Zeigler-Royalton upends Carterville
Jones, Menckowski lead Tornadoes to BDC win

- Coach Jon Dawson and his Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes had been waiting a long time for a victory over Carterville.

In fact, when questioned, no one in the program could recall when exactly was the last time their basketball team had conquered the Lions.

One thing is for certain. They will remember their 67-65 overtime win at home over Carterville on Tuesday night for a long time.

Riding 28-points from sophomore Aaron Jones and 22-points from senior Chad Menckowski, Z-R won its BDC West opener to improve to 3-2 overall.

Jones, who scored 17-fourth quarter points, sent the game into overtime with a clutch 3-pointer with a defender in his face with :06 left.

Menckowski connected on all four of his overtime free throw attempts while teammates Josh and Matt Bramlett each scored on an offensive rebound in the extra period in the important win.

"We were up to the task tonight," said Dawson, Z-R's second year coach. "I was a bit concerned going into the game about their size but we handled them better than I thought we would. I think going to a zone tonight kind of bothered them some."

The zone definitely disrupted the Lions offense as they connected on only 26-of-67 (38 percent) shot from the field, but just 4-of-19 (21 percent) from behind the 3-point arc.

The Tornadoes opened the game with a Menckowski scoring 10-points in the first quarter.

A pair of 3-pointers and a steal and fast break 'coast-to-coast' finish by the 5-foot-11 senior gave Zeigler-Royalton an early 15-9 advantage at the first horn.

But Carterville roared back with a solid second period, in which the Lions hit 12-of-16 shots.

Six-foot-two senior Trevor Poore scored 10 of his teams' 29-points in the second frame, which turned a six-point deficit into a five-point halftime margin at 38-33.

Poore hit a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter.

His first one gave the Lions back the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. When his shot from the left wing found the mark, Carterville led 26-24 with 4:01 remaining.

His second one from the left corner gave back the lead to the Lions at 31-30. The lead reached 38-30 with just :22 remaining after senior guard A.J. Beyer scored on a drive to the basket.

But Menckowski hit a big shot at the buzzer from 20-feet sending the game to intermission at 38-33.

If the second quarter was a flash flood of points, the third period was a dust bowl.

Missed shots, turnovers and mental errors put the air breaks on what was a quality Black Diamond Conference game.

Z-R managed just a rebound basket by Matt Bramlett in the entire eight minutes.

Carterville came out the better of the two teams in the stanza, scoring seven points.

With Poore striking again with a long-range bomb from the top of the arc to finish the third quarter scoring, the
Lions headed into the final quarter up 45-35.

"We got the ten point lead on them but we didn't get the job done tonight," said Carterville head coach Scott Burzynski. "We have to have that killer instinct and that killer punch to put teams away when we have them and we didn't do it tonight."

With the speed of a light switch click, Zeigler-Royalton snapped out of its scoring funk in the fourth quarter.

Capitalizing on a pair of defensive lapses on consecutive trips up the court, Jones quickly got the Tornadoes back into game.

Just :30 apart, the highly-regarded 6-foot-5 sophomore forward found his shooting stroke at the best of times with two 3-pointers cutting the Carterville lead to 45-41 forcing a Burzynski timeout at the 7:00 mark.

"When he (Jones) hit two or three in a row in there in the fourth quarter you could see it in his eyes that he was feeling it," added Dawson. "He got some confidence. He is a sophomore and he isn't going to have the confidence sometimes that a senior would have, but when he got a few to fall he wanted the basketball and we got it to him."

Bleyer and Poore combined to give the Lions back that initial 10-point spread.

Bleyer drove the lane and was fouled on a fast-break lay in. His made free throw finished a three-point play.

Poore followed that up with another 3-pointer from the left corner to push the lead to 51-41.

In previous seasons, the old Z-R team would have folded up the tents when they got down to Carterville late in games.

However on this night, the Tornadoes were ready to weather any storm (run) that the Lions would bring.

Jones and Menckowski each hit 3-point shots in the next two Z-R possessions. Then a Jones fast break lay up on a steal near mid-court cut the lead down to 51-49 at 4:50 remaining.

"They're not going to quit and I am not going to let them quit," added Dawson, referring his teams' halftime deficit. "This Z-R team is here to stay."

The Tornadoes finally regained the scoring advantage on two free throws by Menckowski with 1:04 remaining, making it 54-53.

The Lions, as they have in this rivalry for so many years, jumped right back into the lead and looked like they would again escape with a road victory.

Trevor Poore scored on a drive to the basket.

After a Z-R turnover by Van Nix on a traveling call, Poore hit two clutch free throws with just :20.5 seconds remaining.
Everyone in the gym knew that the Tornadoes needed a 3-pointer to tie the game and Carterville looked up to the challenge.

When Jones launched a 25-footer from the top of the arc, he had hand in his face from a Lions' defender.

But as he had done five times previously in the contest, Jones found the mark.

His shot with :06 left evened the score at 57-all.

Carterville had one chance in the final seconds of regulation, but Poore's off-balanced shot misfired at the buzzer sending the game into an extra session.

In the overtime, both of the Bramlett brothers cleaned up on separate rebounds from Menckowski missed lay in's.

Josh stuck home the first one for his first and only points of the game.

Matt put back in the second one to give Z-R back the lead for good.

Scott Gulley scored six points in the overtime for Carterville and his second basket cut the lead down to 63-61.

However Menckowski put the game out of reach with four consecutive free throw connections.

When Poore scored his final points on a drive in the lane with :04.8 Carterville had no timeouts left to stop the clock, which allowed coach Dawson's club to watch the seconds tick away for the hard fought victory.

"I think the bottom line is you have to give credit to Z-R," finalized Burzynski. "They threw a 1-3-1 zone at us and it affected our flow tonight. We kind of stood around some and didn't move the ball around enough. We need to correct some things."

Zeigler-Royalton, unlike the Lions, had a much better night from the field as they hit on 23-of-51 of their 2-point attempts.

But led by Jones and Menckowski the Tornadoes were 11-of-19 from 3-point land.

Carterville was led by Poore's 26-points. Gulley and Bleyer added 16 and 10 respectively.

The Lions out rebounded Z-R 39-31, including a 23-10 advantage on the offensive glass.

But their shooting problems on the night kept them from putting Zeigler-Royalton away early when they had a double-digit lead.

"We as coaches and players made some mistakes tonight and we have to correct them," added Burzynski. "We have to shake it off and play again in two days."


Carterville (65) - Bleyer 4 0 2-4 10, Wachter 1 0 0-0 2, Thompson 4 0 0-0 8, Poore 6 4 2-3 26, C. Davis 0 0 1-2 1, Sigler 0 0 1-2 1, Gill 0 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Gulley 7 0 304 17.
2FG-22, 3FG-4, FT-9-15, PF-20.
Zeigler-Royalton (67) - Menckowski 1 4 8-9 22, Nix 0 1 1-2 4, Jones 5 6 0-0 28, J. Bramlett 1 0 0-5 2, M. Bramlett 4 0 1-2 9, Fletcher 1 0 0-0 2, Prosise 0 0 0-0 0 Parino 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-12, 3FG-11, FT-10-18, PF-16.
Fouled Out - Wachter, Carterville.
Technical Fouls - None.