Effingham Daily News
St. Anthony coach Cody Rincker pointed out the need for better ballhandling under pressure after the Bulldogs' 45-43 last-second loss to Effingham Friday.
That was at the end of the game, however. Saturday night's contest had the Bulldogs' ballhandling skills tested all night, and it was a tougher test than anticipated.
Mt. Zion used a 1-2-2 zone with super-aggressive trapping tendencies to great affect, besting St. Anthony 61-39.
The Bulldogs finished sixth in their St. Anthony Turkey Tournament with the loss, while Mt. Zion finished fifth at the tourney.
The two losses may have been related, Rincker said.
"I just don't think we came mentally prepared to play," he said. "I think we had the hangover that you can have after a game like we had against Effingham, and unfortunately, it cost us the game."
St. Anthony handled itself well for the first 10 minutes of the game, staving off the Braves' double teams while grabbing a 9-6 first-quarter lead and being tied with five minutes remaining at 11-11.
Things started to slowly unravel from there, as the Braves' guards began to get going offensively and the trapping's effectiveness increased. Mt. Zion grabbed the lead with 4:48 left and would extend it to four by the end of the quarter, up 23-19.
That trend continued in the third. Mt. Zion forced a number of turnovers for easy layups and got the three-pointer working, as they put up 26 points in the quarter and extended their lead from four to 21 before settling on a 49-29 lead after three.
With the trapping and turnovers, all three Mt. Zion guards finished in double digits in points, with Mason Bruce tallying 14 points and Austin Thacker and Payton Grinestaff scoring 12 points each.
St. Anthony didn't have a scorer reach 10 points. John Goeckner topped the team with eight points, and Neil Williams and Andrew Gardewine each had six.
Williams and Alex Hoelscher were named to the All-Tournament team.
The Bulldogs went 1-3 at the tournament among some tough competition, and Rincker is taking what he can from the first week as the head coach of St. Anthony
"We got some experience," he said. "It exposed a lot of weaknesses that we're going to address and watch film on."
St. Anthony travels to Sullivan Tuesday night.
Mt. Zion 6 18 26 12 61
St. Anthony 9 10 10 10 39
Mt. Zion: Bruce 14, Thacker 12, Grinestaff 12, Wisley 4, Edgecombe 5, Atkinson 8, Giesler 2, Horath 4
St. Anthony: Williams 6, Jansen 3, Gibson 5, A. Gardewine 6, Hoelscher 3, Gurtner 4, Z. Gardewine 4, Goeckner 8