Eagles top Cobden
Steele's double-double; Appleknocker FG woes add up to 58-51 Vienna win

VIENNA - Southern Illinois has been in a recent cold spell, not unlike most winters in the Mid-West.

However the weather outside Vienna HS Friday night was Florida-like compared to the field goal shooting displayed by the Cobden Appleknockers.

With many chances throughout the game to take control, Cobden's cold shooting (16-of-58, 28 percent) was enough of a handicap that even a strong defensive effort and a near perfect mark from the free throw line couldn't salvage Coach Josh Franklin's club from a SEC loss on the road.

Add two key offensive rebounds late in the game off of missed Vienna free throws and a strong 16 point, 10 rebound effort by the Eagles' Vince Steele and the recipe of the Eagles 58-51 win was complete.

Coach Jon Green's club inched to within one game of the .500 mark at 11-12 with the conference victory.

"Ultimately it is pretty difficult to comeback when you 'can't throw it in the ocean' and even though we got the stops we needed, we kind of folded on some big possessions late in the game," said Coach Franklin, whose team is now 6-13 on the season. "Defensively we played pretty darn well and the kids played hard. But we just had a tough time putting the ball in the basket."

Vienna, on the other hand, hit a lot more of its shots on the night. The Eagles were nearly 50 percent from the field with a 22-of-46 effort.

"We have been kind of disappointed in our effort the past couple of weeks and we really worked hard in practice," said Coach Green. "The kids really responded with a good effort. We had a tough week losing to Massac but we came with a good effort defensively and on the boards tonight."

Vienna got the first big lead by either team late in the first quarter.

After Cobden's Kris Sweitzer hit a pair of free throws with 2:52 left in the opening quarter, the Eagles scored seven straight points.

Steele hit his first basket of the night with a straight away 15-footer to give Vienna back the lead. Then teammates Bryan Waters and Garrett Davis each scored on consecutive possessions.

Waters hit a 3-pointer from the left wing and then hit Davis with a pass on the left baseline.

His short shot off the glass went in and forced a Cobden time out at 15-9 with :48 left.

Cobden's Eddie Draper and Waters finished out the quarter with a basket and two free throws respectively, getting the score to 17-11 at the first horn.

Two free throws midway through the second quarter by Sweitzer put Cobden up 20-19.

But Vienna responded again with another big run, fueled in part by the Appleknockers field goal attempt problems.
Elvanus Watts scored on a spin move in the lane with 4:34 left.

Then Waters scored five consecutive points on a 3-pointer and a drive in the lane to make it 26-20.

Coben's Draper scored his teams' final six points of the quarter.

His backdoor lay up; rebound put back and two free throws got the score to 30-28 Vienna at intermission.

Cobden had several chances in the third quarter to make a run to put Vienna away.

But its continued struggles from the field kept the score close.

They did manage to make a pair of 3-pointers.

The first one by Dean gave the Appleknockers back the lead at 35-34.

The second one, this time from the left corner by Sitton, gave Cobden its biggest margin of the game at 40-37.

But that lead was short lived as Vienna closed the frame with a flourish.

Steele got loose underneath the basket for a shot when Watts found him with a nice interior pass.

He then hit two free throws to put his team back on top 41-40.

Waters once again closed out the quarter with points.

His short drive to the basket sent the game to the final period at 43-40.

Vienna's Cory Huckelberry got into the scoring act in the fourth quarter as he hit back-to-back shots to give the Eagles a 47-42 lead with 6:18 to play.

Cobden made one final push to ge the lead back.

Draper scored on a turnaround shot in the lane and then hit a pair of free throws a minute and a half later to cut the lead down to 48-46.

After a Vienna miss Dean, who was being left open from the outside for most of the night by the Eagles' defenders, stepped up and canned his second 3-pointer of the night to give the Appleknockers the lead for the final time with 4:11 left.

However whatever momentum that Cobden got from its scoring run evaporated in just a few moments.
Steele hit the 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 49-all.

Then with a chance to get the lead back, Draper missed the teams' only free throw of the night.

On the subsequent Vienna possession, Steele canned a wide-open 18-footer from the right elbow to give the Eagles back the lead.

Cobden turned the ball over on its next chance and Steele made them pay again as he scored on a backdoor pass from Waters to force a Cobden timeout with 2:05 left at 53-49 Vienna.

Forced to foul at this point, Cobden sent Huckelberry to the line to shoot a 1-and-1.

His shot missed but Chris Carrick got the rebound for the Eagles.

After working the clock for a few seconds, Waters was fouled by Duckworth with 1:17 left. His two made free throws extended the lead to 55-49.

The Appleknockers scored one more time on a lay in by Dean with :35 seconds left.

However Vienna closed out the game from the foul line, making 3-of-4 shots in the waning moments.

When Steele missed the second shot of his two attempts with :24 left, Huckelberry outfought Cobden for the ball and the Eagles ran out the clock.

"Two of those rebounds our kids should have had," added Coach Franklin. "We work on that a lot in practice and we should have gotten both of those chances. Those are situations that we have to have the rebound."

Vienna, along with Steele's double-double, got 18-points from Waters and 10 from Huckelberry.

Coach Green attributed a slight change in strategy this time against Cobden, who had beaten his team in 56-55 in overtime during the SEC Tourney two weeks ago.

"I told the kids that we have to get the ball inside against them," added Coach Green. "Last time they forced us to shoot a lot of stuff from the outside but tonight we got some good shots in close. We got a good effort tonight from our bench and Elvanus (Watts) gave us a spark tonight when he came in."

Cobden was led by Draper with 16 while Sitton and Sweitzer chipped in 10 apiece.

The turnover and rebound battles were nearly even.

Vienna held a slight 27-24 advantage on the glass while the Eagles committed ten turnovers compared to Cobden's seven.

But it was the fridge shooting by Cobden that was the difference in this contest.

"Vienna's defense had a lot to do with our shooting problems but it really came down to the fact that we didn't execute when we needed to which produced too many empty possessions."


Cobden (51) - Duckworth 2 0 3-3 7, Sitton 2 2 0-0 10, Draper 5 0 6-7 16, Sweitzer 2 0 6-6 10, Dean 1 2 0-0 8. 2FG-12, 3FG-4, FT-15-16, PF-13.
Vienna (58) - Waters 4 2 4-4 18, Huckleberry 5 0 0-1 10, Steele 6 0 4-6 16, Davis 2 0 3-4 7, Watts 1 0 1-2 3, Willis 1 0 1-2 2, Carrick 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-20, 3FG-2, FT-12-18, PF-14.
Technical Fouls - None.
Fouled Out - None.