Friday's prep highlights: Sages bounce rival Rockets

Friday's prep highlights: Sages bounce rival Rockets

In boys’ basketball

Monticello 58, Unity 45. The Sages are off to a strong 2-0 start to the Okaw Valley Conference season thanks, in part, to the rise of a pair of sophomores. Zach Fisher scored host Monticello’s first 12 points and finished with a game-high 21. It was the fifth time in his last seven games Fisher has eclipsed 20 points.

Fellow sophomore Isiah Florey scored 12 points in 15 minutes off the bench. The progress the duo has made through the season’s first half has helped the Sages overcome the loss of production from 2014 leading scorer and rebounder Nick Stokowski and made them a more balanced team.

“Isiah’s instant offense off the bench,” Fisher said. “He brings a lot to this team. He’s a really good rebounder, and he’s got some finesse around the hoop. When he can come in the game and grab us boards and also put up points, it’s a big contribution to our team.”

The Sages led by 12 midway through the second quarter before a Unity run cut the lead to five with less than a minute to play in the first half. Florey halted the run with a smooth floater in the lane, and Monticello (10-3) scored the first five points of the third quarter to push the lead back to double digits.

Monticello’s lead grew to as many as 18 points early in the fourth quarter, a circumstance the Sages haven’t been too familiar with this season.

“It was different,” Fisher said. “We’re used to playing fast or from behind. Usually we’re trying to run a more fast-paced offense. Once we got up 18 it was nice to slow it down and run some clock.”

The Sages’ frontcourt provided solid minutes against the taller Rockets’ big men. Ryne Bundy scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds, and Clay Becker grabbed eight matched up against Unity’s Zach Shotton.

Monticello also forced 20 turnovers.

“I loved our defensive effort throughout the game,” Monticello coach Kevin Roy said. “It was just a good, aggressive effort.”

Josh Larson led Unity (12-5, 1-1) with 16 points.

Andrew Helregel

Normal Calvary 44, Uni High 41. Panos Voulgaris’ desperation three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired at Kenney Gym.

“I thought our kids fought really hard (Friday night),” Illineks coach Scott Easton said. “The difference in the game down the stretch was a few momentum swings where we didn’t respond positively.”

Down 10 points to start the second half, Uni High went on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 32 with a little more than six minutes remaining.

Normal Calvary attempted to pull away, but Varun Chopra’s fifth three-pointer made it 41-40 with 20 seconds remaining.

After a series of botched possessions and missed free throws by both teams, the Illineks inbounded the ball with five seconds left.

Voulgaris drove the length of the court before hoisting a shot over three defenders.

“I thought we came out a little flat,” Easton said. “I was really proud of how they responded.

“We have a young team. We just have to get mentally stronger and execute better.”

Chopra led the Illineks with 19 points. Noah Blue added nine points and 10 rebounds.

Spencer Brown

A-L-A-H 51, Tri-County 26. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond turned a slim first-quarter lead into a double-digit halftime advantage after holding Tri-County to one point in the second quarter. That 16-point lead at the break was more than enough for the Knights, as they rolled in the Little Okaw Valley Conference matchup. Tanner Brewer led A-L-A-H with 15 points, Tyler Schuring finished with 14 and five other Knights found their way into the scoring column. Andrew Donithan had a near double-double for Tri-County, leading the Titans with 10 points and nine rebounds.

GCMS 68, Heyworth 53. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley jumped on Heyworth early and led by 16 at halftime in the Heart of Illinois Conference win. Jake Barnes had 10 first-half points in the early run for GCMS and finished with a game-high 21 points, while James Fairfield chipped in 20 points, with eight coming in the fourth quarter to close out the win.

Shelbyville 48, Tuscola 46. Shelbyville snapped a 27-27 deadlock at halftime to take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter, and Tuscola was unable to pull off the comeback. Zach Bates paced the Warriors with 14 points, and Clayton Turner and Nick Bates made it a double-digit scoring trio with 13 and 10 points, respectively in the loss. Tyler Hendryx had 11 points for an equally balanced Shelbyville.

Flanagan 52, Fisher 47. Fisher was able to bounce back after suffering from turnover trouble in the first quarter and took the lead against Flanagan midway through the fourth quarter. But a missed Bunnies three-pointer and two Flanagan free throws in the final seconds sealed the Falcons’ win. Nick Griffith and Grant Pointer were at the forefront of Fisher’s second-half charge. Griffith scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the final two quarters, and Pointer did the same with nine of his 15 after halftime.

Rantoul 66, Maroa-Forsyth 36. Rantoul used a balanced offensive approach to take a 40-18 halftime lead against Maroa-Forsyth, with seven different players scoring, and cruised in the Okaw Valley Conference win. Kevonte Williams and Onycai Lawson dropped 10 points apiece on the Trojans, and nine other Eagles scored in the blowout win.

Warrensburg-Latham 62, Sullivan 37. Sullivan hung with state-ranked Warrensburg-Latham through one quarter, but the Redskins weren’t able to keep up with the high-scoring Cardinals in the Central Illinois Conference game. Alec Ballinger and Ty Molzen scored eight points apiece for Sullivan, and Ballinger led the Redskins with six rebounds. Tyler Bond had 14 points for W-L and was one of three Cardinals in double figures.

Iroquois West 52, Watseka 47. Watseka chipped away at Iroquois West’s early advantage and ultimately took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Raiders had an answer, outscoring the Warriors 14-8 in the final eight minutes for the win. Payton Stiers sank a pair of three-pointers and had 13 points for Iroquois West, and Jose Lopez joined him in double figures with 11 points. Cole Davenport paced Watseka with 15 points in the loss.

Clifton Central 67, Cissna Park 47. A slow start to both halves cost Cissna Park against Clifton Central. The Timberwolves fell behind by nine points after one quarter and saw their deficit jump to 14 heading into the fourth quarter. Matt Birr scored eight points in the first half — six in the second quarter — and finished with 12 to lead Cissna Park.

Peoria Quest Academy 67, DeLand-Weldon 31. DeLand-Weldon got into an early hole after a 23-point first quarter by Quest Academy, and the Eagles couldn’t dig themselves out. Ty Duff hit six three-pointers for 18 points to lead DeLand-Weldon, while Bailey Fink had six assists and four points.

MLK Tournament

Mahomet-Seymour 54, East Peoria 49. Mahomet-Seymour trailed by 10 points at halftime against three-point-happy East Peoria, but the Bulldogs owned the final two quarters — outscoring the Raiders 38-21 — for the win. Jack Rettig led M-S with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and Tom Kenney sank both of his three-pointers and chipped in 16 points for the Bulldogs. Ian Misteadt led East Peoria with 21 points and was 5 of 9 from deep, as the Raiders took two-thirds of their shots from beyond the arc.

Dayspring Basketball Classic

Arthur Okaw Christian 57, Licking County (Ohio) 49. Arthur Okaw Christian pulled away in the second quarter from Licking County to win its quarterfinal game in Lake Zurich. Eric Kuhns hit three three-pointers and led the Conquering Riders with 17 points, and Benjamin Lee (11 points) and Drew Beachy (10) joined Kuhns in double figures.

Pana Tournament

Danville First Baptist 62, Wabash Valley (Ind.) 61. Danville First Baptist got a pair of clutch late free throws from Kyle Cummins and held on for the win when Wabash Valley missed the potential game-tying free throw with 1.8 seconds to play. Jermaine Brooks led First Baptist with 28 points, and Cummins finished with 18 points.

In girls’ basketball

East Peoria 65, Urbana 35. Urbana’s Kiara Moses scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the first half, as the Tigers hung with East Peoria. But the Raiders clamped down on Moses and outscored Urbana 41-19 in the second half for the win. Shelby Burgin led the Tigers in the second half, scoring all eight of her points.

Danville First Baptist 48, Wabash Valley (Ind.) 22. A 22-0 second quarter for Danville First Baptist proved to be all the Knights needed to knock off Wabash Valley. Ashley Greazer had 16 points for First Baptist, and Mattie Bumpus and Macy Slider added 10 points each.