4 senior forward Wyatt Hatcher.

Hatcher surpassed the 1,000-point total for his career in the contest as he needed 21-points going into the game to reach the plateau.

Kase Robinson, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, netted 19-points and grabbed five-boards in the loss.

Webber got to double-digit leads in both the third and fourth quarters of the game but they didn't put the outcome to rest until the final seconds.

However when they Trojans needed points they got them from Neal, who found seams in the Bison zone defense and got to the rim for a lot of easy chances.

He netted 13 of his points in the third quarter which helped Webber get the separation that they needed to withstand the Grayville comeback attempt.

Leading by five-points at intermission, the Trojans got two different scoring bursts that gave them their first and second double-digit leads.

Neal contributed points in both, including three consecutive scores.

A rebound of his own missed attempt, a steal and lay up and then a mid-range shot from near the foul line pushed the Trojans to a 49-38 lead with just under a minute left in the third quarter.

But as it eventually turned out, Webber Township would need every point from Neal and Company as the Bison never wilted.

Robinson, who is over 1,800-points for his career, and Hatcher each scored late in the third quarter to close the gap.

Hatcher picked up a steal and converted a lay in and Robinson, with the clock winding down in the frame, canned a 25-footer from the top of the arc to close the third down just 49-43.

However the Bison shot themselves in the foot too many times in the third quarter, committing seven of their 14-turnovers in a stretch were they could have taken command.

Fortunately for the Trojans, they were able to overcome their own issues by converting enough free throws at the end of the contest.

Webber Township hit 12-of-16 from the stripe in the final stanza, with Neal and Stratton each going 4-of-5 in the stretch.

These tosses proved to be important as Grayville cut it to a two-possession game two different times late in the game before falling short.

The Bison were down just 60-56 after getting 3-of-4 free throws on consecutive trips to the line from Hatcher with 2:40 left.

But Grayville never got it under four-points the rest of the game as Stratton (4) and Helm (2) put down six-straight free throws to put the outcome to rest.

“I just told the kids in the lockerroom, I asked them 'what was the difference in the game?' And they said 'four-points' and I said 'A missed box out, a turnover, a missed free throw, a missed shot, all of those things add up,” said Coach Hucker. “Our effort was good and the kids played hard. We just have to get some things cleaned up before Friday night and into next week at the regional. We made some lazy passes in the third quarter and we had trouble boxing out on rebounds. All of these things add up.”

The key element of the game came when the Trojans started getting the ball inside to Neal late in the first half.

The lefty forward scored eight-straight points with four field goals all within 10-feet of the basket, to give his club a 30-25 halftime lead.

Trailing early in the game 5-2, the Bison's best move of the night was a 10-2 run with Robinson and Hatcher scoring four-points each and while senior guard Aaron Davis added a score for a 12-8 lead, a quarter that ended with Grayville on top 14-13.

Webber held a 37-27 rebounding edge and they held the Bison to just eight-total offensive rebounds.

The Trojans finished 29-of-62 from the floor overall (46.7 percent) while Grayville ended up at 42.3 percent (25-of-59).

Neither team was very good from long range.

With both teams playing zone defenses, the 3-point percentages were low.

The hosts hit just 5-of-17 from beyond the arc while the Bison finished just 3-of-20.

The difference came from Neal on the inside, as he was 14-of-21 himself in the contest.

Each team will close out their regular season schedules on Friday with Webber Traveling to Cisne and Grayville playing host to Odin.

The Bison will play at the Louisville North Clay 1A Regional as their first game will be against the host Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Webber will play against Norris City-Omaha-Enfield on Monday night at the Wayne City 1A Regional.

“We are going to a tough regional next week with a lot of teams we are familiar with. We have to get better defensively,” said Coach Beaty. “They (Grayville) is a team that knows how to put the ball in the basket. They have a kid that is close to 2,000-points and another kid who just went over 1,000. So they can put up points. We had to zone them because they would have probably gotten us into foul trouble.”

Webber Township
Grayville (65) – Davis 4 0 0-0 8, Robinson 6 1 4-5 19, Reeves 1 0 2-2 4, Leavens 1 1 0-0 5, Hatcher 9 1 3-4 27, Lingafelter 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-22, 3FG-3, FT-9-11, PF-19.

Webber Township (69) – Helm 1 2 5-7 13, Girvan 0 0 0-0 0, Neal 14 0 3-3 31, Stratton 0 2 4-5 10, Hart 1 1 0-0 5, Mount 4 0 2-4 10, Adcock 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-20, 3FG-5, FT-14-19, PF-14.

Fouled Out – Leavens - Grayville.
Technical Fouls – None.