Vikings, Chargers fall in Lincoln Tournament

LINCOLN -- The boys' basketball teams from Danville and Centennial high schools are getting closer to full strength. When that occurs, the teams can start the refinement process.

Both schools, still short-handed, were beaten in Wednesday night action at the Lincoln/Eaton Tournament. Danville gained the services of three additional members of the state semifinal football team (three more will join the basketball team next week), but fell to unbeaten Morton 61-39 in a game they never led.

In the evening finale, between squads with 1-0 records, the Chargers were done in by Lincoln's perimeter prowess in a 58-35 triumph by the Railsplitters at Roy Anderson Gymnasium.

Danville received team-high totals of 19 points and six rebounds from Joey Robinson, whose first practice was on Tuesday. He was the only Viking to score in double figure. Finishing with seven points was football quarterback Dennis Hightower. Robinson was an end in football.

"The football guys are a little rusty, but they'll get better," Danville head coach Gary Tidwell said. "Defensively, our perimeter pressure was pretty good, but we allowed too many post catches."

It will be a while before the team hits its stride.

"We'll emphasize playing hard and trying to get better," Tidwell said. "Continuity will be a major issue. We have very good potential as a team, but until we get practices as a group, I don't see any major strides being made."

Morton -- coached by former Unity coach Jarrett Brown -- scored the first six points and led 19-5 early in the second period.

The Vikings (0-2) struggled with their perimeter shooting, finishing 1-for-16 from beyond the three-point arc. Morton hit 58.1 percent of its shots.

"We missed a lot of easy baskets and were pretty quick to shoot," Tidwell said. "They're a sound team and played well defensively."

Danville's next game will be at 7 p.m. Friday against Cahokia. The team will play twice on Saturday.

Lincoln 58, Centennial 35

The Chargers hung with the Railsplitters the first half of the first quarter, taking a 7-4 lead when Corvon Butler converted a three-point play at the 4:42 mark, following a steal.

Lincoln, however, went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:23 and next relinquished the lead. During a 20-minute stretch that included the entire second and third quarters and the first segment of the fourth period, Lincoln extended its lead by hitting eight of its overall 11 baskets in that span from three-point range. For the game, five Railsplitters had treys.

"They executed well and shot well," Centennial coach Tim Lavin said.

Lincoln was 11 for 23 from beyond the arc. Jordan Nelson drilled five of Lincoln's three-pointers, including three from 25 feet, or beyond, in the flow of the offense. Lavin was chagrined that Nelson wasn't guarded more closely.

"The report on him is if he's 5 to 7 feet beyond the arc, you'd better be on him," Lavin said. "He may be one of the best shooters in the state of Illinois."

After two games, Centennial has been outscored from three-point range 69-3. The Chargers missed all 11 of their three-point shots against Lincoln and at game's end had made 38.2 percent of their shots from the field.

Josh Piper, playing in his first game, led Centennial with 14 points and seven rebounds in 30:54 of court time. He was the only Charger in double figures. Butler finished with nine points and five rebounds.

"We're not experienced and it was obvious tonight," Lavin said. "We're struggling on offense. Piper was solid, but we have to offset that with some outside shooting."

The Chargers' next game is at 5:30 p.m. on Friday against Belleville Althoff. Centennial will conclude play in the round-robin event with two Saturday games. Guard Lucas Stefan, who has been slowed with a stress fracture, hopes to get the green light to start practicing next week.

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