ST. ELMO —
The finish was set up perfectly for Beecher City.
Brady Barnes scored his only field goal of the game to give the Eagles an eight-point lead with 2:09 left against St. Elmo/Brownstown, but Beecher City left the door open one too many times. It cost them, as St. Elmo/Brownstown won 52-46 in overtime and advanced to the finals of the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament.
Beecher City's Adam Doty missed two free throws on an intentional foul with a little over a minute to go, but made a layup on his team's next possession to make the game 41-35. It could've been 43-35.
SEB's defense forced a five-second violation, down three points, and capitalized with a Levi Maxey 3-pointer to the tie the game. The basket was Maxey's second on consecutive possessions.
Both teams failed on their final possessions of the fourth quarter. Beecher City tried setting up an isolation play for Barnes, but he dribbled it off his foot and a jump ball gave SEB the ball with two seconds left. Maxey failed to get a shot off before the buzzer.
But St. Elmo/Brownstown made the comeback, taking a 41-41 game into overtime. Good news, if you ask SEB head coach Greg Feezel.
“I've always believed the team that comes back and ties it up has the momentum,” Feezel said. “We scored a couple times and then made them chase us.”
SEB won 52-46, making 10-of-12 free throws in overtime after Landon Feezel started the scoring for the team with a layup.
Beecher City clung to life, despite two missed free throws by Jacob Kenter in a 44-41 game.
Doty made a 3-pointer with less than a minute to go and forced a turnover on the ensuing possession; however, he attempted a long inbounds pass that sailed over the intended target and into the Beecher City bench.
“Things like that can't happen in those situations,” Beecher City head coach Jason Eirhart said. “As many good things as Adam does, he can do some silly things on top of it. Our guys have to go to the ball and get open.”
The errant pass turned out to be the last mistake Beecher City made in the six-point loss and that puts them in the third-place game of the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament, against Okaw Valley today.
SEB advances to the title game against Altamont — the same championship matchup as each of the last two years. St. Elmo/Brownstown won both.
“I feel like we should've won that game,” Eirhart said. “We did some dumb things down the stretch that we hadn't done the whole game. It cost us.”
Eirhart's team found a way to put itself in a position to win the game, despite only five points from Barnes. The post player led the team with 21 points in a win over Ramsey two nights ago.
St. Elmo/Brownstown double-teamed Barnes from the first possession to the last of the game. Feezel said his team had no other choice.
“We just kind of gambled,” Feezel said. “I figured it we went straight up man-to-man, Brady would have 30 (points). He's still one of the best players in this tournament, if not the best.”
Eirhart said he knows Barnes would've made the game-winning shot with 14 seconds left had he only had one defender on him, instead of two, because the play Beecher City ran was a common one that Barnes typically scores on.
The ball bounced off of Barnes foot, which was just another sign of an uncharacteristic night for him.
“I thought he kind of got disconnected from the game,” Eirhart said. “It was his body language, I could tell. There were a couple times, even when he had an opportunity for a rebound he wasn't ready for it.”
In Friday night's earlier game, Ramsey beat Mulberry Grove to advance to Saturday's consolation championship game against Cowden-Herrick at 5 p.m.
South Central will play Mulberry Grove at 3:30 p.m., while Beecher City plays Okaw Valley at 6:30 p.m. and SEB tries to defend its title against Altamont at 8 p.m.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Beecher City 8 7 11 15 5 46
St. Elmo/Brownstown 4 10 15 12 11 52
Beecher City: Gardner 7, Doty 11, Bales 5, Lagerhausen 9, Rexroad 3, Kenter 4, Barnes 5, Harder 2
SEB: M Maxey 3, L Maxey 20, Behrends 19, Smithson 4, Feezel 6
ST. ELMO —
The finish was set up perfectly for Beecher City.
Altamont edged in opener by Flora
Despite having Adam Mayhaus grab the medal, it was Flora who grabbed the win in Altamont's first outing of the season.
Flora shot a 197 at St. Elmo Golf Club, taking down the Indians by six strokes on the day, as Altamont shot a 203 on the afternoon.
Illini coach Groce stops in Effingham; Speech focuses on team building
A crowded ballroom met for "An Evening with John Groce” Thursday inside the Thelma Keller Convention Center.
Groce has been the men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois since March 2012. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012.
His speech was focused on team building and Groce said it was the a variation of the same speech he will give Sunday evening at his beginning-of-the-year players' meeting.
St. Anthony second at Charleston scramble
In their first meet of the season, the St. Anthony Bulldogs came out firing, taking second place at the Charleston Invitational Thursday afternoon.
The tournament was a scramble at Charleston Country Club, and the hosting Trojans took home the tournament with a combined score of 72. St. Anthony was five shots back, shooting a 77. Effingham finished fourth with an 88, and Teutopolis took ninth with a 98.
Czachorski: Lunt the right man at QB
There haven't been many times I've put pen to paper — or I guess more fittingly finger to keyboard — and written about the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Part of it is due to their football team's struggles, as it's hard to have an opinion on them outside of "man, they went 1-7 in the Big 10 last year" or "I remember that one time they went to the Rose Bowl, but that's about it." Part of it is staying in my wheelhouse, which is MAC football and my alma mater Central Michigan Chippewas, a topic that doesn't concern many, if any, around here.
Neoga prepares for upcoming volleyball season
Another area team finds themselves with a new coach holding the clipboard this season.
Susan Hutchinson is the new volleyball coach for the Neoga Indians, but she isn't new to the game of volleyball. Hutchinson coached at Mattoon for seven years when they were still in the Big 12 Conference. She said her new players had to get used to her coaching style very quickly.
Bulldogs fifth at ISU
St. Anthony took to the links for the second-straight day and had a strong showing at the Raider/Redbird Classic.
The Bulldogs finished fifth among a 20-team field, shooting a 318. East Peoria shot a 312 to win it, Normal U-High and Lincoln each shot 315s with Normal winning the tie-breaker, and Bloomington took fourth with a 317.
St. Anthony will lead with speed
For the last five years, Eric Morales has been the assistant coach of the St. Anthony Bulldogs soccer team. But this season he will have his chance at the helm and try to help lead the Bulldogs to their first regional title since 2010.
St. Anthony is missing six seniors from last years team, including its leading goal scorer and starting goalie.
Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational
The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.
Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More
Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.
Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today
The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.
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